Talent Management

Shifting to Hybrid Work: 3 things learners need in a post-covid work environment

Does anyone remember the expression, “Two weeks to slow the spread?” It’s hard to believe now, but there was a time when we all thought we’d go back to pre-pandemic life as usual. Over the course of the past 9-12 months, it’s become increasingly obvious that office life is unlikely to ever return to “normal.” Countless companies have set dates for their employees to return, only to push those back as the latest variant emerges or a surge in infections impacts a significant region. Conferences and events have been scheduled, rescheduled, canceled, brought back, and moved online. We’ve all settled in to expecting the unexpected and living with uncertainty while adapting to a hybrid work environment.

Forward-thinking companies have shifted their efforts to building a hybrid work environment that allows the business to be responsive to whatever nature throws our way in the future. What hybrid work looks like will vary from organization to organization, but in most cases it means that individuals and teams will rotate between the office and remote work. Additionally, companies in many industries are increasingly relying on a contingent workforce, rather than traditional employment arrangements. 

Research and experience has shown that the evolutionary path learning has been traveling over the past 20 years will need to accelerate in order to meet the needs of a hybrid workforce. Yes, technology plays an important role, but there are more conceptual issues that will need to be considered. As you build your learning strategy, consider our top three recommendations to address the needs of hybrid learners.

1. Consistency of experience

For the most part, technology issues related to remote and hybrid work have been settled at this point. People have adopted the necessary apps and platforms, upgraded their workstations, and learned new ways of collaborating. Brian Kropp, head of HR at Gartner, recently said that figuring out the way forward with a hybrid work environment isn’t so much an issue of the right tech as it is “ a consistency and evenness-of-experience question.”

The learning industry has struggled to provide a consistent experience between in-person and virtual training for decades. The events of 2020 increased the adoption of virtual learning because it was the only way to continue developing people. As necessity is the mother of invention, companies have found all sorts of ways to make virtual learning work for development projects that were previously relegated to in-person events.

A hybrid work environment, however, throws in a whole new set of challenges. The learning modalities that will prevail in the next year will be those that can offer the same experience to learners located anywhere—in the traditional office, at home, and around the globe.

2. Sensitivity and empathy

While the pandemic escalated mental health issues for countless people, it’s fair to say that many people were dealing with these challenges long before 2020. One outcome of the pandemic is that mental health needs have become part of the public conversation, even in the workplace. Similarly, the work from home environment exposed many details about workers’ personal lives that may not have previously surfaced in the office. Parents and caregivers have been at the forefront of many leaders’ minds, but there are also countless other circumstances that were uncovered as the webcams clicked on at home.

As a result, learning leaders are seeking new ways to provide resources related to emotional intelligence, diversity and inclusion, and other soft skills. Specific interventions in those areas are needed in many organizations, but they should also become an integral part of the overall learning strategy. For a hybrid work environment to succeed, employers simply must continue to accommodate their workers’ personal needs. Recent news headlines have highlighted the damage that can occur in organizations that neglect to be empathetic to their employees. L&D has a huge opportunity to contribute in this area by taking an empathetic approach in the design of every learning intervention.

3. Engagement

The numbers vary, but reports indicate that anywhere from 25%-50% of workers have changed jobs in the past year. We’ve known for a long time that engaged employees are more likely to stick around; what’s quickly changing are the ways we go about keeping people engaged. A hybrid work environment, by nature, is significantly more vulnerable to people slipping through the cracks. Companies have ramped up their efforts to measure engagement consistently, and L&D groups have deployed a slew of interventions designed to help managers combat the factors that lead to disengaged workers.

Investing in employees by developing their skills is a tried-and-true way to increase employee engagement. That said, any initiative must be calibrated to what people really need and deployed via a program that keeps learners engaged enough to actually learn something. Sadly, most learning designed for virtual delivery doesn’t come close to the caliber of pre-pandemic events that were held in person. Those L&D groups that will continue to succeed in moving the needle on employee engagement will have to find ways to deploy learning that engages learners in the hybrid workplace—providing that consistent experience mentioned in item one.

Learning leaders may have a lot on their shoulders, but it’s an exciting time for our profession. We can make significant contributions to the success of a hybrid work environment by designing learning that supports employees in their areas of need. Our team has extensive experience doing just that. Contact us to schedule a new year strategy session.

Managing to Develop Talent… the Challenge Is on!

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managers

Today’s managers face a long and varied list of demands and challenges – not the least of which is coaching and developing their employees. After all, if their employees don’t succeed, they don’t succeed.

It’s no secret what needs to be done – to mentor, develop and grow employees to their highest level of competence. For most managers, however, the trick lies in how to do it… how to capture the hearts and minds of employees in a way that makes them open to development and want to contribute their best.

Enter Abilitie’s Management Challenge™, a dynamic team-based simulation designed to help new and experienced managers build their talent-management skills – identifying, motivating, coaching and developing employees – in response to everyday challenges.

Managers quickly learn to elevate their teams to deliver high performance and grow their capabilities as they practice crucial skills such as:

  • Onboarding new employees
  • Coaching high performers
  • Navigating the aftermath of a termination
  • Coaching behavioral disruptions
  • Motivating disengaged employees
  • Addressing distracting rumors

Management Challenge™ kicks safe experiences with predictable outcomes to the curb as it isolates key competencies and provides an environment where managers are free to explore, practice and gain experience in real-world management situations – without real-world consequences.

I’m sold on Management Challenge™, and I think you will be too. Feel free to watch our recorded webinar to learn more and see first-hand how this revolutionary program will change the way you develop talent managers!

I also invite you to contact us today to learn more about Management Challenge™ or any of our custom classroom simulations, Blueline Blueprint™ learning visuals or other innovative delivery methods that have been generating notable business results in leading organizations worldwide for more than 13 years.

Can an eSimulation be Better than a Live Action Role-Play?

Introducing PeopleSIM™

This immersive eSimulation challenges experienced and high potential leaders to apply coaching concepts in realistic settings while receiving immediate and continuous feedback.

How can an eSimulation come this close to delivering real coaching?

  • A voice-activated human interface delivers real-time interactions
  • Combines emotional-state rules & probabilities
  • The character’s mood will change based on their questions
  • Simulated characters “remember” the user’s questions and statements
  • Each statement the learner makes has an effect on the character’s emotional state
  • Negative statements may cause the character to become sad or angry
  • Positive statements can make the character warmer and more approachable


No other training solution on the market even comes close to delivering the realism!

Join us for a Free Webinar! May 9th @ 1:30 EST

During the info session and demonstration, you’ll get an exclusive sneak peek at PeopleSIM™: Performance Coaching and get to see first-hand how this revolutionary new program will change the way you groom your next generation of High-Potential Leaders!

 

 

If you are unable to participate in one of our upcoming public webinars, contact us today to schedule a private demonstration for your company.

Give your Next Generation of Executives the Experience they Need to Lead

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A new survey conducted by global management consulting firm Booz & Co. shows that a striking majority of corporate leaders are not able to keep their priorities straight. They are also pursuing strategies they don’t believe in, and many of their strategies fail to build on the things their companies are especially good at, compared with competitors. It’s like everything that can go wrong already has gone wrong for them.

Closing the gap

The ability to prioritize and align strategies with corporate strengths is just one example of the many leadership fundamentals executives must possess today. Closing the business fundamentals gap in your organization requires new insights and skills – that can only come from experience. How will you ensure that your next generation of leaders will get the experience they need to respond effectively to the myriad of strategic challenges that your executives face every day?

Experience

Executive Challenge™ is the latest in a series of fully immersive leadership simulations designed to give your high potential leaders the insight and skills needed to deal with nearly every strategic challenge imaginable – from talent management to ethics to defining and executing a global vision.

Please join us for a live walk-through of Executive Challenge™ led by Blueline’s Director of Leadership Innovations: Steve Mosley. Two dates to choose from: March 27 or April 9th!

The Talent Management Specialists at Blueline Simulations Sweep the Brandon Hall Awards

The Talent Management Specialists at Blueline Simulations sweep the Brandon Hall Awards

Yesterday I enjoyed a little taste of what James Cameron must have felt the night that Titanic swept the Oscars. Ok, so this may sound overly dramatic, if you will forgive the pun. Billy Crystal wasn’t hosting, and there was no red carpet.

But in our industry there are few awards that matter as much as the Brandon Halls.  Now in its 17th year, the awards program announced yesterday the winners from 22 categories.  Entries were judged by a panel of independent senior judges, Brandon Hall Group Sr. Analysts and Executive Leadership based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, usability, innovation, and overall measurable benefits.

As Mike Cooke, Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group, Inc. put it: “This year’s winning entries were the best of the best. We are proud to recognize the award winners who have greatly improved the performance of their organization and have shown clear, measurable business results through these innovative programs.”

And in Blueline Simulation’s first year as a submitter, our client partners won five Gold Awards! 

You read that correctly: FIVE GOLD BRANDON HALL AWARDS!  Congratulations to Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Verizon Wireless for being acknowledged as the “best of the best” by winning Gold Medals in the following categories:

  • Best Custom Content: The Verizon Wireless Retail Sales Simulator
  • Best Learning Game: The Verizon Wireless Retail Sales Simulator
  • Best Use of Virtual Worlds for Learning: Bank of America Teller Readiness Simulation and Assessment
  • Best Integration of Learning and Talent Management: Bank of America Teller Readiness Simulation and Assessment
  • Best Onboarding Program: Booz Allen Hamilton New Hire Onboarding Program

And here is the best part: while awards in and of themselves are nice, for us the bigger reward was the opportunity to work with three of the most talented and dedicated client teams with whom we have ever had the pleasure to partner.

So how does the team at Blueline plan to follow up on this tremendous showing? We’d like to create some best-in-class learning solutions with you! Give the Talent Management Specialists at Blueline Simulations a call and find out why our client partners have been rewarded with these and other awards from Bersin and ASTD in 2011.