The act of learning and continuous organisational improvement is ever important. Ensuring employee development and implementing the best practice within a workplace to allow staff to collectively learn is key. In times of disruption and change, this is even more true. This is why L&D professionals are so important during times such as these.
While the recent global pandemic has forced businesses everywhere to adapt and adopt very quickly and these new ways of operating were simply not previously the norm.
We know that during challenging and uncertain times, individual learning & development can take a backseat, being deemed as less important. However, it is vital that learning isn’t forgotten in the coming months. So what can we do to ensure it isn’t?
Rise to the challenge of working remotely
Overall, businesses have found the sudden shift to remote working to be either a blessing or a curse. Some were already on their way and found the transition easier, but others found the sudden shift in direction immensely challenging.
Individual employees were not prepared and so faced a quick shift and need for adaptation to establish the required technology and find best practice for working while juggling families and home commitments.
To support this new transition into a different world of increased technology, L&D teams globally have been holding training sessions and providing support for those who needed to get up and running with the new systems and software required to work from home.
Being physically disparate means that the demand for virtual meetings has increased dramatically too. Ensuring the implementation of rules and virtual meeting etiquette can ease any stress and pressure that colleagues might be feeling with this new way of working. This includes not booking back-to-back meetings, ensuring there are breaks in between, and fostering some employee engagement for a sense of community and culture rather than keeping agendas entirely ‘on business’.
Flexibility is a must, and generally there has been an overall acceptance of this, especially by those who have families and children. Businesses have encouraged ways of working that help to combat the pressures felt by all at this time, such as working slightly altered shifts to allow for childcare, and as a whole, productivity has not been affected.
Why you should support your employees’ mental health and wellbeing
During these challenging times, a great many things have been affected, including employee mental health and the general sense of wellbeing at work.
Extreme change can be turbulent, leading to intense feelings of discomfort and vulnerability in the workplace, which can harm employees’ mental health.
One example of how to combat this is through creative alternatives to replace the currently minimised human connection. Stronger communication methods should be put in place to help mitigate feelings of isolation and to keep team engagement and morale high.
This can be by having regular meetings, email updates, and instant messaging or video chats.
Keeping a sense of togetherness is crucial during this uncertainty, especially through situations such as redundancy and cahnged working hours or practices. Check-in with your staff regularly!
Embrace new technologies
As some businesses discovered the hard way, they were just not prepared for what happened when COVID-19 swept the world, and found themselves lacking the right technology to see them through this turbulent time.
But finding the digital solutions required to survive is where L&D teams thrive. They quickly had to become efficient in adapting face-to-face training into a digital format; faced the challenges of keeping staff engaged in training and meetings, and tasked with ensuring that all knowledge and behaviour changes are still achieved succinctly.
In meeting the challenges, the full potential of these digital solutions has quickly become apparent, and now, new technologies are being discovered and embraced for the long-term.
It has also become apparent that there is a real danger of rushing into creating training in an unplanned incoherent way. Naturally, L&D professionals try to avoid this at all costs, but it can be difficult given the current time pressures.
Take your time to explore all options open to you as an L&D team, choose your methods and the path to your desired outcome carefully. The initial time invested will pay off in the long run.
The world will be forever changed by the events of recent months. We will likely see a rise in digital transformation as companies continue to see the benefits of virtual training. Many organisations recognise that it is time to set a new standard and discover the best way to use it, adapt it, and optimise it to deliver a blended approach.
The way we work has been altered now as many businesses have been forced to admit that not only is working from home possible but that it is sometimes preferable. As a result, the fear connected to this remote working freedom has decreased and many businesses are looking to implement working from home, or working remotely, as a permanent option for their staff.
So in short, now is a great time to get organised, reflect on the best practices that we have learned over the past months, test and pilot new initiatives, and get planning for those future projects.