Lockdown has presented challenges for all of us, on so many levels. From changing how we work, to adjusting our social lives, there’s barely an area of our lives that coronavirus hasn’t had an impact on.
However, for all it’s downsides (and there are a few!) isolation can present opportunities among the chaos. We believe that isolation offers a unique opportunity to engage your team in learning and development.
Research has shown that interest in online learning has skyrocketed, and it’s up to business leaders to make the most of that increased appetite. A massive 92% of furloughed employees plan to use their time in furlough to upskill, with many wanting to update and refresh skill sets.
This watershed moment for online learning presents an incredible opportunity for businesses to upskill their people, and gain a competitive advantage as they re-enter the marketplace post-coronavirus.
3 Things You Need In Order To Upskill Your People During Lockdown
We’ve learnt a lot over the past few years about employee behaviour when it comes to learning and upskilling. We’ve particularly engaged with Millennials and Gen Z during this time, and have managed to work with them to decipher what exactly they’re looking for from workplace learning programmes.
The below 3 points come up time and time again. When it comes to upskilling your people, there are 3 things they are looking for. These are:
Employees are facing more uncertainty now than ever before. An uncertain job market coupled with the fact that there are 1.4 million workers that have been furloughed in the past 4 weeks, is a breeding ground for negativity and lack of employee engagement.
Prior to coronavirus, there was still immense pressure on employees to upskill and continue learning. The skills gap is costing businesses around £4.4bn each year, and the pressure has always been placed on employees to keep up with the demand for new skills or face being replaced by someone else. This stress that’s placed on employees has meant that engagement levels for millennials and Gen-zers has been low.
However, there is a way to combat this, and there’s no better time to grab their attention than now when there are no competing interests. The best way to engage employees is to be human. This means genuinely understanding their concerns and working with them to combat the issues of stress and uncertainty.
Being human means showing that you really care and offering honesty during these uncertain times. A great way to show that you care deeply is to demonstrate that you’re invested in your people and willing to support their learning in every sense. Fostering a learning culture creates trust and helps you build a strong employee brand.
It’s also crucial that you understand your staff in order to be human and authentic. Old routines are out the window, and although people have more time, this doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily ‘free’ time. Many people have been thrust into home-schooling roles with school closures, and lots of people have anxiety around the coronavirus situation, so taking this into account and knowing your people during this time is essential.
Being willing to support your employees as they learn is essential, however it’s only useful and productive if the learning is relevant. Your people want to know that you have their best interests at heart, and that you’re pushing them in the right direction.
We know from experience that 82% of Uhubs members find it hard navigating what to learn. Helping your employees learn by guiding them in the right direction is a great way to keep them engaged. This also helps them understand which skills are valued most within your organisation, which is beneficial to both parties.
Using data to align the learning recommendations to skills gaps within the business means that you’re able to make the most of upskilling your employees and enables them to instantly put their news skills into practice.
It’s not good enough to just give your employees boring resources and expect them to flourish. 79% of Uhubs members state they are more likely to engage in learning if they feel inspired by the person teaching them, and this plays a big part in how quickly and effectively they learn.
The live factor is important - having access to live learning, where your answers can be instantly answered by an expert makes the whole process a lot more engaging.
How Can You Upskill Your People During Coronavirus?
First things first, it’s essential that you’re offering people the skills that are needed within your organisation. One quick and easy way to do this is to partner with a learning platform in order to see where the skills gaps are within your organisation.
A skills gap assessment uses company-wide surveys to gain insight into the kind of skills gaps that are present and then matching your business to expert coaches who can provide hands-on training. These coaches deliver live masterclasses remotely to employees, and offer the opportunity for 1 to 1 coaching.
For more information on how you can upskill your team in the age of coronavirus, get in touch