In such a short space of time, both our social and our working lives have been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wherever you are in the world, your business and your usual ways of working are likely to have been turned upside down. New routes and processes need determining amid lockdown restrictions, government directives are continually shifting, while social distancing rules and quarantine are making it necessary to bring in changes rapidly. It’s tough for everyone right now, and as business owners and employees alike come to terms with the ‘new normal’, everyone is understandably feeling pretty anxious. But there is one solution that has been preventing from further operation disruption, and that’s eLearning.
If you’re in the fortunate position to have retained customers and therefore can keep your workforce on, you’re going to need to bring your folks together to face these new challenges. You’re going to have to reassure them, and your management skills are going to be tested to the limit when it comes to getting everyone to pull on the same rope. Remote working is now the only solution for most office-based businesses, but ask any freelancer about the (many) obstacles of working from home by choice – and then magnify these difficulties for employees who’ve never been in this situation before. In truth, none of us has been in this situation before, and so to get through this, strong leadership and empathy are key. The third thing you should perhaps be considering right now is training: training and excellent communication. And the best way to do that for your newly-remote, possibly somewhat stressed staff is to leverage eLearning.
Why Set Up Training Via eLearning?
Generally speaking, Elearning is a brilliant tool for helping your employees further their skill sets. You can use it to provide information on new procedures company-wide quickly, but it also has some significant advantages when it comes to keeping everyone on board with your company’s ethos. This is a pivotal moment to gather your folks together and reinforce a sense of belonging and community among your employees. By getting started with an eLearning system, you’re essentially saying to your workforce “I care about your jobs, I care about the future of this company and here’s what we’re going to do, together.”
A Learning Management System not only disseminates information you want your employees to know but provides ways for your now probably quite dispersed team to stay focused and to interact with each other. If you’re setting up new eLearning training right now, you want to be looking at incorporating real-time social media tools within courses – and great platforms allow this. If you keep it social and encourage interaction, teamwork and collaboration within eLearning, you’re going to have a higher chance of keeping a close-knit team together. It’s essential that you set up eLearning that has a user-friendly interface and pick something that has decent support you can contact if things go awry. Overall though, your medium of delivery needs to be as social and enjoyable as possible at this moment in time. Video elements can help here, since remote working can be lonely, and many of your people may be working from home all on their own with minimal outside contact. Also, consider that employees used to verbally communicating at work might not be so good at emailing each other and taking the correct cues. Now is not the time for a communication breakdown!
Make It Manageable And Set Goals
You might be aware you also have employees now juggling a busy household, with partners, other family members and kids at home all day every day. Here, you may want to consider the benefits of microlearning platforms and mobile tools that give individuals a moment to connect with their work, but don’t demand they spend hours on end shut up in a spare room – which isn’t particularly conducive to focus. Microlearning via eLearning courses can also be gamified; meaning it might even represent five minutes of fun while underscoring the fact that you as an employer still care about their career, and are still planning for a time when all this is over.
Which brings us to the next point. Your eLearning training program needs to be engaging, but you’re not replicating lunch break. You need clearly defined goals for everyone to work toward. Everything is up in the air already and to make it through; you need to get things done. These goals might be getting everyone on board with new email protocols or increasing sales through developing a creative strategy or improving on areas where your business might have been struggling before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. If you make sure your company goals are clear to your users through the structure of their online training, this sense of purpose should help them rally behind their eLearning.
Tame The Chaos
Another thing you should be looking at when setting up your eLearning training is the general timetable chaos going on right now in most people’s lives. Let’s be honest, extended Netflix time, not getting dressed some days and weird sleep patterns can be a thing for even the most dedicated individuals when regular work routines are upended. You will still require tasks finishing during this home working period, but consider that your staff might be struggling to manage this. Elearning platforms can be a handy tool when it comes to timetabling and giving or receiving feedback. Targeted training that covers the use of Project Management tools can form part of eLearning. Creating online training that addresses time management and that also includes feedback or collaboration can be a great help to anyone in danger of getting lost in the void.
You can also take into account the ways different people learn with online training here. While one employee might appreciate a course on how to create beautiful numeric spreadsheets, another might respond much more positively to more graphic, video or audio ways to take control of their workload. Online training is intended to be incredibly flexible, so take advantage of this and tailor courses where you can to ensure everyone is brought into the fold. Right now, your staff will be looking to you to take the lead, but if you want to implement a genuinely effective eLearning regimen, then do take the time to listen to your audience too. At this moment, take a little time to find out the sorts of things that your workforce would like to see form part of their training. If you consider your audience, you’ll likely find them more receptive to the eLearning on offer.
Measure Your Progress And Success
Once your training program is live and your staff are engaging with it regularly, take the time to really evaluate the stats and progress recorded by your Learning Management System. Virtually all eLearning comes with reporting that can help you see where either your modules can be adjusted for the better or your staff need extra support with their training. We’ve so far talked about home-working scenarios. If your firm is still engaging with the community, (perhaps you run a takeout business or a run a taxi firm) then your employees might be feeling extra vulnerable during these times. Extra training via eLearning might make your employees feel safe, and perhaps your customers will feel safer too knowing your people have undergone additional certified health and safety training, for example. However, looking at performance data can show you where you can up knowledge areas and improve both customer service and staff wellbeing. With eLearning, you can track whether courses are too easy or too tricky – and both of these factors impact on long-term effectiveness – or how teams are performing both before and after their online learning modules.
Ultimately, we’re living in strange times that have many people feeling a variety of feelings new to them. Some may be frightened, isolated, or demotivated. Others might be discovering a newfound sense of practicality and resilience. If you’re running a company, no matter what your line of business, you’re going to be dealing with people at some point and it makes sense to take steps to invest in the ones closest to you first. By introducing eLearning, you’ll be setting up much-needed communication channels between your management and your employees. You’ll be providing a common goal and looking to the future.
Build courses that are easy to access, contain a variety of engaging material, and are varied in their length and topic focus. Encourage, but don’t push too hard. People need guidance and support, not examination. Right now, be aware of relevant pain points like time management or social isolation and build these into online training. Make sure courses fully cover any new regulations that staff will need to follow and use all the reporting tools available to respond to your staff’s performance. Listen to their feedback. We’re all in this together, and any tool that can be used to help people pull together is gold dust right now. Equally, your customers, currently an equally nervous group, will likely be looking more than ever for a blend of superb customer service and consistency. Give your staff the best chance of delivering that through implementing eLearning and support them through their training as you all move forward together.
Best of luck, you got this.