In this time of crisis, plenty of well-laid plans have been completely scrapped, and many events have been paused or completely cancelled. It might seem like employee training programs should be put on hold too. After all, these are group events, and they aren’t exactly essential to immediate operations.
However, cancelling or holding off on employee civility training isn’t only unnecessary, it can be uniquely damaging during this crisis.
The pandemic is putting extra stress on employees and presenting new opportunities for workplace problems. These days, it’s even more important for employees to treat each other with respect and speak up when they see someone breaking shared values and guidelines.
Thankfully, employers can still hold employee civility training sessions safely. All they need to do is host the training online instead of in-person. Once the right tools are in place, virtual civility training can be engaging, effective, and convenient for everyone.
Here’s more about why and how to adopt virtual training ASAP for your organization.
The Unique HR Challenges Caused by the Pandemic
Here are just a few of the workplace issues the pandemic has caused in workplaces that can hurt productivity and even open your business up to legal trouble:
- Poor treatment of those suspected of infection – Making assumptions about who has contracted the virus can make employees feel unwelcome or singled out, and prying into people’s medical history can violate employees’ rights to keep their personal health information private.
- Stereotyping based on race – Derogatory comments linking the ethnicity of certain people to the spread of the disease, both online via social media and in person, is completely unfair and can do lasting damage to workplace relationships. As ELI founder Steve Paskoff mentioned in his recent blog post, Engaging Workplace Values and Civil Behavior in Battling the Coronavirus, leaders must clarify that disparaging comments, stereotypical insults and “jokes” will not be tolerated.
- Failing to make sure employees feel safe and comfortable at work – It’s never been more important for employees to feel comfortable speaking up when they witness something that flies in the face of shared values. People who feel unsafe coming to work with symptomatic colleagues or without proper distancing or protective measures in place should be encouraged to say something to their managers.
Quality workplace training programs, such as ELI’s Civil Treatment® Workplace, can address these workplace behaviors holistically while also satisfying state and federal employee training requirements to prevent behaviors like harassment and discrimination.
Staying on top of these issues keeps your workplace healthy and safe, so it’s ideal to keep workplace training on track if you can and avoid having to catch up once the threats of the virus subside.
An Introduction to Virtual Training
The obvious solution to training employees while respecting social distancing guidelines is to do what many other companies have already done with other business-related meetings: moving it online via video conferencing tools.
People who have never tried virtual training before are understandably hesitant. Sure, video meetings may work just fine for small groups in which everyone is an equal participant in the meeting. But a classroom setting presents unique challenges. How is it possible to keep employees from mentally checking out? Will they be able to really learn the material? What will happen when that live-person-to-person connection is missing?
As we’ve said before, “check-the-box” training programs in which participants passively watch training videos and rush through online quizzes are usually a waste of everyone’s time and money. They simply don’t work — at least not without supplementation with other more interactive training.
The good news is that modern online programs are blending the advantages of a live trainer with the technology of remote learning to create an experience that’s fresh, live, and interactive.
Standard video-based learning is generally called e-learning, while virtual training that’s held online with a live instructor is called Virtual Instructor Led Training, or VILT.
Modern online training blends the advantages of a live trainer with the technology of remote learning in a fresh, live, and interactive experience.
What to Look for in VILT or Virtual Training
Modern video conferencing platforms have a lot to offer. Thanks to the latest technology, they can feature a lot of the same benefits as live training, including:
Group activities – Modern software can automatically put training participants together into smaller groups to discuss material via video in separate chat rooms. These video-based breakout sessions give participants a chance to get to know one another and share meaningful insights more personally.
Live feedback – In live presentations, the presenter can read the room and occasionally ask for a show of hands to illustrate their points and get a general sense of the group’s experiences. Virtual platforms also have this ability, allowing presenters to poll participants with simple agree/disagree options.
Videos – Video is a crucial part of employee training, as it illustrates concepts visually. Seek an online platform that facilitates interaction through video yet also allows the instructor to retain visual control when necessary.
Discussion – ELI’s video platform allows participants to click a button to raise their virtual hands and wait to be called on by the moderator to speak. Moderators can also refer to their easily-available list of participants and call on participants at random.
Social interaction – The simple introductions that often happen in live training sessions can happen via a chat application within the VILT platform. Participants can use chat apps to react to the training content and videos in real time.
Although things like eye contact and body language are still difficult to replicate online, VILT has other unexpected benefits. For example, transitioning from breakout sessions back to whole-group training can be difficult and time-consuming in live training sessions. With virtual platforms, however, it’s as simple as the moderator counting down and clicking a button.
Many trainers who were initially hesitant about the capabilities of virtual training have embraced its benefits as their experience with the new platforms has grown.
How ELI Can Help
At ELI, we’ve spent over four years perfecting our virtual training program for workplaces.
In these difficult times, we’re happy to offer a variety of options for employers who want to go virtual with their employee training.
We can handle the entire experience on our end, providing both the trainers and the technology. This is the simplest solution for many employers who don’t have a robust HR staff or virtual training tools in place.
Some companies opt to get their own HR rep trained in ELI’s Civil Treatment® series. That rep can use their own technology to deliver the message to your employees.
For still other companies, a hybrid approach will work best: Your employee or contractor teaches Civil Treatment® the training with the help of ELI’s professional training tools.
ELI is also offering a bonus “virtual certification badge” for certified instructors who are new to teaching virtually. To achieve this certification, instructors attend sessions that explain how to convert the classroom experience to a virtual platform and allow instructors to practice hosting the content before they go live before an audience.
Are you ready to get started? Click here to learn more about ELI’s virtual training offerings:
You can also learn more about VILT with these blog posts: