C+S April 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 4 (web)

Pandemic Onboarding/Training: During the height of the pandemic, people were hired without ever setting foot in the office. Equipment was shipped to them and their first day on the new job was at home. Onboarding consisted of online sessions and prerecorded webinars. Employees had to schedule meetings or virtual calls with teammates simply to introduce themselves. New hires were introduced to flexible schedules to align with coworkers who shifted their work hours dur- ing the pandemic. While large, group training sessions were used to educate staff members all at once, they were deemed less effective for engagement. According to Small Business Trends, almost 90 percent of employees identified remote learning as a success, but more than half thought in-person training was more satisfactory. Employees might not Effective Training: One thing is clear – effective training is not depen - dent on the state of the pandemic. Harvard Business Professor David Maister says the key question employers must ask is: What are people not doing that we need them to do? In our industry, we need to provide employees training that is formatted around these four areas: have grasped skills during online training sessions. Lessons Learned Throughout the Pandemic Systems: Firms need to have a system in place that is constantly and consistently being reviewed for effectiveness. If people are sleeping during training or skipping it all together, it probably isn’t a good fit for a company. Maister says that training should not only be encour - aged, but also rewarded or incentivized. Firms can award employees bigger tasks, responsibilities, and assignments based on successfully completed training. Attitude: One reason training isn’t completed is because people don’t see its relevance. Employees must be willing to learn and have the mindset that it will benefit them and their careers. Training should also give employees a sense of fulfillment and advancement. 1. Systems 2. Attitude 3. Knowledge 4. Skills Knowledge: Learning the content is one thing, but understanding it is an- other. Knowing how to do things and understanding the why is important.

The training should encourage problem solving and critical thinking. Skills: Effective training means an employee can execute the skill that they just learned. I’ll give a personal example. I’ve watched enough golf to know how to hit a straight drive off the tee, but my drives veer to the right. I have the understanding and the knowledge, but that doesn’t Training programs need to be monitored to ensure their effectiveness. Goals and objectives should be clearly stated, and the material custom - ized for the learner. Training should include additional reading or testing to survey participants’ understanding of the material. Participants should be rewarded after showing the can execute the skills just learned. Where to go from here Whether virtual or in the office, firms need to evaluate their current work conditions. Firms must develop and maintain a level of trust with employees through connectivity and personal communication. Author and business consultant Patrick Lencioni says trust is the foundation for team building. Project managers especially need to trust their em - ployees to perform at optimal levels. Accountability is key. Successful firms and their employees must avoid artificial harmony. mean I have the skills to do it. Monitoring Effectiveness Virtual meeting options can be beneficial for staff not yet comfort - able working in the office. If working from home, equipment needs to complement the employee’s existing office space. Cyber commu - nication platforms like Microsoft Teams and Virtual Private Network (VPN) are vital to keeping a company running smoothly. Investing in proficient IT systems might be necessary. Whether virtual, in person, or a combination of both – a cohesive team is essential. The authors of Crucial Conversations say a supportive foundation builds success- ful teams. Companies must be intentional in their actions, clearly state facts and objectives, and listen to all points of views. These building blocks garner engagement and commitment. Ultimately, that means success for a company.

AUSTIN DUEHR, PE, ENV SP is Project Engineer at Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc.


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