The spring of 2020 saw an unprecedented shift in the way we work. With little warning, COVID-19 emptied offices in just a few weeks, leaving 19% of the U.S. labor force jobless and forcing 35% of workers to adopt remote work.
Businesses rapidly began updating policies, adopting new technologies, and rebuilding operational infrastructure to stabilize and outlast the pandemic. Before long, though, it became clear that the impact of COVID-19 would not be temporary: 55% of employers expect that most of their workforce will continue working remotely, even after the virus ceases to be a concern.
Now, organizations must build long-term solutions to remain viable. One of the most pressing challenges is to develop remote solutions for workplace learning, a driver of talent recruitment and retention, strong company culture, and employee performance.
We’ve rounded up the highest-quality resources to provide data, strategies, and unique perspectives about workplace learning post-COVID-19. Check them out to get a better understanding of the current L&D landscape and gain insight into designing and deploying successful workplace learning programs in a remote environment.
Understand the L&D Response to COVID-19
L&D professionals are at the forefront of the corporate response to COVID-19. This year, entire workforces faced new processes and tools for remote work, and L&D became responsible for facilitating that change.
Use these articles to gain a high-level overview of the L&D’s new, crucial role:
- Training and Development in a Post-COVID-19 Workplace (Training Industry): L&D faces an unprecedented challenge with COVID-19, but the industry is no stranger to change. This article details the history of L&D, including strategies and technologies used over the past century, to provide context for what comes next.
- 5 Reasons Learning is Essential During a Downturn – Perspectives From a Learning Tech CRO (Docebo): COVID-19 should not put workplace learning in jeopardy; in fact, learning is central to success in dire times. This article posits five core benefits of workplace learning that shouldn’t be overlooked.
- Learning & Development: Covid-19 Pushes It From The Back Room Into The Spotlight (Forbes): Grant Freeland, a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group, explains why L&D should have always been a priority, and why it must be one now.
- Learning and development during COVID-19 (TEK Systems): TEK Systems is a prover of full-stack technology solutions for over 80% of Fortune 500 companies. In this Q&A, two of the organization’s learning solutions experts discuss how businesses can and should invest in L&D during COVID-19.
- To emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now (McKinsey): Reskilling, along with upskilling, are L&D methodologies to close skill gaps that detract from employee development and performance. This article explains why the emergence of COVID-19 accelerated the urgent need to reskill employees.
Switch to Remote Workplace Learning Without Sacrificing Outcomes
The remote environment calls for a radical rethinking of workplace learning to engage your employees and drive learning objectives.
Put simply, copying and pasting existing training modules into an LMS isn’t going to cut it. Check out these articles to develop a smoother, more effective transition to remote workplace learning:
- Keep Your People Learning When You Go Virtual (HBR): There are two major categories of learning: cognitive and socio-emotional. This article explains why now, more than ever, socio-emotional methods must be at the forefront of workplace learning.
- Adapting workplace learning in the time of coronavirus (McKinsey): This article offers high-level strategies and actionable tactics to adapt existing workplace learning models into a remote environment without missing a beat.
- How to Build a Simple Digital Learning Strategy that Works (SAP Litmos): Building remote-friendly learning programs is a significant undertaking, especially for companies that lacked digital readiness when COVID-19 emerged. In seven guiding rules, this article lays out how anyone can create a functional digital learning program.
- Where Online Learning Goes Next (HBR): For many, gaining necessary workplace skills begins before entering the full-time labor force: in university. This article explains the new role higher education plays in preparing a remote-ready population. (For more on remote classroom learning post-COVID-19, check out The Ultimate Roundup of Instructional Resources for Collaborative Remote Learning.)
Support Employees—All Employees—During Crisis
While businesses scramble to adapt to the new normal, their employees struggle to do the same. Remote work during COVID-19 is challenging for a number of unique reasons, and workplace learning can play a crucial role in people support and management.
Use these article to get perspectives on how you can support your team—including particularly vulnerable groups—while remote:
- 4 Ways to Continue Employee Development When Budgets Are Cut (Gallup): Employee development is central to maintaining business health and satisfied, productive team members, but for many organizations, COVID-19 scaled back L&D budgets. This article outlines four low-cost strategies to strengthen workplace learning and employee development.
- Why the Crisis Is Putting Companies at Risk of Losing Female Talent (HBR): The impact of COVID-19 was felt worldwide, but it changed the lives of some more than others. This article provides a research-driven investigation of the lopsided impact of remote work on women and recommends strategies leaders can implement to support the women on their teams.
- Working from Home While Black (HBR): There is an undeniable, well-documented difference between how Black and non-Black employees experience professional environments. This article explains why remote workplaces are no different, especially considering COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Black communities, and provides strategies to support Black employees.
- Your organization is grieving—here’s how you can help (McKinsey): Many business leaders are doing what they can to help support their teams until things go “back to normal” to cope with the trauma of a pandemic. This article explains why framing the impact of COVID-19 as temporary could be doing more harm than good and offers strategies for more sustainable support.
- How To ‘Build Back Better’ after COVID-19 (Rotman Management Magazine): To support the global workforce, the current priority is to develop solutions that hold up in the wake of COVID-19. According to this article, the long-term solution includes not just picking up the pieces but also rebuilding them to be more resilient against future catastrophe.
Onboard New Hires Remotely
Moving existing employees online is one thing, but getting new hire up to speed entirely behind a screen is another altogether.
Check out these resources to learn how to design and institute an onboarding process using remote training to give new employees an effective, enjoyable start to new jobs:
- How Increased Remote Work Is Changing eLearning For Employee Onboarding (eLearning Industry): The way we work has fundamentally changed, and the way we onboard employees must follow suit. This article lists five fundamental qualities to ensure that eLearning programs contribute to successful onboarding outcomes.
- How Remote Work Changes What We Think About Onboarding (Harvard Business School Working Knowledge): Remote onboarding requires a reimagining of both the logistical and the social aspects of training new hires. This article evaluates both the materials and the relationships leveraged during onboarding, explaining how to adapt them to remote environments.
- How We Built an Engaging Onboarding Process (and How You Can Too) (Eduflow): Strong onboarding processes can make employees 18 times more likely to feel a sense of commitment toward their job and company. In this article, we’ll share our very own interactive onboarding process and how it helps foster a happy, engaged team.
- 6 Steps to a Great Remote Onboarding Process - and What to Avoid (360Learning): Set-it-and-forget-it onboarding programs weren’t cutting it before, but now they’re downright disastrous. Based on a recent webinar, this article offers six actionable best practices and three pitfalls to keep in mind when developing an agile, collaborative, and effective remote onboarding program.
- How WhatsApp Onboards New Hires Remotely (360Learning): WhatsApp is an online messaging platform used daily by a billion people across the globe. This article contains and discusses an interview with their global onboarding manager, Paul Cabrera, about how the company has rebuilt their onboarding process for remote employees: “Industry-wide, no one’s done this in a remote environment before. There’s no playbook.”
- Onboarding During COVID-19 (plus checklist!) (The Management Center): In this article, you’ll find a 30-item checklist to guide you through every step of remote onboarding, from making an offer to conducting annual reviews.
- 8 Employee Onboarding Checklists That Will Improve New Hire Experience (Eduflow): Onboarding is most effective if it addresses each employee’s unique needs and concerns; in other words, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. This article contains eight onboarding checklists, geared toward a variety of roles and scenarios, to help you create relavent onboarding programs for each new hire.
- 5 Tips for Onboarding Remotely (Taplytics): For many organizations, the abrupt shift to remote doesn’t leave enough time to build a new onboarding program optimized for remote work. This article outlines five high-level tips to ease the transition from in-person to remote onboarding without requiring a head-to-toe redesign.
- How InVision Makes Onboarding Remote Employees Easy With Trello (Trello): Onboarding is a complex, extensive process, and clarity for new hires is an invaluable asset. This case study explains how InVision uses Trello, a web-based list-making application, to organize the process of getting new hires up to speed remotely.
Strengthen a Culture of Workplace Learning While Remote
Developing a great learning program is an important piece of the puzzle, but it is meaningless without employee buy-in.
Explore these resources to gain insight into the importance of developing a culture of collaborative workplace learning and understand how to encourage employee engagement:
- Making Learning a Part of Everyday Work (HBR): Multiple factors, including the rapid evolution of automation technology, have thrust human skills into the spotlight. This article explains why workplace learning is what makes successful, healthy teams, and it provides tactics to bake learning into your culture.
- Why You Need a New Approach to Learning (BCG): Without any warning, COVID-19 fast-forwarded corporate processes and needs years into a digital future, and developing a culture of workplace learning is how to catch up. Aimed at L&D leaders, this article explains the urgent need for a top-to-bottom overhaul of how we think of workplace learning, including strategies to build a corporate culture around this pressing need.
- Collaborative Learning Will Be Critical in the New Normal (Learning Solutions): The shift to remote work has accelerated the need for new alternatives to traditional instructor-led training. This article discusses collaborative learning, one of the most promising alternatives, and offers remote-friendly tactics to achieve strong workplace learning cultures among peers.
- The Power of Collaborative Learning: More Important Than Ever (Josh Bersin): Josh Bersin is an L&D leader and analyst with a unique perspective on the past, present, and future of the industry. In this article, he provides a history of collaborative learning and offers suggestions for collaborative learning platforms and best practices.
Know of More Remote Workplace Learning Resources to Add? Let Us Know.
COVID-19 was the catalyst for the global shift to a remote environment, and changes to the way we work and learn are here to stay. Strong learning cultures have always driven employee satisfaction and played a leading role in a business’s health and longevity, but the new remote environment makes workplace learning an even more urgent priority.
This list is ongoing. Let us know if you have any related resources and we’ll add them to the roundup to provide readers with the best of the best about remote workplace learning.