The terms pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 are slowly becoming a reality. With the changing times, the phrase 'new normal' has been done to death. That said, it doesn't change the fact that we did not get any time to adapt to the given circumstances, which we must now do rapidly. As a result, Training has changed dramatically, with the notable rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. Social distancing, work from home, online learning, e-learning, Zoom training, virtual meetings, remote teams are the new buzzwords.
During the 2008 financial crisis, the former Chicago Mayor and Chief of Staff of President Barrack Obama, Rahm Emanuel said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before." Could there be a more serious crisis than the pandemic?
The pandemic has resulted in a paradigm shift in learning all across the globe. And this paradigm shift requires us to come up with strategies that use a range of collaboration devices and engagement methods that promote inclusion, personalization, and intelligence.
Since teams are working remotely, it is a necessity that, to be productive, they be trained in the same way. Remote team culture can be strengthened by devising online workshops that help teams align, build trust and relationships, and generate ideas and solutions. Platforms like Zoom, Webex, Adobe Captivate, amongst a host of others, assist in making online Training possible. Artificial Intelligence, which includes Otter.ai and Grammarly, helps you build techniques to record training sessions and enhance writing.
However, remote Training comes with its own set of challenges. Rather than thinking of these challenges as stumbling blocks, we should view them as stepping stones and come up with strategies to tackle them.
- Effective Communication of Information – It is critical to communicate timelines, expectations, and support for the learners. At the same time, we must acknowledge that they, too, are going through a rapid transition.
- Creating a Conducive Work Environment – Not only does this mean that the workspace during Training should be free from distractions, but it also means that the Training must support the building of trust and knowledge sharing among remote employees and managers.
- Accommodating Different Time Zones – Working across multiple time zones can reduce the amount of 'face time' available for the team. Thus, affecting the individual's ability to integrate with the team and reducing opportunities for collaboration. Be considerate of others' working patterns and vary the timings of the sessions.
- Ensure Continuity – Regular training sessions must be scheduled to provide professional development of teams.
- Maintaining Team Cohesiveness - The members of the distributed team have to speak the same language. Weekly or daily calls can keep the teams aligned.
So, how should Training be done in a socially distanced workplace? It's essential to be agile and flexible to be successful in today's world.
- Start planning for the future
- Explore alternative digital-learning strategies
- Deliver Valuable Learning
- Create Teams
- Reskill workers
Stephen R. Covey, in his new book, Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times, says, "If there's one thing that's certain in business, it's uncertainty. Most organizations can get predictable results in an environment that is predictable. But, there are great organizations that consistently perform with excellence, even in the most unpredictable times, which we are now experiencing. These organizations not only survive the tough times, but they thrive and set themselves ahead of their competitors." So, how do effective leaders deal with uncertainty? They follow the 4 Cs:
- Connect with your team to build confidence, rapport, mutual purpose, and trust.
- Communicate to ensure that everyone is working toward the goals and are in excellent mental health.
- Collaborate with your virtual team using various digital platforms and apps
- Coach and lead by example to achieve results and build a high-performing team.
"You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins." – Jim Stovall