It’s been almost a year since the first lockdown was introduced in the United Kingdom. The pandemic has forced many businesses to work remotely, and now some are considering this approach full-time. Still, there are both advantages and disadvantages to remote working. There have been a handful of companies working remotely for years now. One area that has been brought to the forefront of this long debate is how career development for employees has changed. That’s what we’re going to look at.
Though many industries were forced to remotely work at the start of the pandemic, much of them have continued to do so. Research from webhostingprof suggests many businesses and non-profit organizations have shifted their goals to offer remote-based access to resources. Non-profits like Churches have learned the benefits of building a website in order for their audience to access online sermons and get in touch with a wider community.
Online Training Courses
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, workshops and training courses were one of the main ways for employees to gain new skills and progress in their careers. Every employee has a set budget for the year in which they can attend training courses, conferences, or workshops. As face-to-face meetings were stopped, companies had to find alternatives to the usual format.
With an increase of businesses working remotely before, some training providers already offered online training. There have also been training centres that have pivoted to offering online alternatives. One company that offers both to clients is Development Academy, which has training centres in London and Guildford.
Boris Johnson, along with some business executives, claims that remote work isn’t for the future, especially for junior staff. Still, there’s a common belief among workers and business owners that working remotely, even part-time, can be a benefit. It is going to be interesting to see how many businesses choose online training instead of in-person once things return to normal.
Due to not being in an office, HR departments haven’t been able to have the normal 1-to-1 conversations that they’d usually have. This is the case for new and existing employees. This has meant that more regular feedback has been necessary.
Feedback isn’t only important for the career progression of the employee, but also employee retention rates. The Office for National Statistics in the first half of 2020 saw a year-on-year rise in persons switching companies. It went from 5.7% to 6.1% during this period. Although it’s only 0.4% of a difference, it wasn’t expected that more people would want to change jobs in a time of insecurity.
This is why regular feedback has become so important. The pandemic has changed people’s outlook on life, and career plays a big part in this. Employee talks with line managers and HR need to happen frequently so that all parties remain aligned. Hearing about employees’ aspirations and concerns is important, so act sooner rather than later.
It doesn’t matter if your business can run remotely or not, keeping employees motivated and hungry-to-learn needs to be built into a company. And, this should start from the top, with the founder(s) or C-level management. If it’s the leaders of the business giving training, then this mentality will spread down naturally to employees.
Managers should find an hour per fortnight, or month to help people advance further in their roles. It doesn’t have to come from managers though. If someone feels like sharing the results of a project, this can help others to expand their remit. Also, people learn more about what that individual or team does, and how they can potentially collaborate in the future. This leads us to the next paragraph about internal training.
Depending on the size of the company, internal training can be a great way to help employees’ progress further. It also helps employees learn more about other areas of the business. This may even lead to them assisting a few hours a week on a project or even completely changing their career path.
Studies have shown that peer-to-peer learning is one of the best ways to absorb new knowledge. When working in remote teams (if they’re small), online meetings can be a great way to share knowledge. Having the ability to present your screen to others makes it easier to give a live step-by-step guide on many areas of a business.
Getting employees to set up internal training sessions also helps to improve leadership skills. As most work fits into the category of business-as-usual, employees must schedule multiple meetings over a longer period. This ensures that these training sessions are ongoing and not just one-off. Internal training is especially important for junior employees. But, it’s also a good way for colleagues to create better relationships, even without meeting in person.