Is L&D Prepared for Coronavirus — Or Other Disruptions?

Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on UnsplashBy David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Regardless of how big or little a deal you believe the COVID-19 outbreak to be, it is having an impact on the global economy. Travel is coming to a halt, oil prices are dropping and people are asked to work from home. While most of our attention is justly on how to care for the infected, stanch the spread and keep ourselves safe, businesses must also look at the implications for day-to-day operations.

Conferences are being canceled left and right, which means a lot of training events are also being postponed or canceled. This can put a nasty kink in any well-considered learning program. Do you have a contingency plan? As your people are told to work from home and limit travel, will you still able to provide development opportunities in an online, on-demand environment?

For organizations that already rely heavily on virtual learning and on-demand eLearning, this event could have very little impact. But we’ve seen in our research that the number one way companies deliver training is in-person, instructor-led training. Right now, the last thing we need is anything that’s “hands-on.”

Quickly converting in-person classes, sessions or workshops to virtual would be a good first step. But how adept are your in-person instructors at facilitating virtual sessions? They do not necessarily require the same skillset, so ensure you have the right people running these sessions.

Many organizations have been digitally transforming for some time; converting ILT content to online assets. This outbreak may force them to kick those efforts into high gear. At least one provider is offering emergency conversion services in light of the COVID-19 issue. AllenComm has rolled out a Rapid Response Initiative to help its clients mitigate any disruptions. According to AllenCom CEO Ron Zamir, “In these times it’s critical for any company like AllenComm to think outside the box to help our clients meet new demands.”

Challenges like this can have far-reaching implications, even for learning. As learning paths are put on hold and delayed, any outcomes that were to be achieved will also be delayed. It is not just learning completion that could suffer, but the business itself. Implications could be felt months or even years after this situation has been resolved. And while it may be too late to prevent disruptions, the effort can at least help right now and lay a foundation of preparedness for the next challenge.

What’s your plan?

David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Do you have a best practice you can share?

Have you implemented talent management, learning, or training programs that have helped your company during the coronavirus? Please share your story with us at [email protected], and if possible, send screenshots or public links. We have seen many solution providers step up with technologies and courses, but we are looking for corporate and government organizations examples.

As all organizations respond to the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19), human capital management functions have important roles to play. Brandon Hall Group is conducting a pulse survey, and talking to organizations to better understand how HR and learning are contributing to find a global solution for outbreak. Participate in our pulse survey click here.


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