News & Analysis

Training and Induction Programs During Lockdowns

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In spite of the governments at the centre and states relaxing lockdown norms, business owners would do well to accept that getting back to workplaces could still be a long way off. Given these circumstances, a major challenge to maintaining business-as-usual rests with the HR and L&D teams as both large and medium corporations rejig, reorient and replan their strategies. 

The hiring process appears to have overcome initial hurdles as HR executives believe that even in the post-lockdown era, video calls would continue, even when social distancing isn’t a factor. A senior director at a Bangalore-based tech company says, “In fact, video works better as there is no waiting time at either end. In fact, we find that a Zoom makes for better nous as we can use body cues as invaluable indicators of the interviewee’s personality.” 

However, the challenge is not so much with the interview process itself but what follows later. In a normal situation, the HR tasks burgeon after the candidate accepts the offer. Starting from the paperwork to the induction programs. And this is where companies are struggling as business owners often keep aside 40 hours to onboard the individual and get her business-ready. 

The question now is do these business owners (also read division heads) can afford this luxury at a time where agility could be the buzzword to survival, leave alone success. Which is why we believe that tough situations require creative solutions and even onboarding needs to face up to the new normal. And, these are some of the things you could do: 

  • Setting up a simple training structure should be the first change. Create a three-pronged plan that includes (a) company culture and the role (b) company regulations and (c) the specific deliverables and stakeholders that the candidate would deal with. Giving a list of resources whom they can reach out to when stuck can smoothen up processes. This will ensure that every time a new member arrives in a team, the process is replicated. 
  • When every minute of value, keeping a recruit ensconced with HR doesn’t really speak highly of a company’s agility. Avoid long-drawn training sessions, sticking instead with  the short module-level interventions that can be shared over a period of time and not necessarily before the chap even gets to take his assigned desk. In fact, a senior HR professional who consults with several companies believes videos could be a simple and effective way to provide inputs on points (a) and (b), followed by a questionnaire to the recruits to check how much of it they grasped. 
  • Social distancing has taught us an invaluable lesson that physical proximity isn’t really necessary to generate desired outcomes. What this means to the L&D team is that they could as well make do with video and audio modules or even snatches of conversations between leaders. Of course, such training also needs to be accompanied by responses from the candidates, without which business owners cannot monitor the effectiveness. Maybe, an interactive online session could work just as well. 
  • While several large companies use training material on videos and audios, the trend needs to percolate even to the small and medium enterprises, whose need for agility in this economic scenario is even greater. Creating modules that take candidates across the business in small steps is any day better than an information overload which 40-hour induction and onboarding workshops create. 

By creating shorter modules that adhere to the training plan prepared at the top-level, both HR and L&D would be able to infuse the right element of knowledge at the appropriate time. These four steps should help L&D executives re-orient and plan their training programs across most of their employee landscape. Barring, of course the leadership team, where training is on the job. 

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