Globally, workplaces were already experiencing some evolution and the pandemic only fast-tracked it in multiple ways. The new hybrid work world has necessitated L&D and organizations in general to retool their strategies to address the changing needs of their employees.
However, since physical proximity is impossible, organizations have realized the need to empower employees by enabling them to develop the critical skills required to thrive in this new hybrid workplace.
Hybrid Workplace and its New Rules
So much has changed in the recent past and while vaccines have brought a promise towards getting the pandemic under control, there’s little chance that the corporate ecosystem will go back to its pre-Covid nature. As the rules have changed indelibly in the hybrid form of work, employee development and learning has taken on a preeminent role. However, with the playing field changing significantly, learning initiatives now call for a more proactive approach than a reactive one.
Evolving Needs of Learners
If there’s anything 2020 has taught us, it is that continuous learning is a pre-requisite as companies embrace the new reality of work. Moreover, it’s not just companies who have realized this, employees too have understood this and are prioritizing learning and development.
As LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report 2021 points out, Gen-Z – one of the biggest demographic in today’s workforce -- is highly motivated to grow their careers, with 76% seeing learning as the key to their advancement. In general, the Millennials and Gen Z are known to value learning and growth opportunities, viewing them as critical perks. Naturally then, the focus on learning, development, and employee growth opportunities have become primary contributors of engagement and retention.
The onus of identifying and fulfilling the evolving learning needs of the modern workforce lies, to a great extent, with L&D. But the question is: How can L&D create impactful learning for the hybrid workplace while letting employees drive their own development?
There are various ways in which L&D can impart the skills and competencies required to empower employees to drive their own development in the new normal.
Here are a few of them:
- Identifying Learner Preferences and Areas of Capability Development
The first step for L&D is to understand learners and their preferences and learning styles. In order to function well in the hybrid environment, there is a need to accelerate investments in virtual collaboration as well as critical areas of capability development. To help employees hone and master skills that ensure their growth, L&D has to offer creative and forward-looking solutions to replace the traditional ways of training from pre-Covid times. It is important to reimagine the power and purpose of employee learning and development.
- Leveraging Continuous Learning and Training
As employees settle into the hybrid workplace, they may face work situations that they are not accustomed with in terms of ways to brainstorm, collaborate and solve problems. To meet these challenges, L&D can leverage continuous learning and training. There are several options in today’s virtual collaboration and learning environments as compared to in-person training. These can allow L&D to deploy programs that meet individual training preferences while addressing digital skills needs.
- Harnessing the Power of Informal Learning
With traditional learning options becoming a thing of the past, several employees are keen to participate in on-the-job learning, mentoring, coaching and cross-departmental live projects. L&D can harness the power of informal learning or non-structured learning where employees can learn from their peers, manager and senior manager in an informal setting. Such informal learning is critical to boost employee engagement, especially in a hybrid workplace where there are no water cooler conversations and limited to no physical interactions between colleagues.
- Designing Learning for Hybrid Working
With hybrid working likely to be the norm for a long time, L&D will need to develop learning plans to cater to the needs of employees who will be split between in-office and remote locations. Developing location-agnostic training needs to be well thought out. It could include strategies like experimenting with new methods, personalizing learning journeys and measuring learning effectiveness. L&D can also integrate the flexibility of self-paced online training with highly engaging live experiences. This can help achieve higher efficiency levels and effectiveness in training.
While the pandemic may fade, the number of employees working in a remote or hybrid work environment is going to be high. Organizations need to give a serious thought on how they can empower employees to take charge of their own development through pro-active training initiatives.
Learn more about how Plethora can boost the impact of your eLearning and corporate training programs. Get in touch today.