2020 has certainly been an interesting ride for us all! While the whole world continues to adjust to the lasting impacts of COVID-19, we are witnessing how organizations and businesses have adjusted to survive and thrive under these challenging circumstances. A big part of that adjustment is learning how to address everyday work issues while understaffed or working remote. One of those necessary work issues is job training. What modern solutions are some organizations taking to provide effective job training in the current untraditional work environment?
What is Job Training?
Most often, job training occurs “on-the-job” or can include offsite training with a third party vendor. The overall goal is to help an employee to process and quickly understand new job procedures or upgraded responsibilities. Employees who develop new skills are often more confident in handling their new tasks, and ultimately feel closely tied to their organization. As a result of these new skills and boosted confidence, many employees will stick close to the organizations that made the investment in them. As a result, job training is a cost-effective tool for an organization. Job training affords a more focused learning experience and reduces employee turnover.
There are two types of on-the-job training and two methods of such job training. Let’s briefly consider each.
Types of Job Training:
- Structured – the employer has a program / plan designed to help the employee to progress through various steps in training. This could be organized as a checklist of tasks, detailing who will be responsible for supervising / training each task. This also can include the goals desired from the training.
- Unstructured – the employee often shadows others for a few days or weeks to learn the skills needed to work confidently at their job.
Job Training Methods:
- Standalone – the employee will be trained through either structured or unstructured approaches.
- Blended Learning – as the name implies, this method involves a hybrid of job training that includes both structured and unstructured approaches, and also can include videos and online courses.
The Remote Work Shift and Job Training
The impact of the shift to global remote work/reduced staff due to COVID-19’s presence grows every day. While there have been some benefits from the change – some employees have reported being more efficient by working at home – there have been some challenges to keep employees engaged and positive. Meeting the challenge of professionally training employees while remote also has been a challenge.
McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, suggests treating the current challenge of job training during COVID-19 as a “design opportunity” instead of a learning problem. This allows organizations to set priorities for essential learning and focus on how to address them under the current circumstances. For instance, designing shorter training sessions and developing the training sessions into a series can be more impactful instead of requiring employees to review several hours of video training in a day.
Pre-COVID, digital and virtual learning was already on the rise. Naturally, because of this shift to remote work, virtual job training has increased. Even positions that traditionally require “on-the-job” physical training have been able to shift to digital learning by streaming or developing web-based videos to help employees visually see and understand how they should complete tasks.
Some organizations view the current work environment as an opportunity to reskill employees to fill areas of need due to COVID and even areas of need pre-COVID. For example, during the Ebola crisis, a company operating in West Africa made a smooth and rapid return to the physical workplace by taking the time to analyze critical and noncritical skills. They recognized areas in their workforce that were lacking, and made a plan to upskill workers in adjacent skill areas. For example, truck drivers learned how to be excavator operators during that time.
- Rapidly identify the skills your recovery business model will depend on
- Build employee skills critical to your new business model
- Launch tailored learning close to critical skills gaps
- Start now, test your procedures, adjust, and repeat
- Protect learning budgets
There was a significant drop in overall training expenses during 2009 and 2010 after the 2008 Great Recession. In 2011 there was a surge in training expenses, follow by a drop in expenses in 2012 similar to the levels maintained during 2008. McKinsey believes that organizations that cut learning budgets now will be repeating an expensive lesson that should have been learned from the 2008 Great Recession. By cutting learning budgets now, you will be delaying a larger, necessary investment and falling behind the competition.
How is your organization handling job training in the current climate? Share your thoughts in our comment box below.