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How COVID is driving change: New ways to connect with a new generation

With the recent global transition to remote working, upskilling is attracting plenty of attention. Many have begun to see learning and development as a necessity if they are to adapt or progress in their career after COVID-19, and are having to rely on technology to help as physical-distancing restrictions continue around the world.

When we first founded Yoho, the goal was to try and solve some of the issues apparent in workplace training and development. Mobile technology has barely penetrated the frontline workforce as corporate learning is still very much desktop-based and there’s sort of a lack of engagement with workplace learning. Frontline employees are on Instagram and WhatsApp and all these wonderful programmes during lunch breaks, but when they walk back into work they still work with paper instructions or some clunky platform to run through static eLearning content.

With the smartphone being the number-one way to consume content and communicate with others, today's frontline employees also expect to learn and train-on-the-job with a mobile-first platform.

Everybody has been talking about the future of work for the past couple years. Now it's finally here and change is happening faster than anyone could have ever imagined. However, none of us can really be sure what the ‘new normal’ will look like yet. There are a few things though that look pretty certain, especially when we consider training and engaging the frontline workforce.

#1 Use mobile-first technology to communicate, train and engage your workforce

Generation Z grew up playing on their parents’ smartphones. With this in mind, make the most of technology to connect to the new generation of frontline workers. Instead of posting notices on a bulletin board, use an internal communications platform to communicate with employees. Employers that avoid implementing new technologies are actually sending up red flags for the tech-savvy new generation of frontline workers.

#2 Train with bite-sized content that's easy to access, easy to digest and easy to begin with

When training is concerned with important topics such as health and safety, we need to make sure that knowledge sticks. 80% of the knowledge from traditional training is forgotten after 30 days. Our brains are simply not wired to focus for such a long time and retain so much information at once. Most of us used to learn by reading a lot of books and listening to long, boring lectures. But now everybody wants to have this information with them readily available. Easy to access. Easy to digest and reliable. And easy to begin with. People want information in bite-sized chunks, it's more important than ever to reduce knowledge and learning into more manageable bits.

#3 Adopt digital practical skills training, not just theory

Experienced workers often have the background to understand the inner workings of a new production line or manufacturing process. However, new employees often lack industry knowledge and therefore need additional background training before fully understanding a new work process. To enable an efficient knowledge transfer, experienced employees should document complex work processes with video-tutorials so new workers can familiarize themselves with a particular work procedure instead of entering the floor with a complete "carte blanche". This way managers can significantly reduce shadowing times by up to 50%.

#4 Provide performance support, enable workers to access the right information at the right time

Frontline workers often operate complex equipment, they need to retain a lot of knowledge about particular Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), maintenance and solutions to troubleshoot problems. So how do you operate efficiently in a workplace where co-workers expect you to know-it-all? There's no way both newbies and experienced workers have all such knowledge readily available, it's simply impossible. Also, since work procedures may change frequently and new procedures are added almost daily it's important that you keep a single source of truth for your SOPs that are easily accessible on the floor. Therefore, it's important that you don't just focus on the "learning" or "training" aspect but also pay attention to what we call "performance support". Performance support software can greatly enhance worker performance while reduce training costs, and with a solution like Yoho the good thing is that training and performance support is integrated in one platform.

To attract, retain and engage a new generation of frontline workers you must forget about dated training methods. Introduce mobile-first technology, provide content that's easy to  digest and make sure that your workers have access to the right information at the right time.

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