Rethinking Business Training in a COVID-19 World
Rethinking Business Training in a COVID-19 World
- 5 tips: Virtual-workforce educator Tamara Schroer offers actionable advice for training newly minted, remote workforces.
- Good news: Current corporate training materials can be easily adapted for online learning today.
- Upside: Streamlined employee education in the virtual classroom could be a competitive edge for traditional companies.
March 24, 2020, DALLAS, TEXAS – To state the obvious: COVID-19 is upending how the world lives, works and learns. To combat it, governments are ordering lockdowns. Restricting social interactions. Mandating businesses, schools to close and go virtual, if possible.
What’s not so obvious—or even doable right now for many companies—is how to send your workers home and then train them in this crisis.
In a digital age, going virtual should be straightforward. Right? Not so much for the uninitiated. Many brick-and-mortar companies remain rooted in old ways of educating workforces. In confined spaces. Seated side by side. For days at a time.
No good these days. That exposes workers and the business.
Question is: How do you convert corporate training, done in facilities that violate social distancing, to online education as millions work from home?
Making Distance Learning Viable – Right Now
It’s not as hard as you think, says Tamara Schroer, vice president of Education and Development at Dallas, Texas-based Working Solutions, a contact center outsourcer that has operated virtually since 1996.
Schroer, a former teacher, has led corporate education on a large scale for more than two decades. She’s developed virtual-classroom sessions for 100,000s of contact center workers—all independent contractors working from home—supporting hundreds of clients.
And she’s done it by converting clients’ in-house curricula into long-distance learning.
Five Tips to Do Distance Learning for Workers at Home
Given the times, Schroer offers these five tips for companies to teach their newly minted, remote workforces:
- Don’t panic – The course material you use today is largely the same in the virtual classroom. You already have the expertise in hand. No need to research or reinvent. What’s required now is adjusting the way you teach it online. So, recalibrate.
- Scale down – Workers have limited attention spans, especially if it’s by-rote, check-the-box training. To adapt, break down lessons into digestible chunks. Bite-sized education, delivered via iPhones or iPads. Packaged short and sweet for remote workforces that have little patience or bandwidth.
- Use gamification – Make lessons entertaining and interactive. Use games to engage your workers. Ones such as Jeopardy!, Bingo and Menti, which delivers quick, online polls. They’re particularly enjoyable and effective. Emulate the world that workers know and love to educate them. You’ll compete better as a business by making lessons easier to learn—and retain.
- Break workers into small groups – No one likes lecture-hall classrooms. Crowds, in fact, crowd learning. Same with online teaching. Small groups are more intimate and attentive. Reach out. Have workers interact and identify with each other as lessons are taught. Structure the instruction to create teams and form bonds—from afar.
- Overcome the distance – With distance learning there are a couple of obstacles right up front. You must bridge both the distance and the subject matter. For instance, you can’t look workers in the eyes and connect in person. You can, however, call out their names: “Hey Joe… Sally, does that make sense?” Being personal makes the lesson more real to them—in real time. And, hopefully, makes it stick, too.
Point is: Digital education shouldn’t be detached. Planned well, peppered with plenty of interaction and empathy, companies can connect and bring the lessons home—to their employees and teams now working from home.
As Schroer says: “Social distancing doesn’t need to disrupt the learning process for businesses.”
She, instead, sees it as a way to streamline staid, maybe even outdated, training. Embrace it as a modernized way to better engage workers, spread out across thousands of miles in scattered locations. Virtual ed, in fact, can be a great unifier.
“It just requires you to make real-world adjustments. In the end, you may end up being more effective and productive, whatever happens—be it the coronavirus or something else.”
About Working Solutions
With 24 years of success, Working Solutions is a recognized leader in onshore, on-demand contact center solutions. Its remote workforce includes sales, customer care and technical experts—with more than 150,000 registered agents in the United States and Canada. They deliver fast-flex business process outsourcing (BPO) services for clients and their customers across diverse industries, such as consumer services, healthcare, retail, travel and hospitality.
Springfield Lewis, Director of Communications
19111 Dallas Parkway #180, Dallas, Texas
Phone: 214 336-3031 (c)*; 972-964-4800 x334 (o).
*Working from home. Cell phone is best.