The pandemic caused many companies to switch to a remote work model. Two years later, restrictions are finally being eased, and many companies are working to bring employees back into the workplace. The extended time away from work has led to a decrease in skills, especially for those who experienced unemployment. The World Economic Forum project 54% or more employees will need reskilling in 2022. The rapid advancement in technology and automation integration suggests that tech-related skills will need the most focus.
As people return to in-person work, it is vital to nurture areas of deficiency and keep in mind that the skill and time away from in-office work tasks will influence how long it takes to return to prior proficiency levels.
There are many ways to navigate the return to in-person work, and rebuilding atrophied skills is a crucial part of the process. First, it is vital to provide a training period to reintroduce company operations. It will serve as a refresher and help address areas of change. Employees will become familiar with new procedures and fill in memory gaps. Plus, staff will have the opportunity to ask questions and clarify points of confusion.
You will also need to identify what skills need to be rebuilt. As staff resume in-person work, you will notice that some skills quickly return while others take more time and guidance. Some of these tasks will be obvious as you observe your staff, but surveys will support the detection of less obvious skill gaps. Moreover, they let you know where your team lacks confidence.
Once you have identified which abilities you would like workers to refine, it is time to make education and training available to employees. Regardless of how you choose to build skills, it is paramount they can obtain training.
If you choose to do in-person or hands-on training, consider the best time of day to conduct these modules. If you offer digital education, think about how employees will retrieve the materials [Do they have access to a work computer and reliable internet connection?] You will also need to provide IT guidance for those who are less tech-savvy, and setting a deadline for completion will help staff know when modules should be finished.
Workplace skill needs are unique to each company, so one business may need to update skills related to cash flows while another needs to develop communication skills. Irrespective of these differences, rebuilding lost skills will boost staff confidence and productivity. Moreover, training in indirect skills is a way to aid in professional development, which is what workers want from their employers.
Soft skills provide the framework to guide staff through the return to in-person work, and leaders with strong, soft skills will empower their team and provide a smooth transition.
Being a leader comes with a lot of responsibility. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can help their employees navigate the anxieties and tension brought on by the pandemic and remote work.
It is impossible to foresee all the challenges that will arise, but flexibility enables leaders and their teams to adapt to new situations and solve problems. If leaders notice an ineffective training method, they will be open to changing the process and producing a plan with higher efficacy.
Moreover, the role of the leader is evolving, and leaders must grow with these changes, or they risk developing a poor work environment and disrupting workflows.
Demonstrating empathy is vital, and it will make your employees more effective. Staff will feel more at ease knowing they are valued and will be open to approaching their leaders with questions and requests for help. It will also boost productivity and help cultivate the attitude you want workers to bring to the workplace.
Be patient yet vigilant with progress, as it will take time to return to smooth in-person operations. Remember, many people have either been unemployed or working from home for a long time. Both require different skills than the ones that occur in day-to-day business operations.
During the transition, you must recognize what procedures need to be enhanced, create a reskilling plan, adjust methods when necessary, and provide support along the way. Furthermore, soft skills need to be expanded in all workers. This is paramount for those in leadership positions since leaders facilitate and guide their teams.
It is an ongoing process to develop new skills and rebuild lost ones. After its initial completion, it is essential to review its efficacy. The evaluation provides you with a way to learn from your mistakes and create better programs for future skill-building.