The future of work Christopher SmithSeptember 8, 2021

Training New Employees: 5 Tips for the Post-COVID Era

Training New Employees: 5 Tips for the Post-COVID Era

Training new employees became very challenging in 2020. Companies around the world adopted promote working policies and had to learn to onboard and train employees who were working from home.

Although some companies adapted quite well, especially those that were already fully remote, others have faced steep uphill climbs.

There are lessons to be learned from the challenges faced in 2020 and below, we will look at a few of those, especially as they relate to employee training.

The Benefits of a Hybrid Training Program

The future of work is hybrid – that is, employees will work both remotely and on site. 

Among other things, this means that flextime will become more common, workforces will become more geographically distributed, managers must learn to manage employees both remotely and in the office, and employers must develop hybrid training programs.

There are several points to keep in mind when creating a hybrid training program:

  • Training impacts onboarding. Training begins from the first day of an employee’s tenure with the company. Effective training shortens the employee onboarding timeline, enhances the experience, and improves the employee’s perception of the brand. Ineffective training on the other hand, can lengthen the onboarding experience, frustrate new hires, and decrease engagement.
  • Training must deliver the same outcomes for both onsite and off-site workers. Many organizations are beginning to offer fully or partially remote positions. This means that they need to deliver the same training quality for all segments of the workforce.
  • Employers must have the right tools and provide the right software to employees. In 2020, many companies migrated to the cloud, at least partially. To deliver an effective remote training program, employers must also adopt remote training software, as we will see below. Many are also adopting remote-friendly office equipment, such as teleconferencing devices, which can help maintain a consistent workplace experience.
  • The employee experience should be consistent for everyone. Creating a consistent experience and workplace culture can be a challenge when workforce is divided. Fully remote workers and fully on site workers will naturally feel as though they belong to different groups. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can present challenges when it comes to remote employee management and training.

To accomplish these aims, digital-first strategies are needed. Employers must not only adopt new tools, they must implement new workflows, new strategies, and new ways of thinking. 

Below, we will look at a few ways to do just that.

Training New Employees: 5 Tips for the Post-COVID Era

Here are a few tips for training new employees in the post-COVID “next normal.” 

1. Shorten onboarding time with remote training software

Remote training software enables employees to learn new job skills no matter where they’re working from.

Certain software applications, such as digital adoption platforms, can be used either remotely or onsite. 

These tools are particularly useful in the digital workplace, since they can automate a significant portion of the training process. 

Software walkthroughs, for instance, can significantly accelerate training time and onboarding time.

Training managers and HR staff who use platforms such as these can shorten the onboarding process, improve performance, and increase key employee metrics, among other things.

2. Rethink performance evaluation

Employee training and performance evaluation are two sides of the same coin. 

In an office environment, managers will often oversee employees’ activities directly to ensure that they stay busy. 

That is not usually feasible, however, in a remote workplace.

Instead, it pays to pay attention to quantifiable OKRs and KPIs, since they can measure an employee’s contribution to organizational performance.

Also, and more relevant to this discussion, they can be used to measure the effectiveness of the training program.

3. Teach employees remote working best practices

Another critical point to pay attention to with remote working is that telecommuting requires its own set of best practices.

Full-time remote workers may already be aware of those practices, but new employees without telecommuting experience may not be.

For example, time management, setting boundaries, and remote collaboration can be challenging.

To this end, HR managers, hiring managers, and department managers may want to define and document remote working best practices. Those best practices can then be integrated into the employee training program.

4. Pay closer attention to employees’ wellbeing 

Isolation became an issue for many people during 2020. 

Lockdowns and remote work accentuated feelings of loneliness and isolation, which had an impact on stress levels, employees well being, and, In some cases, their performance on the job.

Building well being into the training can prevent further problems down the line. And while there is no universally accepted way to address well-being, there are several strategies.

Here are a few:

  • Implement an employee assistance program (EAP) and explain it to new hires
  • Discuss the challenges of remote work and provide strategies for overcoming them
  • Implement a corporate wellbeing program

Although wellbeing may seem to be far removed from training, wellbeing can and does impact employee productivity. 

Incorporating tactics such as those covered above can boost employee engagement, employee performance, retention, and more.

5. Use software analytics 

Programs that include software analytics, such as digital adoption platforms, monitor employees, software interactions. The data gathered from those solutions can be used to inform training efforts.For example, by evaluating how employees interact with software, training managers can better understand the digital employee experience, the challenges they face, and their training needs. Through continual evaluation, managers can increasingly improve training programs.

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