A full assessment of the impact of COVID-19 may take years, but it is already clear corporate buying behaviors have been severely impacted. We look at how these unprecedented times have affected training strategies.

The New Normal

As the world becomes acclimatized to the full impact of COVID-19, it is important for industry to see the new normal not as a hindrance but as an opportunity. One area that has seen dramatic developments in recent months has been training. Corporate learning and development (L&D) functions have had to quickly adapt to a variety of barriers brought forward by COVID-19, such as social and physical distancing and travel restrictions. Human adaptability and the preparedness of L&D professionals means corporate training strategies could easily be updated to circumnavigate these and other restrictions.

Digital learning has been the obvious answer to many of the issues thrown up during the new normal. Highly technical training may still require classroom tuition, but for many of the courses businesses rely on to improve performance, digital alternatives provide a perfect alternative.

Digital learning strategies may include:

  • eLearning – an autonomous delivery system controlled by the learner. It has minimal interaction between learner and organizer
  • VILT – Virtual Instructor-Led Training – courses delivered online by an instructor in real-time. Learners can interact directly with the instructor and other participants
  • Blended – a course that incorporates eLearning, VILT and traditional face-to-face classroom instruction. This strategy is particularly beneficial when the L&D objective contains objectives for both knowledge and skills. The knowledge section can be taught virtually and the skills section in the classroom. This will minimize interactions while maximizing outcomes
Why Train Staff During the New Normal?

Even before the pandemic it was common for companies to question the value of training. When taking a short-term view of company financials, it can seem an obvious and easy solution to cut back on training budgets. While initial cuts will have a very immediate impact on bottom lines, experience has shown these positives very quickly become negatives as the business progresses and the skills base to capitalize on opportunities is lacking.

The question that needs to be asked is, why are you training? L&D is not about box-ticking, it is about creating a workforce that is efficient and productive, not just for now but into the future. Employees respond positively to the support that training affords, meaning the company has not only a more skilled workforce but also a confident and positive workforce that is ready for all challenges. Finally, it promotes flexibility and adaptability in the workforce. As the COVID-19 pandemic has proved, businesses cannot undervalue the importance of a supple and highly trained workforce. The companies that responded best to the challenges of homeworking and lockdown were those with a trained, prepared, and flexible workforce.

Effective training develops employee skills, which then allows the company to increase its service offering and improve efficiency and productivity. In addition to allowing a business to optimize its operations and offerings, it will also benefit the company by improving morale among the workforce, thereby reducing staff turnover, and creating marketplace delineations between organizations with highly skilled employees and those without.

What Can You Do?

Forward-thinking businesses need to embrace the changes being forced on them by the constraints of COVID-19. Virtual training affords businesses with a variety of options, which should all be considered before a proactive L&D strategy is finalized.

The first step must be to consider the 6Es:

  • Examine – what have been the mental and physical effects on your workforce and how can new learning strategies work around these demands. 24-hour news cycles and concerns over safety must be considered to achieve optimum buy-in levels by employees
  • Explore – what L&D strategy is right for your business? It needs to consider a variety of factors, including company infrastructure, budget, alignment with L&D strategy, and end user needs. Objectives need to be defined alongside up-front and ongoing costs
  • Ensure – it is vital to consider accessibility. If learners cannot access the training easily, it will fail in its primary objective – engaging with the end user. Many learners will have never partaken in virtual training and so the first impressions are important for continued engagement
  • Enable – the transition from face-to-face to virtual instruction must be an enjoyable and pleasant experience for the learner. Language compatibility, web accessibility and educational levels should be considered and there must be some form of incentive at the end – branded attendance certificate, etc.
  • Establish – implementation will only be successful if it is smooth. Establishing a ‘live’ online support team will help quickly rectify any problems without distracting the instructor. It also provides an opportunity for common issues to be identified and resolved before future sessions
  • Evaluate – true enhancement provides an opportunity for learners to feedback their experiences. This allows course development and continuous improvements
SGS Solutions

SGS has developed a range of courses covering most industrial sectors. Utilizing our global network of experts and high-trained tutors, we can deliver high quality content to learners all round the world. L&D strategies include eLearning, VILT, blended learning and traditional face-to-face classroom-based learning.

In addition to standardized courses, we can also work with clients and industry experts to develop and implement tailored learning solutions. These can incorporate a range of learning techniques to ensure objectives are met or exceeded.

  • Using industry data to create a comprehensive list of requirements
  • Flexible training solutions to meet the client’s objectives
  • Identifying effective training methodologies to ensure successful delivery of training goals
  • Employee performance can be monitored and assessed using the SGS LMS
  • Helps reinforce continuous improvement objectives

SGS offers training on a variety of different standards. Our training solutions are developed by subject matter experts to help organizations and individuals improve personal competence and skills – core enablers of sustainable business development and competitive advantage.

Learn more about SGS’s training services.



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