“An empty mind is a devil’s workshop “
This age old saying makes utmost sense specially now in the times of Corona when the entire world is under lockdown. With most of the workforce operating from home, organizations are leaving no stone unturned in emphasizing the importance of self-development and upskilling to utilize this time fruitfully.
Take the case of CEAT which is using Ted Talks and webinars with industry experts to keep employees engaged with continuous learning. For their plant workers for whom working for home is not really an option CEAT’s managers have created improvement projects on which the plant workers will be working till the lockdown gets lifted. Fresh works a software firm in Chennai is hosting online webinars for its employees to keep them engaged and motivated during this difficult time. A few organizations such as Hexaware who have their own LMS are asking employees to utilize this time to pick up new skills in technology, soft skills and leadership through Hexavarsity.
Developing a training strategy to engage and upskill your workforce during this downtime is more of a necessity than a luxury. A few simple things organizations can implement:
- Identify a delivery platform – In case your organization has its own LMS, half the issue is solved since you already have the content and training modules are already in place which the employees can easily access from home. In case you do not have your own LMS you might need to identify online training platforms or vendors that can provide this service, platforms such as Udemy, Upgrad and LinkedIn learning are offering great discounts to individuals and organizations at this time. Alternatively, if your organization has internal trainers’ mediums such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom meetings can be used effectively to impart training remotely.
- Behavioral skills – In addition to functional skills it might also be a good idea for employees to brush on their soft skills such as verbal and written communication in addition to skills such as design thinking, leadership and overall personality development. The most common response to not attending such trainings is the lack of time. What better way to utilize one’s time at home right now!
- Bring on the competition – Healthy competition among employees in terms of the number of trainings completed successfully and the number of skills acquired can aid in engaging them in a positive way. A gamified approach towards allotting points to each training which in turn will lead to the employee earning badges will keep them preoccupied with a purpose along with providing a sense of accomplishment thus nurturing an interest in continuous learning. Employees can also be divided into teams and improvement projects can be allotted to them with their managers as mentors.
- Ideathons – This is the best time to initiate ideathons and innovative thinking contests. The legend says that the last lockdown produced Newton’s concept of calculus, who knows what this lockout can bring forward. In addition, employees can be provided with suggested readings. Webinar sessions with senior leaders speaking on industry topics can also be organized to keep employees engaged and motivated.
Tough times don't last but tough people do. We all are unclear on when things will go back to as they were, continuous learning and upskilling at this time is the best way to keep employees engaged and protected from a sense of isolation that tends to creep in in testing times. Be it self-paced learning , nano videos or webinars the focus should be on ensuring that learning never stops !