Learning after the crisis – “IN THE FLOW OF WORK” to “IN THE FLOW OF LIFE”
It has not escaped anyone’s notice that the corona crisis has fast-forwarded organizations to (positive) digital development. Josh Bersin, an HR analyst who recently interviewed a number of HR managers, reports that many say the same thing – “that the crisis has been an excuse to implement a massive digital transformation in a short period of time.”
Phuh! What have we just experienced? What happened? Was it even possible to develop this quickly and enter a completely new way of working? However, the interviews conducted by Bersin show a lot of positive effects. When managers have shown that they value employee well-being and security, and employees have been given the chance to reflect on their working lives and work more from home, this has in many cases increased cooperation and engagement. When it comes to Learning & Development departments, a survey (People Management magazine) shows that 75% of companies and organizations have changed the way they train their employees due to the crisis, and over 50% have made most of their classroom training digital. Many report that they have been in the process of digitization for a long time, but that the crisis has helped them to finish earlier than planned. Several of our customers have told us that the focus during the crisis has been on getting a lot in place in a short time. Especially finding or creating training for new tools such as Teams and Zoom, but also digital training in new ways of working and for the introduction of new employees. There has been a sense of putting out fires, while the ‘usual’ need to reskill and upskill staff in the context of wider technological developments has been going on in parallel. While we are not shouting about the crisis, some of us may be secretly enjoying the rapid development of new, more digital and efficient ways of working and reaching our people. But working quickly in the midst of a crisis also affects the ability to think long-term and sustainable over time.
So what happens now, when the worst is over and we have entered a phase where we slowly but surely start preparing to come back to a new world? A survey by DN shows that one in five want to continue working more remotely after the crisis. Companies and organizations have also seen the benefits of flexible and increased teleworking, paving the way for more efficient ways of working and a sustainable working life. And for those of us working in the field of learning and development, while we may be grateful for rapid progress, it is time to slowly start looking up again.
Questions that may be useful at this stage are:
What have we achieved during the crisis and how have we done it?
Which parts have been positive/negative? Advantages and disadvantages?
What have we learned and what do we take forward?
Do we need to develop or do something differently, do we need to get better at something in particular?
How can we start thinking more sustainably and with a long-term perspective?
LEARNING IN THE FLOW OF LIFE
We who know a lot about digital learning (both in-house at companies and as consultants) have valuable expertise and should ask ourselves how we can best support our colleagues, companies and organizations with what we have thought and dreamed about for a long time. But we must also dare to challenge ourselves and adapt to the new world and not lose our vision. Maybe we should even dare to reformulate the vision. Previously, Josh Bersin has talked about “Learning in the flow of work” which many have used as a starting point for their learning strategy, but now maybe it’s time to start thinking more about “Learning in the flow of life”? Now that we have more remote work where there is an increased mix of the private with the professional, it is even more important than before to make support, learning, collaboration opportunities and exchange of experience digitally available and really make sure to be there all the time, as part of everyday life and not just everyday work.
5 ways to create an engaging and sustainable environment
Learning culture in everyday life
1. A channel for everyday communication & development If employees do not have an obvious and easily accessible place to hang out for everyday communication and learning, you have no way of reaching them. It is not just about Teams or the intranet here, but a place where employees can search and quickly find concise and relevant support and development when they want and need it, and where they can share experiences with each other. Think “open, inspiring and easy to use” rather than control and administration.
2. Communicate why and what, but let employees decide how and when. Set a roadmap and learning content strategy based on the focus during the year and communicate what employees should know, and make available and push out support and bite size content in your channel, but let employees take responsibility for when and how they want to learn. Think about how you can use AI or other tools to help employees find the info and help they need in internal or external content. It’s best to create a social channel where someone is responsible for curating content that aligns with the company’s goals, values and focus – and who is constantly present to answer questions or help (could be a chatbot too).
3. Let the in-house team, experts and others in the organization learn simple tools to produce Bite sized content themselves How do you want your everyday “fast” communication and learning to look and work? Dare to choose a number of simple pieces of content such as animations, films, checklists, mini-guides and FAQs in a digestible format that are easy for everyone to make and share. Let the whole L&D and communication team, experts and others in the organization learn good tools and templates. Make small how-to guides so that many people can produce and share their knowledge.
4. Focus on developing competences, skills and abilities Further work on finding smart solutions to reskill and upskill employees. How can you work digitally to allow employees to develop themselves? Can you use internal experts, or bite size external content? While digital skills are important now, don’t forget about soft skills such as problem solving, growth mindset, remote management, collaboration and well-being at work topics. This is even more important in the aftermath of the crisis and with the rapid evolution of technology – and very important to keep teams effective, motivated and engaged. Also consider individual and role-specific solutions. One thing does not fit all.
5. Communicate that time every day for development is OK! Communicate clearly that time for learning, development, sharing experiences and knowledge, and collaboration is ok – that way you enable a learning culture in your company. This also increases employees’ commitment and willingness to take responsibility for their own development.
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Written by Tereza Kennedy Olsen CEO, Creative Director & Founder, Atom Collaboration