Time to think differently about learning and development and give your people the skills to rise!

>Time to think differently about learning and development and give your people the skills to rise!
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Category: Apprenticeships Development Leadership
Published: 30th March 2020

The developments of the last week during the spread of COVID-19 have been unprecedented for most people and businesses. Like us at Raise the Bar we are sure that your focus has rightly been on safeguarding the health and well-being of your staff, customers, friends and families and especially the more vulnerable in our communities. That must continue.

It is however important for all businesses, and especially ones like ours to remain flexible, agile, adaptable, and to make the most of the opportunities to look after our business’ health too and prepare well for recovery. It is critical that leaders consider how we can make best use of the technologies and resources we have available today to ensure that we remain ‘business fit’, and minimise any of the potential negative impacts of the situation as much as we possibly can.

Our focus has been on scaling up our activities that embrace digital and virtual channels; this will enable us and our clients to come out of this as well as possible and ready and raring to go again. In particular we have had new levels of engagement through our App, and our partnership with Engage Solutions Group has been invaluable in deploying content and increasing remote communication and collaboration.

Temporary homeworking may mean for some that they might not be able to perform to the full extent of the normal day but this can also create opportunity to focus on activities that would otherwise be less achievable!

So what are the options?

Organisation’s might be tempted in the current climate to put a hold on or even cancel some of their business and people activities. However now could be exactly the right time to put more focus on such activities especially when it comes to investing the skills of your leaders and managers, the very people who will lead your business to recovery following situations such as now.

Try different ways to continue your current programmes!

If you already have a programme currently running don’t fall into the trap of putting this on hold. Even if you have had to furlough staff as a result of the outbreak the latest guidance is that they can still continue with their programme! Great news!

Blended learning is not new and providers like ourselves now have hundreds of hours of learning resources in different formats that can be used to enable staff to use this rare opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills, Ideal for filling those quieter moments at home.

Don’t assume programmes with face-to-face workshop elements need to be postponed! This would only halt the benefits for both learners and your business. The emergence of virtual classroom and collaborative platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Adobe Connect mean that, with small adaptations, learners can still participate virtually in ‘classroom’ sessions and work on tasks and share experiences in virtual ‘breakout areas’. Indeed these technologies have been around for some time but organisations and learners have struggled to commit to the cultural shift away from the classroom; perhaps this was the prompt and could change how we all learn going forward? We have spent considerable time converting our workshops into bite sized chunks, delivering such sessions in an effective way that does not adversely affect the learner experience. These images show how much learners were enjoying their session with Raise the Bar’s Tim only yesterday.

COVID-19 also presents an unexpected opportunity to contextualise what is delivered. For example why not run problem solving and decision making scenarios based on the outbreak of a new virus?

If you haven’t fully explored the benefits of funded Apprenticeships, then now is your time to do so.

It is reported that only 19% of organisations have as yet used the apprentice Levy despite it being a great way to create and fund comprehensive, high quality development of your existing and future leaders and managers – the people who will be helping your Organisation to remain resilient and recover following situations like this. In daily conversation new clients tell us that the whole area of the apprentice levy is seen as either too difficult, without an ‘owner’, a lesser priority, or worse still something that they have decided to write off (as a ‘stealth tax’).

As we emerge from the aftermath of measures being put in place to counter COVID-19 it is inevitable that many organisations will be looking to review their spending and re-balance their budgets. Training budgets nearly always suffer; unspent apprentice levy could therefore become an easily accessible route to using money that has already been ‘spent’ to fund the investment in great development programmes for your leaders and managers. We can even support you in remotely launching and engaging your people onto the programmes using technology and digital approaches including videos and animations, electronic information packs, virtual briefing and Q&A sessions, and online induction and on-boarding processes.

These are times that many of us haven’t experienced before but we are better equipped than ever to deal with them if we seek to truly use the resources and technologies that have been created specifically to deal with them.

Why not schedule some time for a virtual meeting with us now – it is an easy way for us to guide you as to the next steps, share information relating to our programmes and these tips, and how they can help your business and people.

Everyone at Raise the Bar wishes you, your staff, customers, family, and friends a safe, healthy and productive journey through the forthcoming weeks!