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A new normal for employee training

by gbaf mag
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By Ben Brown, project coordinator at business change consultancy, Entec Si.

Many organisations are planning to make remote working central to their company culture after COVID-19. However, this will require a new approach to upskilling employees, especially across large organisations or those with more than one office. So, what should businesses consider in order to make the transition a success?

Despite already being on the rise before the pandemic, remote working has become crucial to business’ survival since the outbreak of COVID-19. Considering the positive attitude that many employees have shown towards home working and the investment already made by companies in making it a success, many organisations plan to continue making it part of their company culture and building it into their long-term strategy.

Drive efficiency benefits

While in-person training sessions may not have been possible for the majority of businesses over the past few months, remote training is allowing organisations to realise new benefits. From being easier to manage and organise than traditional training, to having the capacity to train more people at once, this type of training can prove a cost-efficient way to bring everyone up to speed on core skills or the latest industry developments.

Remote training can enable businesses of all sizes to take advantage of increased efficiency levels when developing their employees. In particular, larger organisations or those with more than one office can benefit from the ability to train large numbers of employees, based in different locations, in a single session. By learning about the full capabilities of remote working technology solutions, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet, companies also can make training sessions more engaging and easy to navigate. These solutions not only allow trainees to engage with test systems and fit the training around their schedule but also make it easy to access supporting information during and after the session.

To support the shift to remote working, many people will also need upskilling to be able to work with new digital tools and technologies, so it’s important that businesses provide the workforce with sufficient know-how in this area. Assuming that all employees will be comfortable with the transition could have a negative impact on productivity levels and workforce wellbeing.

Secure the right supporting infrastructure

Each organisation will have different requirements when it comes to implementing supporting infrastructure for remote training. For example, these requirements will vary depending on the size of the group that training is being delivered to. It’s important to remember that even though it’s possible in theory to deliver a 500-person training session, companies and individual employees may not have the IT infrastructure in place to handle a remote session that of size. For example, an employee with fibre internet will likely have enough bandwidth to handle participating in a large training session, while an individual with traditional broadband may not.

As when delivering any major business change, there’s a need to plan for any potential knock-on effects on other areas of the organisation. Considering the change holistically and thinking about how it supports the company’s overall objectives and business model, will help to avoid any negative impacts that could result from the transition. The shift to digital must also be effectively communicated to people across all areas of the workforce, to ensure that everyone is on the same page in line with an evolving organisational culture.

Consider employees at every stage

Each individual within an organisation is different and no one has the same skill set, understanding or even resources. As such, it’s worth considering this at all stages of the transformation journey and ensuring that the shift is a cultural one. Weaving this new way of training into the company’s ethos and making sure that everyone is on board with the change will make the implementation process a lot easier. By training people in clusters and catering to their unique preferences, people will feel more engaged and excited to develop their skills. Feedback can also play a crucial role in improving future training sessions and making sure that everyone is happy to log in and learn.

The business world is transforming. As part of a wider digital transition for businesses, the switch to remote working can offer organisations the opportunity to revamp their traditional training methods and make training sessions not only easier to attend, but more engaging too. By taking care to implement the right tools, looking out for potential knock-on impacts of digital improvements, and keeping the trainees at the core of decision-making, companies can ensure they have an appetite to learn while driving benefits from remote training methods.

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