Working with multiple business units that are located close together is definitely a plus when training employees and holding team building events. If the locations are located within 50-100 miles of each other, it is possible to get employees together once or twice a year. However, if the locations are located across multiple states, it can be nearly impossible to get everyone together at the same time. After all, who will take care of the locations while those employees are gone?
The reason behind team trainings is to transfer knowledge from yourself and others in the organization to the employees who need the information to perform their job duties. This can include information on: how to sell a specific product, how to run a new machine or program, how to handle difficult customers, how to run and utilize a new report, etc. The information needs to get to employees, but it’s also all about the way it’s delivered.
No matter what your specific situation is, training and team building with your employees is still necessary. Here are a few ways I have found to offer both to teams in multiple areas.
Onsite training: I believe that going to the actual location periodically is extremely important for many reasons, but to perform some training and to hold team building sessions are two on the top of my list. Plan out the activities prior to arriving and get as many of the managers and a few of the employees involved in the planning as well. Getting their input on what would work well for their location helps to ensure everyone becomes engaged in the activities.
Leadership training: Hold semi-annual or annual leadership trainings with specific initiatives for your team to take back to other employees. Find a way to hold them accountable for performing the training (and always build in the team building aspect into the activities) with their employees.
Online training: I recommend this avenue for specific procedures or ongoing training for all employees, but I also recommend this as a follow-up to recently implemented on-site team trainings either by you or your leadership team. Use a program that allows you to include either an end-of-training quiz or some form of tracking so you can run a report to see who has completed it…successfully.
Weekly / monthly on-site team building activities: Create a weekly or monthly team building regimen and appoint specific leadership members to conduct these activities.
Different places: Not all activities have to be on-site. Depending on the type of business, it may make sense to host activities off-site, especially when conducting team building activities. Taking employees to a baseball game, out for a nice dinner on the company, going miniature golfing, or some other fun activity can help boost morale, increase employee retention, and help employees get to know each other better (which results in a better working environment for everyone).
Every company will have different training and team building objectives. However, each company needs to have them and a plan in place to implement them. Not all locations will be the same, nor will all employees. Finding out how employees learn and work with each other will help determine the type and frequency of activities for that location or team.