In the past two years, employers have recognized the various benefits of remote work. As a result, many have begun offering a hybrid workplace, a flexible combination of in-office and remote work environments. A hybrid workplace has many advantages for both the employer and staff, such as flexibility in schedules and autonomy. However, a hybrid environment also presents new engagement and L&D challenges. It's integral for leaders to evolve their programs as L&D continues to play a critical role in retaining employees. According to the SHRM State of L&D in 2022 Report, “76% of employees agree that they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training.”
When creating a successful hybrid learning and development program, there are three key areas to review.
1. Rethink Learning Strategies
“33% of employees find it challenging to stay motivated to complete training." (SHRM) To have a thriving hybrid environment, organizations must understand and acknowledge their employees’ different learning styles. Traditionally, a blended learning approach would benefit staff, allowing them to learn from online learning and face-to-face instruction. However, in a hybrid environment, organizations must enhance blended approaches to accommodate different types of learners. Some organizations have done away with in-person training altogether and opted for the online approach. Consider the following ways to improve engagement when providing online training:
Incorporate interaction and participation in training programs. For example, provide workshops or quiz sessions where staff can collaborate and discuss topics.
Offer individual coaching initiatives. Some individuals may feel more comfortable in one-on-one sessions with a mentor or coach.
Offer microlearning sessions. Consider online learning solutions that are less lengthy and more frequent.
Consider other learning formats. Share blogs, podcasts, and internet resources to attract and train a wide variety of employees.
2. Rethink Leadership Training
An important component of learning and development is how to train your leaders. It has become more challenging for managers to lead staff working remotely and in person simultaneously. Therefore, it is critical to train managers to adjust how they communicate with their teams in a hybrid work environment.
The pandemic has also impacted many people’s mental health, affecting their work performance. A recent study by Oracle found that 76% of the individuals surveyed believe companies should be doing more to support the mental health of their workforce. As a result, manager training should also include how to recognize and provide tools and resources regarding mental health.
3. Rethink Communication
The traditional way of communicating with team members must fundamentally change in hybrid environments. Organizations need to diversify how leaders interact with staff effectively. It may be easy for some team members to express L&D needs in casual conversations when in person, but managers will need to be agile and more intentional in approaching these discussions in a remote setting.
It is imperative that managers find consistent and ongoing opportunities to check in with their team members to discuss their career goals and skill-building needs. Each employee has different needs and communication styles; this will need to be considered when communicating in a hybrid setting.
Don’t look at the L&D program as a massive overhaul; adjust slowly to make an effective change. Remember, employees are also going through an adjustment to this hybrid environment.
If you would like more information on how to adapt your L&D program to the hybrid work setting, contact a member of the Kiwi Partners' HR Services team.