Learning & Development, Talent

Encouraging Employees to Tackle New Skills

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented shift to remote work for companies around the world. This has created plenty of logistical challenges for employers and a strange new reality for many employees.

Ildo Frazao / iStock / Getty Images Plus

While some staff relish the freedom, flexibility, and increased free time remote work offers, many are also starting to feel the increasing weight of social isolation that is amplified by the fact that opportunities for socializing outside of work are also increasingly limited, given the closure and reduced capacity of many traditional entertainment venues.

While the isolation and boredom of employees and new logistical obstacles faced by employers are certainly challenges, they also offer some opportunities for those looking to find some level of positivity from a negative situation.

Specifically, we would suggest that the remote work and lockdown world offer the perfect environment to encourage staff to tackle new skills. Not only are there skills that are in greater demand than before, but employees also often have more time to pursue them.

Honing Key, Evergreen Skills

No matter how well a company does at maintaining a sense of normalcy in the current environment, there’s no denying the changed circumstances. Some skills that are now in greater demand than ever include:

  • Time management
  • Digital and tech proficiency
  • Written communication
  • Cybersecurity
  • Teamwork

Fortunately, there are a wide range of resources available to help employers provide education and information without having to create them themselves.

Leveraging Available Resources

There are many, many resources available to staff for learning these new skills. Some companies develop training programs internally, but there are also plenty of free and low-cost options, as well, including Coursera, Khan Academy, and even YouTube.

While it’s important to ensure that any third-party training offered is aligned with your organization’s mission, vision, values, policies, and procedures, chances are good that you’ll be able to find the tools you need.

Finding the Right Motivation

Some employees might see learning new skills as extra work for the same pay, while others see it as an opportunity to make themselves more valuable employees.

Finding the right motivation is part of the work of any training department, HR group, and management team, but some options include making new skills development part of performance metrics, offering compensation for time spent learning new skills, offering reimbursement for tuition, or simply leading by example.

The logistical, mental, and emotional toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on employers and employees is certainly a challenge. But with any challenge comes opportunities to explore, as well.

With staff facing new challenges and limited traditional outlets for their free time, it may be a great opportunity for them to tackle some new skills to the benefit of employer and employee alike.

Where do you turn for trusted educational resources for your employees?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *