The impact COVID-19 is having on various businesses is vast and varied. One of the more common scenarios is that many businesses are streamlining operations and holding on tight with the plan/hope this doesn't go on for much longer than 3-4 months. These businesses are quieter than normal right now but have some ability to pivot and find different revenue streams.
If you are a people & culture specialist in this type of business then amongst the many challenges you are dealing with right now, two may be top of mind:
How can I keep our people fresh and focused whilst things are quieter?
What can I do to help the business move in the direction needed and be ready to go once we see light at the end of the tunnel?
A winning strategy here is to build and deliver a quick and simple short-term learning curriculum.
There are four key steps to doing this, and you can get it up and running in under a couple of days.
1. Pick a few strategically important skills and capabilities
Pick two or three skills/capabilities you want people to focus on for the next month. Make sure these areas have a clear link back to the company strategy. For example, data may be your key differentiator and competitive advantage in future. So building data literacy and analytical thinking may be important areas to focus on right now.
Focus areas also help you to build a clear structure, make it a more collective/social experience, and drive a positive shift towards capabilities and skills you will need in the future.
Picking a couple of areas is a good idea so that you can give people a choice about what skill/capability they want to focus on for that month. You can always supplement this with more individualised learning pathways later as needed.
2. Curate, curate, curate
If you want to spin this up quite quickly curation is the secret. There is so much great content out there, on almost every topic imaginable. The challenge individuals have when it comes to learning is that they feel overwhelmed with the choices and don't know where to start. If you spend some time picking the good stuff it makes it easier for the end-learner and creates a more frictionless experience. Think of your role as an art gallery curator for learning.
Your aim should be to build a mini-four week curriculum around each of the selected topics. For each week have a selection of content which people can focus on for a couple of hours a week. A combination of online courses, videos, articles, books etc.
Don't feel like you have to build out all four weeks in one go. You can build it as you go. And don't be afraid to pick content that challenges internal methods and ways of doing things. This is the basis for thought-provoking discussion and innovation later down the track.
It's often useful to house all the content in one place. This may be your own intranet, file-sharing system internal LMS etc. Platforms like Thinkific, Kajabi and Teachable etc. are also really good options to quickly create short-courses. Many platforms you can sign-up to and use for free straight away.
3. Make it social
The social element will help build a greater sense of connection (which is so important right now) and add accountability. Some ideas:
Pair people up and provide simple topic-related peer coaching assignments or discussion activities.
Weekly group coaching calls. Get everyone together and have a bit of fun! Mix it up by having internal panels, quizzes on learning content (e.g. using Kahoot), group ideation sessions etc. Anything interactive helps bring some fun to the process and helps people learn from each other.
4. Put it into action
To help with the learning transfer have methods in place where people can put learning into practice. A couple of ideas:
Assign a continuous improvement project (during or after the one month) to drive positive business outcomes on projects which are important right now.
Build weekly challenges which people have to complete based on their usual on-the-job tasks and project.
Have people present back to the senior leadership team in small groups about their key takeaways from the month, together with new ideas for the business.
That's' all there is to it. It doesn't need to be overly complicated, simple is good right now. Having this in place will help keep our people fresh and focused whilst things are quieter. It will also help get your business ready to move once the pressure eases up a little.
If you'd like to chat about different ideas and ways you can pull this together, let me know I’d love to talk more with you.
And if you are looking for a fresh and fun way to build connection or develop people skills check out our new game Quinks. Quinks has a digital version which can be used to facilitate remote development workshops and team-building sessions which go beyond the surface. If you'd like a demo let me know, I'll be happy to play a game with you!