We had ‘Grandma Laura’ over for an outside BBQ this week. We had been waiting for the weather to warm up enough so that we could spend the entire time outside and be as safe as possible. We had a campfire after dinner, and I sat there marvelling at what joy having a visitor brought to our week.
In my corner of the world, we are still in a lockdown and struggling with too few intensive care beds and spotty vaccine supplies. I know some places are faring much, much worse, and others are doing significantly better.
My mom’s visit made me wonder, “Is it too early to start thinking – start hoping – for the end of the pandemic? What might that look like?”
I know organizations have started talking about post-pandemic plans. Some are planning for a “digital-first” approach. Many others are planning to adopt a hybrid approach – some in-office employees and some remote employees, and fluidity between the two. As organizations think through the myriad of questions this raises, I think about employee training and development.
If you’re responsible for developing employees, this has been a challenging year for you! As we’ve all experienced, the shift to remote work has created strain for employees and their families.
A report published by Morneau Shepell in December found that the Mental Health Index for working Canadians dipped to a record low. Overall, 36 percent of survey respondents said they were concerned about a co-worker’s mental health.
Keeping employees feeling connected and engaged is an ongoing challenge. And, as organizations clarify their post-pandemic workforce plans, it raises the question,
“How can you develop and train employees who work from home and in the office?”
Like many organizations, you probably quickly shifted programs from in-person to online last year. They may have been hastily created, but the courses worked. Now, as you look at a more permanent shift in your workforce structure, how can you move from an ad hoc approach to training to an approach that will develop employees and support the organization’s direction?
This is where a learning strategy can support you.
A learning strategy starts with the organization’s goal or need. Right now, that need may be supporting remote and in-office employees. It could also be developing leadership bench strength, onboarding new employees, or taking a step back to assess overall how training and development is offered.
The strategy is specific to a group of employees. To build on the examples above, it could be WFT and in-office employees, leaders, new employees or employees in a specific functional area.
For a learning strategy to be effective, it needs to reflect the organization’s environment, including:
- Existing training courses and development programs.
- Technology and any constraints.
- Other initiatives (e.g., talent strategy, new systems launches).
It’s also important to consider the people who will support the strategy – in its initial design and its implementation.
As you think about how to support your organization’s workforce planning, take the time to create a learning strategy that will leverage the programs you have in place and will carry you in our ‘new normal.’
I’m curious about your organization and the conversations that are unfolding about post-pandemic work. I’m not asking you to divulge anything confidential, but I would love to have a conversation and hear your perspective on what ‘back to normal-ish’ will look like for you and how you will support your employees.
In case you missed it
I’ve shared some posts online in the past few weeks. Here they are in case you missed them.
- Producer vs. Facilitator role (video post) – tour bus analogy (link)
- Importance of Pre-work in engaging online (video post) – (link)
- How to training systems online (video post) – (link)
Curious to learn more?
I am launching some webinars on creating Learning Strategies. Click here to find more information and sign up.
Here are some projects where I helped clients create a Learning Strategy: