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Here in the UK, we’re finally seeing light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel. However, the world has changed, so your training plans may need to evolve to keep in step with a new era.

With society gradually beginning to reopen over the next few months, your mind may have turned to your staff training and development programmes. If these have been placed on hold over the last year, you may be tempted to simply pick up where you left it.

The world we see in 2021, however, is a very different place to the one we lived in prior to spring 2020. Your business has probably undergone a lot of changes – these could be related to structure, working practices, staffing levels, leadership, team roles, opening hours, products or premises, to name just a few.

Have your training needs changed?

Before you resume individual development plans for your staff, take a step back and look at how the bigger picture has altered for your business over the last 12 months.

There are lots of reasons why employees could have different training needs now, compared to a year ago:

  • The company’s products or services may have evolved or pivoted completely, requiring new skills and knowledge of the staff
  • Individual roles may have changed dramatically, due to remaining staff having to cover for furloughed or laid-off colleagues
  • More employees are finding themselves in leadership or management roles for the first time, due to restructures
  • Changes to working practices may require new technical or interpersonal skills, such as working from home or mastering new technologies
  • Brand new roles or responsibilities may have been created to meet the challenges of the pandemic, with no precedent for appropriate training
  • Remote working is here to stay for many businesses and that requires different skillsets
  • Mental health awareness is now more important than ever and there should be a greater focus on your employees’ wellbeing.

Equip your staff to succeed

Your employees have no doubt found life challenging over the last 12 months, but now is the time to reward their hard work by setting them up for success.

They have stood by your company and rolled with the punches as your business has evolved. Now that you’re moving from ‘crisis mode’ to ‘new normal mode’, make sure you take your staff along on that evolution journey, by investing in the skills they need to embrace the reality of their post-Covid roles.

Look to the future

As well as ensuring your business can function efficiently in the here and now, you also need to reassess your future plans.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • If the business has changed course recently, what does that mean for its future direction?
  • What will be your skills requirements in the months and years to come?
  • How can employees feel fully supported as their roles continue to evolve?
  • Do the new leaders in your company need some management skills training?
  • Will your team need mental health support to make the transition back to the office or into a new, permanent way of working?
  • Do you have the in-house skills to manage further change effectively?
  • Don’t forget about skills succession – if one employee has evolved into a new role with unique responsibilities, could your team cover for that person if they took time off or left the company?

In future articles, we’ll be looking at the details of how to re-evaluate your skills training and development needs across a variety of business areas.

For now, our advice is to first take a step back and absorb how the big picture has changed for your business. You may be surprised by what you see.

Need a helping hand with your training and development plans?

Working in partnership with you, we provide insight and assistance to help you achieve your development goals. Whether you are looking to gain a better understanding of your training and development gaps, build training plans across multiple teams, or need bespoke training solutions for a particular challenge, we can help identify your options and the solutions available.

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Mark Fryer

22nd March 2021