With hybrid working models now commonplace post-pandemic, how can staff training and skill sharing remain efficient when not in-person?

WE ASKED: What are the primary challenges in developing effective training programmes that consider remote or hybrid work setups?

Lauren Stables, head of digital trading, Aurora

Lauren Stables

Lauren Stables

The transition to remote or hybrid training could have serious implications for our industry and may lead to a loss of knowledge transfer as a talent gap looms.

Traditional learning methods, such as shadowing experienced staff, have been replaced in many instances with virtual training.

Although this may be practical for some, younger generations miss the opportunity to sit alongside experienced peers, ask questions naturally and watch them work in real-time.

Businesses must also pay close attention to issues around technology accessibility and capability, maintaining engagement and, of course, compliance.

Not everyone has access to reliable broadband that would enable them to use online training methods. By assuming all team members have equitable access to learning resources, we risk excluding pools of talent who would really benefit from it.

Beyond the method of delivery, professional bodies can often struggle to stay abreast of technological advances.

Many governing bodies and regulatory agencies rely on standardised training programmes that may not always keep pace with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the transition to renewable energy.

Consequently, their training materials may not be updated frequently enough to reflect rapid advancements, leading to potential gaps in coverage – especially in areas like data privacy, algorithmic bias and regulatory compliance.

Crescens George - MD

Crescens George

Crescens George, chief executive, Wiser Academy 

One major drawback of remote working is the loss of informal learning that naturally occurs in a traditional workplace. For example, water cooler conversations.

These casual interactions can sometimes be more impactful than formal training sessions.

To address this, learning and development professionals should ‘structure the unstructured’ by creating virtual, informal, employee-led learning sessions, or set aside a few minutes before meetings for informal chats.

Additionally, it is a good idea to establish anchor days when the entire team works in the office simultaneously, rather than on different days, to foster these valuable interactions.

Meanwhile, remote working can create a sense of isolation, challenging the collaborative nature of in-person training.

To counter this, learning and development teams should design training modules that require group work and encourage teamwork. Virtual mentorship and buddy systems can also be implemented to foster personal connections.

Additionally, organisations should regularly conduct knowledge checks and practical assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of remote training programmes.

Learning and development professionals should focus on effective teaching methods rather than the tools used, combining live and self-paced learning to meet various learning styles.

Caroline Bedford, chief executive, EDII

Caroline Bedford headshot new

Caroline Bedford

When planning the training needed for insurance businesses, the way it’s delivered should reflect the business need and not preference.

In-person and remote learning can be equally effective, assuming that the education provider is decent. If the sessions are relevant, interesting, interactive and inspiring, firms should expect a positive outcome.

But, no matter the method of delivery, the core challenge is how to encourage people to give up their time to complete training. How can companies ensure that staff fully engage and that they’re not just there in digital or physical body?

For me, the magic that can melt away blockers lies in the ’what’s in it for me?’ question.

Whether the training programme is for graduates, middle management or c-suite, being clear about the emotional and tangible reasons why staff should attend, what the programme will deliver, what completing the training means for their career and the business and what they will miss out on if they don’t do the course, is key. This is especially important in the age of digital change we’re in.

If companies care about what they deliver and make the ’what’s in it for me?’ compelling enough, then virtual or not, any training programme challenge can be overcome.

How does your firm approach training and development?

How does your firm view and manage staff training and development? Share your thoughts by completing this survey, in conjunction with RSA, today.