Collector - October 2020 - 28

Training a
Remote Workforce
Set your employees up for success by adapting your training
to fit work-from-home conditions and issues.
By Tim Dressen

A

s the COVID-19 pandemic took
shape this spring, collection
agencies across the country
responded to local and state mandates, as
well as federal safety recommendations, by
closing or significantly reducing operations
at their physical locations. Many scrambled
to establish or increase their remote
collection capabilities.
Employees who normally spent their days
speaking with consumers from a buzzing
collection floor found themselves turning
kitchen tables and spare bedrooms into
temporary workspaces.
In addition to ensuring employees had the
capabilities to do their jobs from their home
offices, they also needed to adapt their training
techniques to serve a remote workforce. The
process of training employees shifted from
in-person to virtual, and, in some cases, the
content needed a facelift to address work-fromhome conditions and issues.
As agencies continue to refine and adapt
their day-to-day practices to accommodate
employees who work remotely, establishing
robust remote training capabilities is
increasingly important.

LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY
The rush to adapt to an expanding workfrom-home environment arrived quickly

28

with the onset of COVID-19. Agencies
didn't have much time to plan how they
would effectively train their workers.
Relying on technology that was already in
use and identifying additional tools that
could quickly be implemented allowed for a
fast training transition.
Advantage Financial Services, a
10-employee agency in Boise, Idaho, uses
a collector training game called StackUp as
one of its training tools. Because the game is
web-based, it provides the same experience
for employees working from home as it does
in the office.
"We've had a couple collectors work from
home and training is a huge challenge when
they are not in the office," said Advantage
Financial Services owner Carma Farrar.
"StackUp is a wonderful game and has been
very helpful."
TrueAccord, a San Francisco-based
agency, responded to the inability to hold inperson classroom training for its employees
by using well-established services designed
specifically for remote communication and
training.
"This exercise has taught me that you
don't have to go fancy with technology to
be effective," said TrueAccord Director of
Operations Cassie Cox. "We use Google
Hangouts and Google Classrooms for group

activities and have also relied on Slack for
'side-of-desk' conversations that are so
critical."
Shortly after employees at Williams &
Fudge Inc. in Rock Hill, South Carolina,
began working remotely in March, the
company implemented Microsoft Teams as
its remote training platform.
"One of the best things we were able to do
was use a platform where video and phone
conferencing could be used for small group
training, one-on-one training and full staff
meetings," said Greg Ruffino, director of
training for Williams & Fudge. "Today, we
are delivering the same amount of training
and same courses at the same pace as before
everyone was working from home."

MAINTAIN NORMALCY
Routines provide a sense of comfort, and
disrupting them decreases employee focus
and productivity. Making the jump from
working in an office to working at home
can be a significant jolt to "business as
usual." Finding ways to maintain some
commonalities helps employees continue to
learn and work effectively.
"There are 101 different things we are
all experiencing," Ruffino said. "Anything
we can do to bring a sense of normalcy, we
should do."

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - October 2020

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