The Future Of Workplace Learning
Rick is a performance specialist with Insperity. His expertise includes team building, employee engagement and performance improvement.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has had a sweeping impact on how business is conducted, including widespread adoption of remote working and the need to communicate and strategize in innovative ways. One aspect of the workplace that has widely been halted is in-person training, such as seminars, roundtable discussions and instructor-led classes. To continue to foster a culture of organizational learning, companies should look to provide new resources to employees in lieu of in-person methods.
Currently, many organizations have a large number of employees working from home due to rules and regulations for mitigating the virus’ impact. With stay-at-home orders and restrictions slowly lifting, these businesses will soon begin to explore whether or not to return to the office. Some may find remote working beneficial for the organization and decide to continue to operate with a remote workforce or a hybrid of office and home working. This shift may create challenges for managers looking to maintain workplace learning among employees. Here are a few ways in which leaders can evolve their training and development programs to reflect this shift.
With Covid-19 severely limiting the amount of in-person learning moving forward, digital adaptation is more important than ever. To maximize effectiveness, companies should proactively create and roll out digitally native assets, including online resources and classes that are effective, adaptable and remote-friendly.
The first step should be to create a seamless digital experience for employees. Companies that lead the charge in virtual adaptation will, in turn, encourage employees to adapt. Besides improving internal operations, prioritizing digital tools and resources can increase innovation and open the door to new digital business models, strategies and services.
Remote organizational learning does not have to be expensive, tedious or time-consuming. Instead, employers should take steps to keep learning engaging, useful and targeted. For instance, regular informal team meetings to discuss recent learnings or monthly and quarterly objectives can help encourage employees to use the resources available and bolster a shared culture of development.
Contrary to popular opinion, businesses can build a library of learning resources without significant time or financial expense. Leaders can gradually build a collection of free resources, including online articles, videos and research, to help employees learn new skills, refine existing ones and stay informed on industry news and trends. Workers should be encouraged to add to the library and share interesting resources with team members, giving staffers ownership of their learning and the development of others.
Encourage Community Learning
Knowledge sharing is an effective way to address skills shortages in the workforce and encourage participation in professional development. Community-driven learning can also present opportunities for employees to demonstrate and hone their leadership skills. If a staffer has a particular skill, expertise or past professional experience that would be useful to colleagues, managers should encourage them to lead a class. Doing so can position the staffer as a subject matter expert, build their credibility and cross-train individuals who could benefit from their shared knowledge.
In the face of the coronavirus crisis, it may be tempting to solidify operations and ignore learning until after the pandemic. However, this is an ideal opportunity for businesses to curate a balanced learning and development program that combines online, instructor-led and community learning in a way that benefits employees. Even as uncertainty continues, companies should keep investing in employees. It can help keep employees engaged and happy and increase the likelihood of business longevity.
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