Staying Aligned

What are the challenges for L&D teams as organisations emerge from lockdown?

As the Covid-19 lockdown starts to ease, some L&D teams will be required to support colleagues in safely returning to the workplace.

The easing of lockdown will also represent the start of getting back to business for many organisations. That means L&D will need to understand the emerging needs and priorities of the business in order to provide effective support and add real value.

It’s now more important than ever for learning teams to understand stakeholders’ challenges so that they are ready and able to support the business as it gets back on its feet.

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In order to do this, L&D need to start asking questions:

What’s next? What will next week look like? Next month? How will we exit lockdown but still operate with specific rules or guidelines in place, such as social distancing? What will the biggest challenges be? What is the impact on business performance? How does this impact recruitment and onboarding? 

By being in regular contact with senior stakeholders, L&D teams can help design the right solutions for now and into the future. This can be challenging enough to do in ‘normal’ times, but in these unprecedented times, the challenge can be even greater as learning teams find themselves caught up with meeting business critical demands such as getting resources online, planning resources for the return to workplaces and so on.

And then there are the needs of employees, many of whom, according to research carried out by the employee engagement agency Karian and Box, are feeling increased levels of anxiety. Their research of more than 75,000 employees in the UK shows that 42% are feeling anxious as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown and 30% are feeling isolated.

It’s going to be really important that every employee feels they are returning to a supportive and caring environment. How can L&D help to allay fears and make people feel as comfortable and prepared as possible?

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Many employees will have experienced challenging home situations, such as juggling childcare while working or caring for a vulnerable relative, as well as financial worries. Some may even have experienced illness themselves. 

L&D can play a key role here in helping line managers identify and appreciate the different challenges their teams will have and guiding them through how to handle different situations. It might be sensible for managers to have a re-orientation for returning staff, to acknowledge the unique challenges each employee may have and to brief their teams on any processes that may have changed/be changing in light of social distancing.

These are challenging times for learning teams. With so many priorities, it would be easy to get immersed in only responding to immediate challenges. But organisations are likely to have new or different commercial and operating models as a result of the pandemic. This is why L&D teams need to understand the direction of the business and be ready to provide effective support.

And this is why we are running a short survey to find out how learning teams have managed lockdown and the challenges they foresee with the return to workplaces and work. To take part please click here. We will also make sure you receive a copy of the full report.

About the author – Cathy Hoy:

Passionate about finding new opportunities in learning, embracing new technology and innovative approaches to development.

Cathy decided after 16 years working in various senior L&D roles for a number of fantastic companies, to set up her own business. She now helps in-house L&D teams to develop their capability, identify and promote their brand and strategy and help them align more closely to the needs of the business.

Cathy also works with Line Managers and leaders to help them develop and coach their teams to better embed learning into the work flow. Cathy believes in developing people through multiple touch points to create connected learning journeys and to ensure learning has a better chance of embedding.

Cathy is a Fellow of the LPI and also an approved accreditation mentor.

Connect with Cathy on LinkedIn

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