Applying newfound L&D skills to a second lockdown: How can businesses prepare?

We’ve learned something from last time, right? Adam Hodgkinson says L&D can help make this period easier for business.

The Covid-19 pandemic has without a doubt been a turning point for the L&D space this year. As the country went into lockdown in March, businesses were forced to instantaneously adapt their L&D models to cope with the sudden changes.

The focus was less about having the most sophisticated L&D structure, but about delivering solutions based on what employees wanted, what they needed and when they needed it.

For many businesses, the pandemic has helped accelerate L&D with the introduction of modern technology and online training. From my experience, quarantine has encouraged employees to grow closer to one another, as they catch a glimpse into each other’s homes and meet each other’s family through the use of technology. In turn, this makes them more open to learn from one another.

For some however, it has been a point of reflection perhaps in the lack of training provided by a company or the inflexibility of their existing L&D structure. As we head into a second lockdown, the businesses who are more likely to prosper will have reflected on what worked and what didn’t, and will use this evaluation to implement new strategies.

Companies should embrace criticism and not be afraid of failing.

So, how can your company make sure it’s prepared for a second lockdown?

Acquire feedback from employees

Many businesses will have introduced new L&D initiatives as a result of the pandemic, whether it is temporary or permanent. As with any new introductions, it is essential to evaluate what was and wasn’t a success in order to make any necessary changes when moving forward, especially when going into a second lockdown.

L&D is all about providing and managing work related training to employees, so until a company acquires feedback from employees themselves, they cannot make any completely honest adjustments. Whether it’s collecting feedback through questionnaires or via one-on-one telephone conversations, it is crucial that this step isn’t overlooked.

Companies should embrace criticism and not be afraid of failing.

Provide a consistently supportive environment

Businesses need to ensure that they are providing a supportive environment for development at all times; the importance of this only intensifies during a lockdown situation. Investing in the necessary training for managers is vital for them to understand their role during this time and why it is so fundamental.

It is imperative that managers know how to use L&D content to develop their staff and that they are not just task oriented but trained to assess their employees’ feelings in an unnatural environment such as the pandemic. It’s down to a manager to support the wellbeing of their team, and for some staff, interaction with their managers is the only form of communication they may have all day.

Ensure learning is seamless

Going back into lockdown is already stressful enough on its own, so it’s important to ensure that during this time, learning is built into employees’ everyday routine so that it doesn’t feel like another task to add to their ‘to do’ list.

One way that businesses can do this is by integrating learning into every aspect of internal communication. For example, when a company needs to announce that all staff should work from home, advice on how to do this effectively should be weaved into the messaging.

For employees, this technique makes L&D short and easy to absorb rather than feeling like they have to sit through mandatory training.

Of course, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach for every single company and each one will have to revisit their current L&D structure to assess whether it’s suitable for another lockdown situation. A second lockdown is imminent and the only way for businesses to get through it and come out the other end is if they adequately prepare.


About the author

Adam Hodgkinson is global head of people development, talent & communication at HRA Pharma



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