Employers are contemplating many things that were not in their vocabulary before the coronavirus upended the workplace. Among them are contact tracing, temperature scanning and elevator “safe zones.” In this new environment, human resources (HR) and training managers must convey social distancing requirements, hygiene practices and other pandemic-related protocols to employees.

How can you accomplish that task without a lot of labor? How can you convey new mask-wearing and handwashing policies to all employees across the organization, especially if you have several locations or shifts? And, how can you make sure each employee understands the new compliance requirements?

Organizations must make sure every employee has seen, fully understands and will follow new health and safety procedures. They can achieve this goal through engagement strategies, enhanced by a learning management system (LMS). Using an LMS streamlines the process while ensuring that each employee has heard and understands the new policies.

An LMS enables employers to create short courses and deliver them online. A workplace leader, such as the HR or training director, can invite employees to an online course, specify a required deadline for taking the course and verify that employees have successfully completed any post-course assessments.

A Challenging Time

According to a 2020 report by iSolved and Brandon Hall Group, “Converting COVID-19 Crisis Management to Leading Edge People Management,” for small organizations with fewer than 500 employees, compliance training is a substantial challenge. In fact, about one-fifth of small organizations cited it as one of their top HR challenges during the pandemic. Meanwhile, 55% of midsize organizations (500 to 4,999 employees) and 37% of large organizations (at least 5,000 employees) mentioned training as one of the challenges that is best supported by technology.

Furthermore, according to LinkedIn Learning’s 2018 “Workforce Learning Report,” 94% of employees “would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.” Clearly, an employer that doesn’t focus on learning will lose out.

Complicating the delivery of safety and compliance information is that many organizations are dividing their workforces between in-office and at-home settings. In this atmosphere, in the absence of a centralized setup for learning management, it’s tough to be certain that you’ve properly distributed safety and compliance information.

Adhering to OSHA Regulations

An LMS can also help organizations adhere to rules imposed by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA’s key responsibility — guaranteeing the health and safety of American workers — falls under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970. Falling out of compliance with OSHA standards can be costly in terms of both fines and reputational damage.

As of mid-May 2020, OSHA had fielded nearly 4,000 coronavirus-related complaints across the U.S., with some workers alleging they had been wrongly disciplined or fired for raising health and safety concerns.

Engaging employees in safety and compliance matters — including guidelines about masks and hygiene — lifts their workplace confidence. “Informed workers who feel safe at work are less likely to be unnecessarily absent,” according to an OSHA report. In response to the pandemic, the federal agency advises employers to provide “refresher” training on health and safety.

“Training material should be easy to understand and available in the appropriate language and literacy level for all workers,” OSHA advises. Streamlining the education process through a learning management system can also help an organization easily tailor safety and compliance training to its workforce.

Easy-to-understand, Streamlined Information

With a learning management system, organizations can deliver easy-to-understand training material through a variety of devices — both in the workplace and at home — such as smartphones, laptops and tablets. It also enables employees to learn about workplace health and safety on their own schedule, as on-demand training content continues to gain ground in the workplace.

In the coronavirus era, training and HR managers and other workplace leaders are being hit with many new demands — not the least of which is the need to easily and quickly train employees about ever-changing health and safety guidelines. A learning management system can help them adapt to workplace constraints brought on by the coronavirus and, more importantly, ensure that organizations comply with OSHA standards and that employees feel comfortable returning to the workplace.