Managing a Remote Team During Uncertain Times
Part 2: Promote Learning & Development as an Opportunity
Professional support provided to a remote workforce during uncertain times can take many different forms. Ultimately, the goal is to maintain a degree of normality while simultaneously creating a productive working environment. While there will be natural distractions, worries, and plenty of questions, once all employees are comfortable and safe, the role of the manager is to keep the show on the road.
This article is the second in this series. Last week, we explained how a manager can have an impact on the work-from-home environment of their team members. The third article in this series explains why this is the perfect opportunity to work on your mentoring skills.
Promote Learning & Development as an Opportunity
Uncertainty disrupts work. This disruption forces employees to recalibrate and refocus on previously neglected parts of their role. One of these is often learning & development.
Working from home can provide more opportunity to upskill/reskill, either as a result of a more relaxed environment with less distractions or in some situations, a less hectic schedule.
You should communicate this as an opportunity to your team. It’s a great time for your teammates to learn new skills and work on areas of their position they want to improve. You can promote this opportunity using certain tactics, being prescriptive in what you want your team to achieve and using a formal learning and development tool.
1 Be Tactical
It can be difficult to implement non-essential learning. Often, employees are unlikely to prioritise their training ahead of other more ‘important’ tasks. Using certain tactics can increase buy-in from the team so this work gets done.
Tactics you can use to increase buy-in around learning include:
- Give employees more demanding tasks which require them to learn something new
- Share inspiring stories of people who used learning to accelerate their careers
- Share scientific evidence of how learning can progress their career
What tactics can I use to encourage team members to take this opportunity to learn?
2 Create Learning Pathways
There needs to be an end-result for your learning program, one which is valuable to the learner. One way to do this is through a learning pathway. This is a clear route for learning tailored to the individual’s needs and their goals. The aim here is to plug skills gaps.
Conducting a needs analysis is one way to create a learning path. By understanding what the skills gaps of the employee are along with their goals, you can identify required learning. You’ll then need to structure this learning in a logical way and assign it to your colleague.
Of the individuals in my team, what are the skills gaps of each and how can these skills gaps be plugged?
3 Formalize the process with an L&D tool
The use of a tool lends to the professionalism of the learning and development program along with providing a host of other benefits. For example, an effective learning library will host content created by industry experts, so you can be assured what your team is learning is of a high quality. Effective learning technologies will be malleable to your specific needs so they can be delivered standalone or integrate seamlessly into your existing learning ecosystem.
In order to implement a formal learning tool, you’ll need to work with a learning provider. Deciding on which can be a difficult task.
You’ll need to identify your learning needs. This may require working with the advisory department of a learning company. They can give you the best advice based on experience.
What learning tools can/should I deploy? Who can I speak with to find out more about the implementation of a corporate learning program?
Integrating a learning and development plan to your team isn’t as simple as guiding them toward prescribed learning. Think of logical yet creative ways you can increase buy-in and communicate the value of continuous learning to your team.