In the last year, the working styles of almost every company have changed fundamentally with a major shift to remote work. The pandemic altered the way we perceive work and workspaces accelerating the journey towards a hybrid workforce.

In the early days, organizations were forced to move to remote work rather swiftly and with increased efficiency. As per a recent PwC report, about 83% of employers and 71% of employees in the US consider remote working a success signaling a positive shift in attitudes towards it. More and more research is, in fact, pointing heavily towards the fact that even post-pandemic, there is likely to be a major increase in the prevalence of remote working.

The PwC survey had a majority (74%) of the workforce saying they would prefer to work remotely at least 2 days per week even once the pandemic is over. At the same time, some organizations have also had to explore ways for flexible work arrangements to ensure that employees — whose work so mandates — are able to safely return to the office.

The journey has already begun towards a ‘hybrid workplace’ — a concept not entirely new, but one that has become extensively popular because of Covid. Now, employees are working remotely as well as onsite, as per their needs and work requirements in many companies.

This includes several big brands. Recently, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to his employees that stated: “We’ll move to a hybrid work week where most Googlers spend approximately three days in the office and two days wherever they work best.” Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Jane Fraser too has told employees that most of them will be expected to be in the office only three days a week when the world emerges from the pandemic.

Hybrid work and the flexibility that it brings has meant that there have been a number of alterations in various verticals, including L&D, to adjust to the concept. Of course, early on in the pandemic itself (when only remote working was the norm), all work-related activities, including L&D programs, had already converted to a digital format.

But now that the hybrid model is in place, L&D is working overtime to address the hybrid workforce challenges that are arising with the help of innovative Learntech. After all, if the future of the workplace is hybrid, then L&D too will have to adopt to a hybrid future by default!

Nonetheless, L&D in a hybrid workplace is not a cakewalk and comes with its own set of challenges:

  1. L&D teams need to integrate the flexibility of self-paced online training sessions with highly engaging live interactions to suit the hybrid workplace culture.
  2. The rise of social and collaborative learning technologies means learners already have a great deal of online interaction. While designing L&D sessions, factors like webinar fatigue, excessive sessions, scheduling challenges and facilitator time and expense have to be considered.
  3. Learner engagement is a critical factor. While traditional programs are often implemented in one- or two-day workshops, hybrid programs may need to be implemented over several weeks.

Yet, despite the challenges, L&D seems to be stepping up to handle with the help of robust Learntech.

How L&D is dealing with challenges of hybrid workplace:

1.Integrating learning in the flow of work:

Considering with remote working learners are walking a tight rope trying to balance personal and professional lives, L&D is achieving maximum results this way. Through engaging nuggets, learning is made easily accessible and is integrated as a part of work. This comes in the form of shorter sessions spread across multiple days supporting learning continuity and retention.

2.Engaging learners in multiple ways:

Amidst all the distractions, learner engagement is a key focus point. L&D is putting its best foot forward by offering a varied mix of engaging learn tech through live, interactive sessions coupled with pre-recorded ones, in-classroom training integrated with remote ones, live lectures, quizzes, group assignments, on-demand videos, presentations, etc.

3.Gamifying learning:

An interesting way of enhancing learner engagement and retention is by incorporating gamification in the L&D modules. By providing achievement badges and certificates that can be shared on platforms like LinkedIn, employees are likely to feel motivated as they get recognized publicly.

4.Putting learners in the driver’s seat:

During this whole time, L&D has recognized the success of letting learners take control of their learning. Deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a useful way to help analyze who learners are and what learning journey they wish to take (while giving them autonomy). AI-powered LMS has proved to be an effective tool during this process.

5.Personalizing learning experience:

With the help of machine learning tools and technologies, L&D has also been able to offer a personalized learning experience to learners. This has been the need of the hour at a time when everything around them is offering personalized results: from shopping to movies to food recommendations. Through AI-powered LMS, learners are able to browse through topics and courses that are exclusively tailored for their interests, behaviors, and goals.

In conclusion

By understanding the needs and demands of the hybrid working model, L&D has been able to address the challenges arising in the process through seminal Learntech platforms. With the increasing demand for flexibility, amalgamated with the need to upskill and reskill employees and future-proof them for the digital era, strong L&D and successful training initiatives are more important than ever.

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