The entire world, every workforce, is in the midst of previously uncharted territory. Many of us are working from home for the first time, working on site with a skeleton staff or unable to work at all. There was little time to prepare for every change that COVID-19 would force us to make, but it’s important for businesses to remember that even in these uncertain times, training is still important.
How Has Your Roadmap Changed?
If you have a well-established training program for your business, COVID-19 has likely thrown a massive wrench into the process. How far in advance had you already planned staff training courses? What procedures have suddenly changed as a result of this “new normal”? How will you disseminate this information to affected staff when everyone is working remotely?
For many training professionals, the last several weeks have been a mad dash to put as many fingers in the dam as possible. With such a large number of workers moving to a remote setting, we have had to find new ways to stay relevant.
It’s important to consider not only the method of delivery but the content as well. Your staff needs to understand both the procedures that have changed and learn how to perform in a new environment with new technology.
Focus on the Positive
Everyone, not just training professionals, is now faced with a frightening concept: uncertainty. But now, more than ever, training professionals need to put on their superhero capes and embrace the role of “leader” in addition to “teacher.” It’s time to innovate!
While having to adapt your training system to benefit a remote workforce can be a daunting task, consider how the changes you make now could be permanent. Delivering information and training content via video conferencing isn’t restricted to times when staff is at home; you can used it in an office setting as well. For example, maybe you find that it’s efficient to share information using one localized “hub” for staff on the company website.
As training professionals, we must not only focus on the positive impact these innovations can have on our systems; we also need to spend some extra time encouraging employees to do their best work. Procedure changes will be fast and frequent, and with all the tension and fear hanging over everyone’s heads, this constant change adds to the stress and frustration.
As the people responsible for making sure staff members understand procedures, training professionals have some degree of control over how they perceive this process. Instead of sending multiple emails or scheduling multiple video sessions, consider creating a digital newsletter or scheduling a weekly video catch-up with all staff. You can even create a standing appointment, or “office hour,” where anyone is free to hop into your video conference and ask for help.
In addition to informing staff about procedure changes, it’s important to help them understand why the changes are happening and what they mean for the big picture. So, take a little extra time during video meetings or Q&A sessions to talk these things through.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all taking life and business one day at a time. The more training professionals can embrace the “new normal,” the more likely we all are to succeed in this strange frontier. Don’t be afraid of making changes, taking chances and revamping your plans. Sometimes, it takes being backed into a corner to take the big swings you’ve been holding back. Staying positive and staying connected are key to ensuring the success of your training programs and your trainees for the foreseeable future.