Even though vaccination is speeding up, COVID-19 continues to be a serious concern in the majority of countries worldwide. The unprecedented pandemic forced businesses of all sizes to quickly adjust their way of doing business, both in terms of customer engagement and internal work procedures. Social distancing is and will be the new normal for the foreseeable future. However, even though we are no longer cooped together in the office, onboarding procedures and training sessions need to continue in order for businesses to thrive.
Fortunately, managers now have all the needed tools in order to effectively train and onboard employees while social distancing. COVID-19 sped up the digitalization of the modern workplace more than anyone could have imagined. Now it is all up to us to come up with innovative and effective ways to conduct our daily business while working from home or otherwise avoiding close contact.
In this article, we will share with you some helpful tips on how to conduct effective training sessions during COVID-19.
Ensure All Needed Processes and Procedures Are in Place
In order for your training and onboarding sessions to be successful, you need to lay the groundwork first. You need to ensure that all required documentation, workflow, and equipment are in place and up-to-date. While this is true for all scenarios, it is even more essential where remote work is concerned. If your employees and training staff cannot easily access the materials they need and do not know how to proceed, your whole organization will swiftly fall apart.
Even though your employees have the option to communicate and get information through software like Skype, Slack, or Microsoft Teams, think as if they are completely cut off from everyone else. All your internal processes, projects, and workflows need to be well-documented and available to everyone at a moment’s notice.
Promote Engagement and Involvement
Working from home gets a bit lonely, even if you are able to talk to your colleagues via virtual means. This goes double for new employees, who simply do not know anyone yet. Getting them to make friendly connections and receive advice that will help them get on board faster is quite difficult when social distancing is in effect. In order to alleviate this, you need to make sure your onboarding sessions are engaging and involve active communication with the rest of the respective team.
Introducing new employees to the company culture and integrating them into the team can be a challenge. They are especially prone to feeling isolated and disengaged if not properly introduced to work processes and company dynamics. Your onboarding sessions need to encourage new staff members to communicate with their colleagues and create an environment for asking questions, getting directions, and receiving timely feedback.
Maintain the Human Connection While Social Distancing
As we already established, working from home makes many employees feel isolated, which in turn makes them an ineffective part of the team. You can alleviate that problem by making sure the human-to-human connection is not lost when training and onboarding new hires virtually. In a normal situation, employees would meet each other in the break room or while having lunch. Since such interactions are no longer possible, you can transfer the same atmosphere online.
A great way to make new hires feel more at ease during the onboarding and training process is to arrange virtual face-to-face introductions with important colleagues. Make sure the cameras are on, so the new employee can put a face to the name and email address they are most likely to encounter during their everyday work. Such small details can go a long way towards making your employees feel at ease and ready to work.
Make Use of Modern Technologies
The COVID-19 pandemic made collaboration software even more important than before when it comes to corporate communication. Task management systems, business chat apps, and CRM platforms were already widely utilized, but social distancing put them front and center as a means to ensure operational efficiency. When planning your onboarding and training sessions, make sure you take advantage of every digital tool available to you. For example, there are many learning platforms that you can implement to make training resources and scheduling easy and convenient.
Also, now is the time to get creative when it comes to using tech for onboarding and training purposes. Depending on the industry you are working in, you might want to look into investing in a tour guide system as a means of directly contacting and supporting your staff. Additionally, more and more businesses are adapting AR (Augmented Reality) tech as a means to scaling the training and development process across multiple locations.
Think beyond the standard presentations that accompany each onboarding session. Consider using collaboration software to make the processes more engaging, fun, and memorable. Employees who work remotely might have trouble becoming invested in your business and company culture if you do not present them in the best possible light. Make sure you get your message across by capturing and keeping their attention.
While social distancing rules and remote work came quite suddenly, the business world showed resilience and quickly adapted to the new normal. On top of that, it is now evident that working from home does not necessarily impact productivity in a negative way. The biggest challenge is to keep your employees engaged and feeling like a part of something.
By efficiently using tech and keeping the human connection, your training and onboarding sessions are guaranteed to be highly effective — perhaps more so than ever before. We can certainly say that the unusual times we are living in now are the perfect foundation on which you can build a strong team and achieve your business goals in ways never thought possible before.