The last twelve months have seen unprecedented changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, racial and social unrest, weather-related disasters, and other events. These changes have resulted in many companies rethinking their business operations and making adjustments to their goals.
Companies must equip employees with the skills necessary to thrive in the new working environment of 2021. Some companies have moved positions from in-office to work-from-home on a temporary basis. And for some, many of these jobs will continue being partially or permanently remote for the foreseeable future. Overall, many jobs have changed significantly during the transition to remote work.
Creating an effective online corporate training plan has become a priority. Online training plays an integral part in assisting with the transition to a remote workforce. Learning experiences can now happen anywhere. Although team members are more physically distant, modern tools and technologies have made them more connected than ever before.
So what are the new trends of online corporate training, and how can you adapt and re-create your corporate training program to embrace the “new normal”?
Here are eight new corporate online eLearning trends you can follow to help your organization thrive in 2021:
1. Train your trainers.
Due to the increased need for virtual training, companies must train in-person instructors to be able to facilitate training in virtual environments. This training encompasses not only how to use virtual tools (Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, Coggno Connect), but also the critical communications skills that must go with these technologies.
2. Change from job skills to human skills.
Workers must master and build skills beyond their current job descriptions, focusing mainly on human skills. What is the difference between job skills and human skills? Think about tasks that can be automated versus tasks that require the problem-solving, creativity of a human being. Although advancements like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are taking baby steps towards being able to perform mundane tasks like packing and sorting, human skills like communication, problem solving, project management, leadership, and emotional intelligence are areas that human beings still reign supreme over automation.
Under this category, the five top trends currently transforming workplaces are:
- Roles are being re-imagined and are being redesigned.
- Jobs are requiring new, modern skill sets.
- Artificial Intelligence is moving into repetitive task-based jobs.
- Businesses are shifting from products to service-based models.
- Employers are putting more importance on human skills.
3. Shift the focus from learn-to-work to work-to-learn.
The next generation places a higher value on learning and skill-building than ever before. Job seekers place training and professional development opportunities among the top reasons for taking a job. Organizations need to adjust their strategy to provide effective upskilling and training programs. This means creating a corporate culture that values continuous learning, and empowers employees to master new skills through online training programs and encouragement.
4. Create a fully-online onboarding process.
Go beyond the standard HR paperwork completed on an employee’s first day. Companies often don’t have a consistent onboarding process for new employees, which can lead to chaos in a employee’s first week and can be a significant drain on resources. Many employees report that a disorganized onboarding process can lead to anxiety and low morale. Contrast that with a good onboarding week, which can set a new team member on a productive path forward.
Here is a few tips for creating a solid onboarding process for new employees:
– Move the majority of onboarding online.
Due to health and safety concerns, new employees might join a company without ever setting foot into the corporate office. By designing an onboarding plan that is online (not in person), you are granting your company the flexibility to pursue talent all over the world, and not just in close proximity to the headquarters.
– Leverage industry standard courses.
Create a virtual environment where new employees can take standard training programs for risk mitigation and compliance. This can include courses on sexual harassment, ethics, discrimination, document retention, health and safety, fire safety, etc. Standard online training courses are available for your HR team to pick-and-choose from.
– Customize training to your business.
Choose a tool that allows you to add courses pertaining to your unique business. Coggno has a proctoring tool called Coggno Create that enables companies to create custom training using their own unique material and deploy it in an online training environment. Many companies leverage this product to highlight company history, location of resources, company policies, product training, and other corporate materials.
5. Decentralized workforces need to be accommodated.
Managing a remote workforce comes with many challenges, but they can be overcome if managed effectively.
Here are a few tips for managing your remote team and staying productive:
– Use an instant internal communication tool.
Investing in an internal communication tool is vital for allowing team members to stay connected regardless of geography. It enables instant communication, and keeps team members aware of the company news and initiatives.
– Periodically revise productivity.
Adaptation is one of the essential parts of a decentralized team’s success, which is why you should review and analyze your productivity periodically. Monitor how the team adapts to changes to help you determine the best way to work together.
– Communicate face-to-face and use a task manager.
Face-to-face communication improves your team’s productivity and morale. The following tools have become staples for decentralized teams:
Video conferencing tools ensure more transparent communication and keeps your team productive and engaged.
Task management tools enable employees to keep up with tasks, big projects, and looming deadlines. They also enable managers to distribute tasks and monitor progress among employees.
6. Health and safety are a priority.
Juggling work, life, and home-schooling have taken their toll on many working parents. To maintain a thriving workforce, companies need to be sensitive to employees as they adapt to working conditions, and apply measures to maximize their team’s overall well-being and productivity.
Here are some of the key issues workers have reported experiencing when working from home, as well as remedies that can prevent them:
– Reduced physical health due to long periods of sitting.
Hours of meetings and phone calls in close proximity to a kitchen can lead to less healthy eating habits. Slouching in front of the computer screen and extending your wrists can quickly become ingrained habits, leading to musculoskeletal problems and significant eye strain.
Employers should minimize this risk by educating employees on the importance of good posture and tips on how to set up an ergonomic work area. Plus, reminding employees on the importance of taking regular breaks, looking away from the screen, stretching and going for a walk are all good tips for maintaining a healthy team.
– Feeling overwhelmed, and approaching burnout.
The key signs of burnout are lower productivity and exhaustion. It also causes a range of physical and mental conditions such as anxiety, heart disease, and depression.
Here are a few preventative measures employers can implement to help address the problem:
– Promote regular exercise.
– Help employees set boundaries to the start and end of their working day
– Support employees who request a day off, and encourage vacation time to be taken
– Implement initiatives encouraging workers to replace unhealthy habits with better ones
– Feelings of isolation and disconnection.
If not managed correctly, employees can feel disconnected from their company when working from home. This can affect their productivity and their overall mental health.
Address this problem by regularly checking in with remote employees and keeping the lines of communication open. It is possible to create an online environment that makes it easy to check in on colleagues.
7. Address and combat Zoom fatigue.
At the end of 2020, the term “Zoom fatigue” was coined and became a reality for a lot of professionals. Zoom fatigue is the mental exhaustion people experience with extensive video conferencing. If left unattended, this online meeting fatigue can lower productivity and engagement in the workforce.
Some effective ways to combat Zoom fatigue are:
– Choose your meetings wisely.
Encourage your employees to attend only the meetings they have to. You can stagger virtual meetings to allow time in between so employees can take a break, stretch their legs, and prepare for the next call.
– Encourage mini breaks on calls and turn the video off.
Ensure your team members that it is okay to take mini-breaks from staring at the screen on longer calls. They can turn the video off for a moment, move around and look at something else to relax their eyes. This will make it easier to stay alert and refocus.
– Avoid multitasking in meetings.
Multitasking during meetings is exhausting and unfair to your fellow workers. It can also lead to a drop in team productivity and meeting efficiency.
Have a set of meeting objectives outlined before the meeting starts, and stay on topic. If unrelated subjects arise, jot these down in a “parking lot” section of your meeting notes. This way, the idea is not forgotten and can be addressed at a later date/time.
– Minimize distractions.
Encourage your employees to create a quiet and clutter-free workspace for themselves. This can be difficult, since working from home comes with many distractions, like children, spouses on competing phone calls, pets, and household emergencies. Encourage your team to cut down on screen distractions by keeping their video background tidy, and closing apps and browser tabs that aren’t needed.
8. Training should be easy to deploy and report.
Remote training comes with its own set of challenges. Social isolation, lack of face-to-face supervision, and access to the right information are just a few. Having a solid plan for training a remote team that is both effective and engaging is important.
Here are a few tips to make your remote online training more effective:
– Ensure login access is pain-free.
Communication is vital. Send an email a few days before the training session with the virtual session link and resend it a day and a few minutes before the class begins to make access easy for everyone.
– Stay online and offer regular meetings or check-ins.
Tell your students you will be available after the session to answer questions and address issues. You can also schedule check-ins and make yourself available online should students wish to connect.
– Engage learners.
Find additional ways to create extra engagement. A rewards system has proven to be an effective way to engage learners, or acknowledge when a trainee completes a course. This type of positive reinforcement motivates students and ensures course completion.
– Make use of a Learner Management System (LMS) and track the results.
An LMS will help you manage, deploy and track your training efforts. It enables you to track how your learners take quizzes and courses and monitor their attendance at web meetings. It takes the guesswork out of new employee onboarding so the ramp-up time for a new team member is accelerated. It will also help you track if learners completed the course and what their scores were.
Sometimes it feels like the workplace changed overnight from an office to the dining room table. Business leaders were compelled to rethink how to operate under new circumstances and remain productive. Companies that are succeeding in this ‘new normal’ landscape have taken the time to re-create their online corporate training program that addresses the unique circumstances of 2021, and up-skills their workforce for success in the years to come.
If you are thinking about creating an online training program for your team that is simple to manage, and affordable to maintain, check out Coggno’s Training Hub tool. Take the first step and request your free, quick, no-obligation demo.