The in-office culture was almost going to drown due to the wild tides of the pandemic. Bringing remote workers back to the office was a cumbersome task for several companies. The wave of The Great Resignation swamped a few businesses. Employees preferred quitting rather than giving up work from home.
As per research, 31% of Americans, 22% of Latin Americans, 15% of Europeans, 21% of Australians, and 16% of Asians want to work from home five days a week or more.
Permanent remote work wasn’t a feasible option for many companies. Hence, most of them took the smart route of hybrid working to keep the best employees from walking out of the door.
What is a hybrid work model?
The way water is formed by mixing hydrogen and oxygen; similarly, the hybrid work model is formed by mixing in-office and offsite working. The right balance of these two models can lead to a happy and healthy working environment. The hybrid work model offers more flexibility, allowing employees to split their time between working in the office and remotely. For instance, employees can work three days a week from office and three days from home or their preferred cafe/location.
Importance of upskilling and reskilling in a hybrid work model
A hybrid model offers work-life balance and convenience. However, that’s not enough to survive and thrive in the competitive business world. Companies are providing continuous learning opportunities to the employees to amplify performance while working in a hybrid model and surpass the competitors. Great performance/service can lead to more loyal customers and positively contribute to the company’s revenue growth. Hence it is crucial to strengthen the hybrid workforce capabilities by providing timely upskilling and reskilling to capitalize on every opportunity that comes their way and adapt to the changing ways of interaction.
With digital acceleration, evolution in various industries, and the development of new roles post-covid, the skill gaps have broadened. Skills are changing at a very fast pace. Skills that are relevant today will become obsolete tomorrow. Moreover, skills that are relevant in the physical world might be irrelevant in the remote world. The hybrid workforce is encountering unparalleled challenges due to the lack of trending skills.
A continuous skill development culture is crucial to prepare the hybrid workforce to become future-ready for confidently responding to the changing business environment. Real-time skilling will help expand the skill set and make the hybrid workforce more agile to address these challenges without much hassle. Skill development isn’t something that is done and ticked; it is a continuous process. Hence the training needs to be planned and structured by the L&D team to manage it successfully in hybrid work culture.
Challenges of Training in Hybrid work model
Training a hybrid workforce is surely challenging, with the employees physically present for some days and virtually connected for the rest of the week.
Let’s take a closer look at the hurdles on the path of training in a hybrid work model-
1. Lack of consistency in learning requirements and experience
In a hybrid work model, employees work from different locations for half of the week. They need a varied set of skills like digital skills, communication skills, relationship management skills, etc. Moreover, it isn’t easy to cater to changing learning requirements. The learning delivery mode needs to change continuously as the employees toggle between virtual and physical work environments.
In addition to being consistent for one employee working from different locations, the learning experience should also be consistent for multiple employees located in different regions but accessing it simultaneously.
A lack of a consistent learning experience results in a poor adoption rate which further leads to skill shortage and unsatisfactory performance. Hence it is important to understand the learning needs and have a platform that provides a content experience regardless of whether the employees work from home or the office.
2. Lack of employee engagement
Ensuring employee engagement during training and development sessions has always been challenging. Moreover, to add to it, a hybrid work model doesn’t make it any easier. Sadly, most L&D are still clinging to the outdated training methods that fail to engage the employees. Traditional training methods do not fit into the modern hybrid learning space. L&D needs to rethink its training strategies and content delivery approach to drive engagement and success of the learning programs.
3. Lack of insight into learning progress
Are employees learning while they are working remotely? How do we ensure constant skill progress for employees working remote & in-office?
Well, most L&D teams are unable to answer this question as they do not have visibility into the learning metrics. Several companies embraced the hybrid culture for the first time. Most of the trainers/L&D professionals haven’t trained a hybrid workforce before. Hence it is crucial to draft learning plans after having a proper understanding of employees’ current skills and mapping it to the expected skill level. Moreover, measuring the effectiveness of L&D programs and monitoring the learning progress of employees is essential to take real-time actions.
The role of on-the-job training in a hybrid workplace
While employees are away from the office for half the week, they need just-in-time training to handle various unforeseen situations without dependency. Moreover, it is crucial to provide the same learning experience throughout the organization, from onboarding for acquiring the product knowledge to skill development for handling the various client-facing situations. All the employees should be on the same page and speak the same language while communicating with the clients. Hence everyone should be updated with the same information and receive training to develop the most relevant skills at all times. This is only possible by having a unified learning platform where information and skills are passed on continuously, in the flow of work.
Moreover, with the current advancement in technologies, customers expect on-demand service. To meet their expectations, employees need training or job-related assistance at the moment of need. Hence, blending on-the-job training with hybrid working is the need of the hour. Moreover, using the 70:20:10 model can help amplify the hybrid on-the-job training.
70% of employees’ learning happens through on-the-job experience – This learning is often self-directed and experiential. So whether they are working from home or office, with on-the-job training using the right learning platform, employees will have access to learning material at all times. So they can learn and get a hands-on experience by practicing what they’ve learned. Moreover, they can explore the areas of their interest and sharpen their skill set to keep pace with the changing market trends.
20% through interaction with co-workers – While in the office, they can interact with their colleagues and observe the best performer. Understand how they tackle difficult situations. For instance, one of the teammates has great negotiation skills. So through job shadowing, the employee can follow and learn some negotiation techniques. While working from home or even at a job, employees can collaborate through social platforms and learn from each other. Social learning is a great platform to share knowledge and learn from each other.
10% from formal training – 10% is structured on-the-job training where a learning pathway is defined by the L&D professional or trainer, and the employees need to follow it. The best part of using a learning platform for on-the-job training is that learning never stops regardless of where the hybrid workforce is. Employees can enroll in courses at work or at home to hone their skills to deliver quality work and better performance.
Benefits of infusing on-the-job training in a hybrid work culture
Offering on-the-job training in a blended work environment might appear challenging. However, with the right techniques, strategies, and tools, it is possible to merge the two and amplify learning experiences.
Here are the benefits of infusing on-the-job training into a hybrid work culture.
1. Tackle shortcomings in real-time
A digital marketing executive is good at identifying the latest trends and insights but fails to drive traffic to the website. A financial analyst might prove his excellence in developing financial models and providing financial forecasts but faces challenges in creating reports. Every employee has some or the other shortcoming. So, there must be a mechanism to identify/assess where each employee lacks, to address their unique skill gaps differently.
On-the-job training plays a pivotal role in tackling these shortcomings in real-time, irrespective of where they are working from. On-demand training can help fill the performance gaps and upskill employees to manage their day-to-day tasks efficiently.
2. Increase employee productivity
In this digital-first world, companies have invested in multiple technologies to support various departments in delivering faster outputs and providing utmost client satisfaction. Timely dissemination of knowledge and skills is required to enable employees to make the most of the new technologies to ensure the best ROI. The right training boosts productivity and enables employees to adopt better ways to achieve their goals in a minimum time.
3. Create a culture of continuous learning
On-the-job training helps create a culture of continuous learning for a hybrid workforce. It is a smart way to integrate learning into the flow of work. Giving employees opportunities to grow within the company with real-time access to upskilling programs helps improve retention. A continuous adaptive and proactive learning environment sets a positive tone. It shows that the organization is interested in the employees’ growth. The employee feels valued and reciprocates with more efforts to achieve the business’s goals.
Strategies for providing on-the-job training in hybrid work culture
Below are a few strategies for providing on-the-job training in hybrid work culture.
1. Gamification – Get more interactive
In most virtual learning sessions, the employees are either yawning or scrolling through their Instagram feed with their cameras turned off. A strong stimulus is essential to rekindle the vital spark of attentive learning. Gamification is a great technique to make on-the-job training successful in a hybrid work atmosphere.
Whether it is compliance training or a live session on new products or technology updates, Gamification has the power to attract and hold the interest of a hybrid workforce. For instance, Disprz, a complete skilling suite’s Gameinar, enables L&D to make the learning sessions interactive and engaging with its wide gamut of features like a roulette wheel, breakout room, text wall, and sticky notes. Whether the employees are working from home or office, they can connect on the gameinar platform; it is an effective way to bring the distributed workforce on a single platform. Besides, the L&D can take real-time feedback to improve on-the-job training through quizzes and polls.
Moreover, its leaderboards feature strikes healthy competition in a hybrid work environment and motivates employees to enroll and complete maximum courses to achieve more points and badges. Displaying the achievement to others is a great incentive that encourages higher enrolment and completion rates.
2. Blended learning – Combine classroom and online training
Organizations have merged virtual and physical working to offer more convenience through a hybrid work model. Why don’t we apply the same strategy while facilitating corporate learning? Blending classroom and online learning can help balance on-the-job training in a hybrid atmosphere.
For instance, before commencing the classroom sessions, the L&D team can share the necessary resources or outline through a digital learning platform along with the invitation for the session. The employees will have a clear picture of what they will be learning in the classroom sessions. Moreover, post the classroom session, the L&D can send a quiz to understand how much information the employees have aborted from the learning sessions. They can even share documents and presentation decks that employees can refer to in their time of need.
3. Drip journey – Create a learning path by merging various learning formats
Employees get overwhelmed when they are overloaded with information that’s not streamlined. For instance, a sales rep is provided resources on various products, sales scripts, latest policies, updated government norms, new technologies, etc. He is clueless about what to pick first and how to complete everything on his plate, along with managing his routine work.
Employees need a clear direction while working in a hybrid environment, or they will wander in the wilderness like a lost sheep. A drip journey is an effective strategy for offering continuous on-the-job training in a hybrid workplace. The L&D head or trainer can create a systematic learning pathway by scheduling specific courses on specific days. For instance, an L&D head can create a four-days learning pathway for a sales representative.
- First day – Blog on how to manage a sales cycle
- Second day – Flashcard on new product updates
- Third day – Webinar on how to manage reluctant buyers
- Fourth day – Video on various use cases to close a deal
This was just an example; the drip journey can be 15 to 30 days long as per the learning requirement, and more than one task can be added in a day. So employees will have clarity on what they have to learn each day. Regardless of their location, they can easily enroll, complete their daily courses and learn on the job seamlessly. The drip journey can also be used to onboard the new hires. So, a 30-60-90 day onboarding drip journey can be created to get the new employee up-to-speed quickly and amplify time to productivity.
4. Social learning – Create a space for collaborative learning
Either through a tap on the shoulder or while swinging by someone’s desk, knowledge is shared frequently at the workplace. There is always a learning opportunity in such socializing moments, which the employees miss out on while working remotely for half of the week.
Creating a collaborative space where employees can learn from each other is imperative to ensure on-the-job training in a hybrid workspace. Social learning opens the door to communication. Through a social wall on a learning platform, employees can share relevant resources, brainstorm new ideas, address various queries, share achievements and contribute to each other’s knowledge growth.
5. Micro learning – Capture attention with knowledge nuggets
Working in a hybrid model has its own set of challenges. One of the most pressing issues is lack of time. However, microlearning gives an opportunity to provide on-demand learning in a busy work environment.
Most learning platforms offer mobile learning solutions that can be leveraged for sharing knowledge nuggets. The bite-sized content has the magnetic potential to attract learners. Moreover, presenting it in a compelling flashcard on mobile can increase the engagement rate. The versatility of microlearning captures interest. Developing precise content based on use cases can help deliver an immersive learning experience to the hybrid workforce. Microlearning supports the workforce in the hour of need. They can instantly learn and apply what they’ve learned to work. Moreover, microlearning can be used to provide a summary of a long training session or even share a synopsis for the upcoming session.
6. Role-based skilling – Identify and benchmark skills for each role
In a traditional organizational structure, businesses would focus on hiring “Skilled” professionals, put them in a role, and assume they would deliver optimum performance using their expertise and experience.
In today’s hybrid work environment, assumptions lead to disastrous outcomes. In the era of fast-changing skills, companies cannot rely on the skills highlighted in a resume to enter an organization. It is important to react quickly and keep an eye on the changing skills. Each role is different; hence identifying and benchmarking the trending skills for each role is crucial. A powerful skilling solution like Disprz enables L&D to identify and drive the skills they should focus on for boosting performance and reaching organizational goals.
7. Personalized learning – Leverage AI to customize training based on different skill level
Personalization is the key to making on-job training successful in a hybrid work environment. Burnout is one of the emerging issues in hybrid work culture. Employees feel stuck in the same position without any sign of growth. Providing learning that doesn’t align with individual aspiration lead to more anxiety. Hence assessing employee skill gaps and understanding their learning requirement and aspirations is essential to driving a personalized learning experience in hybrid work culture. AI-powered tools like LXP can help create a personalized journey for the hybrid workforce. Based on the skills and interests of the employees, the AI recommends the latest and most relevant content to the employee to constantly learn and advance in their careers.
Best practices for on-the-job training in a hybrid work environment
Below are the best practices for driving effective on-the-jo training in a hybrid work environment.
1. Align learning with current skills
Drive learning plans based on the skills the employee currently needs. The skills needed by the remote employee would differ from what an in-office employee will need. Hence assess the skills needed while working remotely and in-office. Ensure that the learning journey is aligned to make on-the-job training successful in a hybrid work environment.
2. Plan and manage content curation
Content is an integral part of enterprise learning. Without great content, on-the-job training might fail and lead to wastage of time, money, and resources. Hence planning the content curation process is important.
Here are a few steps to follow for planning and managing content curation.
- Conduct need analysis for determining the content requirement.
- Map out the content curation journey.
- Search and collect content from various resources.
- Follow industry leaders, bloggers, podcasters, online media sites, etc.
- Filter the relevant pieces for each learner.
- Streamline curated data based on the timeline.
- Enrich the curated content by adding tags, comments, or explanatory notes.
3. Give leadership training equal importance
On-the-job training in the past had both leaders and employees on the same premises, making it easy for the leaders to monitor employees’ progress and address their pain points. However, this is not the case while they work remotely. Hence, leadership development is critical to ensure leaders have the right skills to support the distributed team. Identify the skills needed for hybrid leadership transformation and develop courses to empower the leader to manage a distributed team.
4. Bring managers into the flow of learning
Manger’s involvement is pivotal for making an on-the-job training initiative successful. Before embarking on the skilling journey, it is important to identify an employee’s proficiency level. Both manager and the employee need to provide a rating to determine the proficiency level for a particular skill. For instance, the manager rates an employee 6 for problem-solving skills, and in self-assessment, the employee also rates himself 6, then the skill score would be 6 for that specific skill. Based on the skill score, the skilling journey can be planned. Moreover, the manager must consider providing constant feedback to highlight the areas of improvement and help employees understand where they need to put in the extra effort.
5. Track the metrics and provide certification to motivate employees
Clear visibility into in-office and offsite learning metrics can help determine whether on-the-job training translates into workplace performance. Amassing learning metrics can help review and refine the on-the-job training to make it more effective. Moreover, it enables the learning and development professionals to determine which employee is putting sincere efforts into moving ahead of the career ladder and which employee needs attention to lead them on the right pathway of growth. Through certification, L&D can acknowledge the effort of the top learners and motivate them to take the next leap.
On-the-job training helps create seamlessness in a hybrid work environment. However, it is crucial to back it up with the right technology. A modern skilling suite can help drive impactful learning experiences in a hybrid workplace.
Disprz LXP skilling suite provides the perfect platform that empowers companies to make available a host of digital content, in-house content, and micro-gigs to make skilling all the more holistic in a hybrid workplace. Through periodic assessments and feedback, managers can assess current skill levels and guide the employees on the right path. Features that surge adoption like leaderboard, social learning, and nuggets that support multi-lingual learning makes Disprz more than just a learning app – a collaboration, engagement, and business-led skilling tool.