Over the past several months, companies have been working hard to ensure their businesses can continue to function in an online world. Many businesses were able to piece together new strategies to make remote work successful, but others were not. As of August 31st, 163,735 businesses have closed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 97,966 of those closures are permanent. This massive destruction of businesses points to a clear issue with our current workforce: people and organizations do not have the skills needed to thrive in an online world. As a business, it is imperative that you work to reskill your workforce to continuously adapt and innovate—so mission-critical work can get done.
An emerging talent development strategy is to design reskilling. In essence, reskilling is an initiative meant to strengthen employee skills and knowledge to keep them up to date in the present and prepare them for the future. Ideally, reskilling allows employees to do better within their current roles and prepares them for how their roles may change in the future.
Think of agile reskilling as a way to make your workforce “future ready.” This means reevaluating everything in your training programs from how they are delivered to what material is being taught. For many companies, this means ensuring that training programs are both scalable and deliverable online as opposed to in person. Here are three fundamental ways this type of reskilling can improve outcomes:
1. Creating new training programs that are scalable can save time and money. When possible and feasible design training solutions that can be easily updated and deployed to reduce the time and costs to keep them up to date. For reskilling employees, consider a microlearning approach in which each module covers just one tasks or objective at a time and focuses on what’s new or different.
2. Delivering training solutions online allows for greater flexibility in learning and better accommodation for all employees. No more missing out on training sessions due to employees taking PTO or sick time. Build training solution that are ready and easily available when and where your employees are.
3. Using data-driven feedback in additional to anecdotal feedback helps you home on what works best for employees and what’s not working. Digital training experiences provide unparalleled options for tracking growth and outcomes for learners. Additionally, given the possibilities with today’s digital learning ecosystems and tools like xAPI, companies are able to give employees credit for learning everywhere.
So, how can your company best implement new training strategies that improve outcomes and reduce costs? It starts with a clear vision for what your new training should look like. This means a transformation in the way employees view training as well clear, trackable goals.
In the past, training was viewed as separate from other business operations. Employees would often have training sessions scheduled during certain sections of the day, and when the training was over, they would return to their jobs. Today, training must be much more fluid, and employees need effective options for learning throughout the workday. This all starts with empathizing with today’s learners to design training programs that allow employees to learn when and how they want, and view “training” as complimentary to their professional development as opposed to an extra burden.
When it comes to creating goals for your training programs, keep in mind that L&D solutions are far reaching, and employees need an “always on” learning approach. Many companies need help training employees on new online systems and protocol, while others want to focus more on digital skills. Try to think of how your team many have changed since you moved into a more virtual work environment. Are there new security issues that you need to address? Is your company implementing new ways to track projects and hours? If you’re not sure where to start, consider a training need analysis.
Throughout all of this, it is important to consider the effects an online transformation have had on your business and the resources available to you to help solve problems and educate your workforce. Implementing new training or training approaches, like all new projects, is a process. It may take time for employees and executives to buy in to a new way of learning or doing training, but it will pay off as business practices and the skill required continue to shift.