Corporate learning during a crisis

EFMD invited its corporate members to participate in a Zoom call on 23 March on the topic of corporate learning during the pandemic. Over fifty learning & development professionals joined the call from 14 countries to discuss the following issues:

  • How to keep the organisation’s workforce engaged and productive, and maintain their capacity to work in a balanced manner and from home?
  • How to seize the opportunity to significantly raise the profile and use of digital learning?
  • How to effectively deal with events being cancelled and postponed?

UBS and Faurecia kicked off the virtual meeting by giving an overview of their emergency measures and action plans. Currently half of the UBS workforce is working from home whilst the company stays fully in business. Whereas Faurecia is currently ramping down production as its automotive clients close their factories.

In both cases, the corporate universities teamed up with their communications teams to manage a central website and resource centre to facilitate connecting people and sharing information about learning opportunities such as e-learning, videos or webinars on topics such as health and wellbeing, remote working and collaboration, emotions and change, or virtual onboarding.

Time is of the essence in the present context as we help organisations deal with phase one of this crisis and get operational in the new setting. UBS also shared the virtual version of their planned leadership programmes for Q2, a project organised in collaboration with their external partners, which offers an outstanding and impactful virtual learning experience. Both emphasised the need to keep their entire learning teams engaged and productive.

The meeting also featured a Q&A session, and it emerged here that the current situation differs greatly between industries and functions. Some organisations are under severe pressure to deliver, while others seem to be entering a phase of limited activity. Participants concurred that it is vital not only to push content to employees but also to listen and unearth creative ideas, e.g. hacks for working in the home office. Managers have to be close to their people, and senior leaders visible and ‘always on’.

EFMD hopes to host a follow-up call in due course, which would focus on how to prepare recovery and reimagination of the new competitive landscape.

Below is a curated list of valuable resources that will provide support and help navigate the changing situation amid the pandemic.

Accenture, March 2020, Human resilience: What your people need during COVID-19

BCG Henderson Institute, March 2020, How Will Things Be Different When It’s All Over?

McKinsey, March 2020, Adapting workplace learning in the time of coronavirus

McKinsey, March 2020, Safeguarding our lives and our livelihoods: The imperative of our time

Singularity University, March 2020, COVID-19: The State & Future of Pandemics