How to use collaborative technology to drive development in the hybrid worldby
All of us received a crash course in online learning facilitation over the past year and a half, but now that hybrid working is a firm fixture, how can we improve on what we’ve learned and offer solutions that enhance the learning experience?
We’ve all had to adapt over the last 18 months – overnight our established ways of working, running meetings and delivering training were upended. As we begin to understand what the new world will look like, ‘hybrid working’ seems to be the term on people’s lips. With this comes a new host of challenges – and whilst the IT team might need to set up new technology, it’s L&D and HR leaders who will be on the front line and setting the tone.
Integrated technology is key to a successful interactive hybrid culture, and it plays a significant role in ensuring employees are engaged, especially during training.
The biggest challenge is getting the right technology for your organisation – and upskilling everyone to be able to fully participate in this hybrid world. Getting this right will transform technology from a business process to the cornerstone of your employee engagement strategy.
When employees were told to work from home in March 2020, few anticipated it lasting more than a month – the virtual world was seen as a stopgap, a way of ‘getting by’. Almost everyone in business seems to have a horror story from those early days – a meeting where no one could hear them speak, people unable to share documents on a video conference, no one knowing where the ‘mute’ button was.
As everyone has become more adept at running meetings or delivering training online, it’s time to evaluate how we can take this forward into new hybrid ways of working to ensure it’s inclusive, engaging and seamless.
The power of interactive learning
One business function that many have yet to master in the virtual world is learning and development. It’s much easier in the virtual world for employees to join a session, but not be truly present – and it’s much harder for facilitators to keep peoples’ attention.
Investing in your workforce, especially during this pandemic is business critical. Not only will it demonstrate how valued employees are, but companies cannot expect team members just to know how to use this new technology or how to interact with colleagues without learning.
Often, much of the value from learning and development comes from interaction – hearing how colleagues from other (hybrid) offices experience things, see issues and solve problems. This element of L&D is lost if online learning becomes about simply following training videos.
Enhance engagement through technology
In a world where we cannot walk to someone’s desk to show them how to use technology, organisations will need to make sure they accommodate those who will be in person and remotely.
There are aspects that we can incorporate to enhance engagement. Chat capabilities, silent questions, whiteboarding, quizzes and content sharing can all be in-built into a platform to heighten engagement. Breakout rooms are now common across many platforms but video conferencing alone offers little to no additional tools to engage people. When talking about hybrid training, we don’t just mean the way in which people attend their lessons. We are also thinking beyond what they do when in that classroom environment, whether digitally or physically. It is essential, therefore, to look for solutions that offer high quality seamless interaction between learners.
The benefits of collaborative technology
Integrated technology is key to a successful interactive hybrid culture, and it plays a significant role in ensuring employees are engaged, especially during training. It also offers an opportunity for groups to collaborate and share their work on the main display for learning and discussion, promote reflective learning and work within an interactive huddle space. Simply setting up an online meeting tool and PowerPoint will no longer be the answer. Organisations must consider how they can support their teams technologically and mentally, as well as offering flexibility.
After over a year’s worth of virtual meetings, people are going to need something more interactive to keep them engaged. Investment in technology often falls short of expectations because the talent is not equipped to leverage the new tools or ways of working across the organisation.
The future of hybrid training and learning
The way employers have treated their people over the last year and a half will determine the course of their future. It’s become compulsory for organisations to invest in their employees, and those that don’t will fall behind and lose productivity.
Creating a training and learning culture that genuinely encourages development and engagement demands more proactive effort in the hybrid working world than it did in the old office environment. Choosing the right technology will encourage employees to participate in L&D and make sure they future proof not only their careers, but also your organisation. This will also optimise employee retention, interactivity and engagement. Organisations that are committed to developing a vibrant, supportive environment need to personally lead the charge in building a culture that values these qualities.
Interested in this topic? Read Redesigning L&D for the new hybrid world of work.