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Workplaces and learning will change after COVID-19, so adapt now and thrive later

If you don’t change now, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get left behind in a post-COVID-19 world. There’s already been a shift in company cultures, how we learn and the ways we connect—and it could all shape whatever this ‘new normal’ is.

There are plenty of changes you can make now, and leading HR and learning professionals talked us through some of them at HowNow’s latest I got 99 problems but HR ain’t one event.

Adopt an ‘apply-first’ approach to learning and development

If you’re unfamiliar with The 5 Moments of Need model, you should definitely watch Bob Mosher’s presentation. But don’t get too attached to it, because this approach needs to change. Typically, there has been a presumption that people want to learn new and more things, and assets are created that help them change and solve problems as they apply them in the workflow.

COVID-19 has flipped this idea on its head, with everyone in the workflow, trying to apply, and dealing with the change and solve stages every day. Plus, we’re in a moment of receptiveness, one that we should all capitalise on as an opportunity to drive change.

So, how exactly can you do this? Firstly, resist the urge to create more training assets, and start with understanding what your people need in order to learn today. Bob suggests that you analyse what the new workflows are, what tasks people perform in them every day and which skills are most critical to this. Then, assess which assets are available to support this and act accordingly.

Support workforces for the future of work, today

Brandon Carson spoke about the 10 skills needed to develop, upskill and reskill workforces, in his talk on Reimagining Corporate L&D in the Digital Age. Some of them resonate even more during the COVID-19 climate, such as people management, coordinating with others, and cognitive flexibility.

The challenge is that moving too slowly in developing these skills could damage our businesses while driving change too quickly means we risk confusion and chaos among the workforce. You can watch the full recording for Brandon’s insights, in which he spoke about reorienting L&D as a component of this change.

Again, we come back to the idea of resisting your urge to create more content—instead, leverage technology to uncover your existing resources. Brandon also highlighted the need to develop a learning ecology that aligns with corporate values and how people do their job, something that can be helped by choosing the right learning technology. You need a learning platform that’s reliable, effective and scalable while enabling teams to focus on the areas that have the most impact.

Care about your learning analytics

Do you know how well your people are learning? And how well they’re applying that in the workflow? If you answered no, but you’re not measuring your learning, then you should start applying this today! Learning analytics are vital in making informed decisions, allocating resources more effectively and understanding how useful your assets are.

The fact that everyone has moved online makes this more important than ever, as Dr. Stella Lee explains, and it’s made easier by the maturity of technology and availability of analytics on learning platforms. Both now and in a post-COVID learning landscape, people need to learn new skills quickly, and managers will need to justify costs and expenditure needed for this. These are tasks supported by data, and you just can’t argue with data.

Start asking good questions

We’re not saying you ask bad questions, but perhaps we don’t ask good questions often enough. If you think about, the questions you ask can shape the culture of your business and what it can achieve.

So, what if we all stopped looking for what’s going wrong and started asking what we’re doing well? The likelihood is that we’d create more of that, it’s why Caroline Gosling chose to speak on why we live in the world our questions create.

This is a tip that applies to every person in a company. Leaders are often shielded from the information they probably need to know, so it’s up to them to ask the right questions to unlock it. It’s another way of breaking down the perception that leaders have all the answers, and move towards a two-way dialogue.

There is often a reluctance to ask questions, as Caroline explains, but in our current situation, it’s an amazing way to build connections, drive innovation and shape our organisations. By asking positive and open-ended questions, you can unpick some of the damaging ways we’ve worked in the past.

Challenge your mindset

Emma Leonis was talking specifically about HR, but if you don’t think you can apply this advice to your role, maybe you’re most in need of a mindset makeover! It could be holding you back.

The world of work is arguably going to change forever, and by adopting the right mindset, you can become a catalyst for this change. Now is the time to be bold, to step out of your comfort zone and start asking yourself some hard questions (good ones, of course).

How do you respond when you’re challenged? How often do you ask for permission compared to leading the way? Watch Emma’s video, it might be the nudge you need to become a more curious, positive and change-driving employee or leader.

It would have been a little self-indulgent to talk about why learning platforms might be more important in a post-COVID world, so we’ll just nod to it here. If you’re ready to make a learning change towards an intelligent platform, you can trial HowNow for free today.

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