We’ve said it before – and you probably agree: COVID changed everything. That couldn’t be more true than the workplace. And here’s the newest thing that needs a post-COVID revamp: training.
Whether it’s new-hire, ongoing or re-introduction-to-the-workplace training, you’ll likely need a different approach now.
Learning and application change
Many employees learn differently than they did before the pandemic, relying on virtual and on-demand instruction more than ever. Plus, how employees apply new skills and knowledge has evolved because their roles evolved.
Some training fundamentals will always hold true. But here are five ways you might revamp, upgrade or overhaul employee training now.
Create smaller bites
Many training routines – and especially new-hire plans – once included full-day events with lots of participants.
But people don’t have the attention spans and retention abilities they once did – thanks to the speed and availability of technology at our fingertips. One expert in the Wall Street Journal says people have training lapses every seven minutes!
To keep employees’ attention, change the teaching method often. For instance, move from slides to breakout groups and hands-on practice every 20 minutes.
If it’s a long instruction program, break it into shorter sessions throughout the day.
Train more often
One-and-done training has never been particularly effective, even when on-the-job practice reinforced the skill or knowledge. That’s because people tend to adapt when they forget exactly how to do something, and then adopt the inferior habit.
What’s better is regular reinforcement for post-COVID training. Practicing the correct skills in a monitored environment can ensure the right things get done when employees are on the job.
Try sending email reminders and tips, plus online refreshers, followed
by short exercises or tests.
Incorporate more activity
People don’t tend to retain as much information when they just listen to it. Nowadays, they need to physically participate in training to get the most out of it.
You might try more interactive elements such as quiz games where employees try to answer questions based on what they’ve just learned.
Or, go back to old-fashioned role playing, asking them to play out two or three different possibilities. Then discuss what works best.
Make it a team event
Help employees learn from each other. Many managers have found peer-to-peer training works better these days because employees work in context every day. Staff often knows what they need better than their manager or a trainer does.
You might pair employees to help each other in informal ways. Or consider asking employees to head up training on a topic or skill they feel they’re particularly qualified to teach.
Make personalization possible
You might grab employees’ attention if you offer training opportunities geared to how they want to grow.
Work with them to identify their strengths and potential career path.
Then serve up a menu of training and assignments that suit them best.
The personalized approach can also build engagement and foster employee loyalty.