4 Meaningful Ways To Support Your Company’s Learning Culture During COVID-19
As so many of your employees finally settle into their new work-from-home routine, some of your company’s old learning habits may have to adapt, too.
In a traditional workplace, a lot of learning happens organically in the halls and over lunch—and with employees more distanced from each other these days, you’re probably going to wonder why it seems like employees know less about what’s going on in your company, your product, or their own career development.
Whether your company has a full-fledged learning team in place, or if you’re operating a little leaner these days, here are some simple, yet impactful, ways to make sure your employees are still learning and developing:
1. Bring Back Informal Learning
We used to share interesting tidbits of information with each other over lunch and in the halls at the office—like discussing that cool thing you didn’t realize your product could do or sharing how you made one of your clients happier after they were upset about something. We don’t even think about it. And we definitely don’t think of it as learning–but it is, and it’s very powerful.
Here’s want you can do to bring back informal learning in the virtual environment:
- Encourage teams to have scheduled lunch or social hours with each other and let their natural conversations fall back into the rhythms they used to enjoy. They’ll be sharing interesting tidbits again in no time!
- Empower everyone at your company to create learning videos. Free software, like Quicktime, makes this easy and accessible to everyone. Host a contest for the best, most informative mini video (less than 2-3 minutes) on a variety of topics. Post them on your Namely feed, host them on a private Youtube channel, share them on your messaging platform, or upload them to your LMS.
- Challenge teams to come up with the top 10 most little-known things about a topic to share or turn them into jeopardy games to play at team happy hours.
2. Build Mentorship Opportunities
With less time for socializing and less time in a physical office, your employees’ internal networks may not expand as rapidly as they used to.
Here’s how you can still build mentorship opportunities:
- Create a list of people all new hires should meet with for 15-minute conversations. Include people they’d normally work with, but also people who are at different points in the same career trajectory.
- Encourage managers and other leaders to connect their employees with mentors within the company when they want to learn more about career progress and new opportunities. The mentor will likely get as much out of the arrangement for their own development.
3. Support Self-Guided Learning
Employees should be their own best advocates when it comes to learning in the workplace. But sometimes, employees tend to get stuck in a holding pattern—waiting for a higher up to assign them courses, trainings, or personal development tasks.
Here’s what you can do to support self-guided learning:
- Establish criteria for how and when people can spend their work time exploring learning opportunities.
- Set learning goals during normal goal-setting periods, and ask managers to check-in on progress as regularly as they would on business goals.
- Share your company’s learning resources, like professional development budgets and online learning sites so employees know what’s available to them.
4. The Team That Learns Together…
There are so many unique learning needs across your organization, and it can be overwhelming to try to tackle it all yourself. Ask teams to work together on shared learning goals.
Here’s what you can do to encourage team learning:
- Ask managers to set aside the first 10-15 minutes of their team meetings to delve into a topic that’s interesting to them. Set a rotation of employees to present on a topic that’s related to an upcoming project or emerging trend in their field, watch a short video together on Youtube and have a group discussion, or start a book club.
- Use professional development budgets for memberships to professional organizations for access to articles and webinars that can be discussed together.
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