Over the last few years, the virtual “work from home” world has grown. But with the onset of COVID-19, it hit most businesses like a ton of bricks. And the situation is leaving many struggling with how to truly operate their business remotely.
One of the key areas our customers have been focused on lately is Learning & Development (L&D) for a remote workforce. The need to convert in-classroom training to a virtual classroom as well as a push for more self-guided e-learning has come about much faster than expected, which has made it an overwhelming task. But that’s why there are experts like Synergis (sorry about the shameless plug) to help.
Even before the pandemic, Deloitte found that improving L&D is a critical initiative for 86 percent of companies. And I would guess that number has grown. In my opinion, these are the ways remote working will impact corporate training now and into the future.
1. Learning online will be the new normal. Instead of having face-to-face or in-classroom learning, companies will be forced to move training courses to a virtual environment. Or, move to an e-learning module for some classes. According to a Forbes article, research and markets have forecast the e-learning market to triple by 2025 to reach $325 billion (which will create more e-learning jobs). Everyone’s at home, so how do you train otherwise?
But sometimes, the lack of a classroom leads to less engaged students. Our attention spans have gotten down to 8 seconds, so keeping their attention is key. This means business leaders need to find ways to incorporate more gamification, virtual reality and augmented reality for corporate learning to make it more engaging. Some large companies are already using these types of training to help employees with on-the-job problem solving, preparing for big retail shopping days and training new hires through a mobile app.
2. Converting your materials to e-learning modules will be necessary. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to training. Some materials that worked well in a classroom will not be effective in a virtual classroom setting. Simply putting PowerPoint presentations and other “handouts” from training courses online will not be enough. So, rethinking the way your training works may require a complete revamp of your L&D program. Leveraging professionals, like Instructional Designers, can help.
And this revamp can help impact the future of your training when this pandemic is over. It can mean looking at a blended approach with self-guided e-learning and in-classroom training. But making sure they complement each other, and make sense for that training purpose, is also important. Don’t just automatically re-instate all your in-person training when you get back to the office.
3. The role of L&D should be elevated. Corporate Learning Leaders and their L&D teams need to be empowered to create workable, longer-term solutions for employee training. By working closely with business leaders to determine the most important business objectives, L&D teams can deliver corporate training that amplifies employees’ knowledge and skills. In many instances, this will require personalized courses that take the employee’s experience, background, education, etc. into account.
4. Approaching L&D in an agile way. Just like IT projects are pivoting to an agile methodology, the need for ramping up L&D also calls for speed. The priority is rapidly redeploying resources for immediate needs, whether that means putting in tools to support people working from home or switching to e-learning or classes via Zoom or Teams.
In an agile method, your team can manage your L&D project by breaking it up into several stages, making improvements along the way based on collaboration with stakeholders. It’s less daunting and allows for a minimum viable product to get your training off the ground when you need it fast.
5. Effectiveness of training is more important than ever. To evaluate your employees and how good your training is, you’ll need to put measurements into place that do more than just show whether the employee completed a course or not. What employees are learning and how they are building their skills and competencies will determine the success or failure of your learning program, whether it’s in-person, virtual or an e-learning module.
All of this may seem daunting…because it can be. Especially without the expertise of L&D professionals. We recently helped a client build an L&D team, with a 90 percent fill rate for their L&D positions. Synergis can supply highly qualified talent for any client because of our robust candidate pipeline and our expertise in finding the best talent. Let us know how we can help with your L&D strategy.
About the author
Tim Pape serves as the Market Manager of our San Francisco office. In this position, he leads the sales and recruiting teams to ensure a high level of delivery for each and every customer. He also owns market strategies and initiatives to grow the Synergis brand. Tim has nine years of staffing industry experience, serving in Recruiter and Account Executive roles prior to his current position. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Georgia Southern University. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time as a newlywed with his wife and puppy, reading, traveling, golfing & cheering on his favorite sports teams.