Guest Column | April 23, 2021

Hybrid Work Demands A New Approach To Corporate Training

By Christopher Rousset, LMS365

Train tracks

Early last year, some organizations had still not begun to explore the remote work option for their employees. For some, it was a question of insufficient budget for the tools workers would need. For others, there was concern that remote workers might be more distracted at home and therefore less productive. The pandemic forced their hand on this matter. In the process, employees found that they could be just as productive, or even more, so if they had the necessary collaboration and communication tools.

After experiencing remote work en masse, employee attitudes vary on whether they want to keep working remotely. Gartner found that 94% of organizations are allowing employees more flexibility as to where and when they work. A report by Microsoft and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Remote Working and the Platform of the Future, found that 35% of employees prefer fully in-office work, 18% fully remote and the remainder preferring a mix of both.

As work options expand, the hybrid team will arise. The above-mentioned report also found that onboarding and innovation are two of the biggest challenges to come with this emergence. Providing employees with the knowledge to use collaborative technology tools is key to maintaining productivity. Organizations need to devise a training strategy that can be rolled out to employees both in-office and remotely.

Digital Learning For Hybrid Teams

Some organizations had to catch up quickly to the technology they adopted to accommodate remote work. This required multiple training sessions. The BCG report found that more than 75% of employees feel they are prepared to use remote working tools. However, managers estimated that only 41% of their team is trained to use them. Add to this disconnect the report’s finding that though organizations agree that training programs are necessary, two-thirds of companies spend less than $1,200 per full-time employee on tools and training.

Hybrid teams will be successful when they have the training they need to make the best use of their remote or hybrid work tools. To enable this model, digital learning platforms make training accessible for all employees—whether they are in the office or at home. Organizations can deploy digital learning as a way to ensure their hybrid teams are receiving that training.

Digital learning platforms centralize training content so that it is easy to access, track and share. It also becomes a technology investment that will serve the organization long-term due to its greater flexibility and resilience.

Remote Onboarding Strategies

Being physically distant makes it harder to maintain a work culture. BCG found that 51% of employees felt remote work makes it more difficult to feel like part of a team, and that goes for onboarding new employees in particular. Part of the onboarding process involves both formally and informally conveying the organization’s work culture to the new hire – that’s tougher to do within the less personal venue of a video call.

These challenges can be lessened by using a learning platform with chat and other collaborative features built in. Though leaders are less likely to do the more informal, in-the-moment training that happens in person, leaders can strategically schedule orientation and coaching sessions, as well as more culture-focused events like office drop-ins and virtual coffee breaks to meet co-workers or ask questions.

Making The Learning Investment

Employees want training. A LinkedIn Learning report found 94% of respondents would stay longer at a company if it invested in their learning and development. However, in its Leading in Learning report, Deloitte found that only 1% of an employee’s workweek is spent on learning and development.

Organizations can leverage their learning platform to retain employees in the long term as well as training them in the short term. A modern LMS allows you to keep your in-office and at-home employees in sync and helping each other as they navigate the hybrid workspace. For employee retention, training must be ongoing. Digital learning platforms are ideal for the long-term learner, allowing them to learn consistently and within the flow of work. For organizations to meet business goals and employees to achieve their potential, ongoing learning is essential.

Learning Never Stops

Organizations have so far done a good job of deploying collaborative technologies to help employees transition to remote work. Now, they can use those same technologies to empower the hybrid teams that are emerging. A digital learning platform is an invaluable tool in this process because it enables workers – both old and new – to get the onboarding and training they need to be successful no matter where they're working from.

About The Author

Christopher Rousset is managing director of Americas & VP Global Alliances for LMS365.