How to Build a Learning Strategy for Virtual Employees
As most corporations prepare their budgets for next year, virtual tools for employee learning may be a necessary expenditure, given the changes in how we work due to COVID-19. Our new normal reminds us to invest in human capital first; however, the next step is to formalize a strategy to ensure your employees can quickly apply learnings and meet business objectives.
Regardless of the program content, the focus of this learning strategy should be to enhance critical thinking of employees. According to Inc. Magazine, a team’s ability to come up with solutions, ideas and responses will propel organizations to the top of their industries. And, in business, various obstacles may come your way at a moment’s notice – what matters is how your staff adjusts to these barriers. The most successful individuals (or teams) have developed ways to approach these potential threats and turn them into opportunities to overcome, innovate and, eventually, thrive.
How Does Critical Thinking Impact a Learning Strategy?
1) Critical thinking skills involve decision making and problem solving - The ability to make decisions is also an asset to any organization. Decision making and reasoning include gathering information and evaluating a variety of solutions before selecting the best option. Your employees can save time and money by demonstrating these skills, which makes these areas a must for any learning strategy or program.
2) Critical thinking adds tangible value to organizations: Critical thinkers come up with new ways of doing things that add value to the work environment and serve customers more efficiently. They offer new perspectives about the job and the company. Also, a lifelong learner is always a valued employee. Leaders know to stay ahead of the competition; they must employ teams that understand new and better ways of doing things. The individual who is open to learning new things is going to be more successful than the individual who is afraid of learning new things.
3) Critical thinkers also tend to be great listeners and communicators: Finally, growing employees’ communication skills involves helping them build rapport with others, practice listening strategies, use effective verbal and non-verbal communication, give and receive feedback, orally present information to others and write clearly. Critical thinking, paired with communication, are skills that will be necessary for your workforce both now and in the future. Make sure that you continually train and develop these skills throughout your workforce to maintain your competitive advantage.
Once you consider all three of these areas, remember this corporate learning strategy is not meant to be static. Your business needs change quickly, so it will be important to reassess your learning strategy on a regular basis. And, do not forget to request input from your employees about where they would like to improve their skills. Finally, the strategy must reflect and address the company’s training needs and development goals, both in the short and long-term, and must be created with the involvement and support of all relevant stakeholders. In the end, it all comes down to taking into account all your pressing needs and constraints while still keeping an eye on the big picture – growth and profitability for years to come.