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Will face to face training return?


April 21, 2021

Over the last year, our industry has changed dramatically.

The need to develop personal and leadership skills has increased, as organisations adapt to the constantly shifting landscape. Meanwhile, the ability to deliver this development face to face has been taken away from us.

Over the last twelve months or so we’ve been in a constant race to keep up with these changes and ensure that we maintain the high standards our clients deserve.

Now, thankfully, we are gradually coming to an end of our restrictions and more people are returning to the workplace.

So, will training also return to the workplace? Or is the virtual world here to stay?

The benefits of face to face training

On the whole, we believe that in-person training is more effective.

It is a richer human experience, for both the trainee and the trainer.

In practical terms, it gives the trainer much more opportunity to spot unspoken cues. For example, if a participant’s attention is drifting, if they are struggling to understand or if they have something to ask. And some participants are more reticent to get involved, or can be easily distracted, when they are not “in the room”.

Bringing people together to develop is also a key component of building a positive business culture and the interpersonal connections which enable teams to thrive.

The opportunities of virtual

Having said all this, there are clear benefits of training remotely, aside from the current need to socially distance.

For businesses with employees across multiple sites, or home working, it’s much more efficient to ask them to log in to training where they are, rather than travel to it.

As well as time savings, there are cost savings. No venue hire is needed and travel expenses are reduced (for participants and trainers).

For some people, particularly the more introverted, the barrier created by virtual training might actually be beneficial. They may feel more comfortable in their own space and therefore more receptive to learning.

What will actually happen?

We believe that virtual training is here to stay – but not in all circumstances.

Many organisations will be enjoying the cost benefits of remote people development. They will be more discerning about when they need to bring employees together for face to face training. This might become particularly true for shorter training sessions, such as masterclasses and “lunch and learns”.

However, the phrase “Zoom fatigue” is already part of our popular culture and for good reason. The wellbeing implications of continued isolation must be taken into account.

We anticipate that face to face training will return. But perhaps in a different form…

Organisations may come to appreciate the value of bringing teams together for training from a social aspect, as much as for learning skills. In-person development opportunities will happen less often, but become much more of an “occasion” as a result.

Done well, this hybrid way of working could both reduce costs and increase the benefits from developing your people.

How will Change Formation develop?

Since the start of the first lockdown we have become adept at delivering all sorts of training remotely. It has been a challenge, but not always an unwelcome one, to invent new ways of working to engage and inspire our participants through a screen.

Coming to a training room near you soon…hopefully!

We’ve gained so many insights from this enforced distancing and we will be applying them to our work in the future.

However, we are also keen to get back “in the room”. Working face to face gives us much more opportunity to interact and add value to the training experience.

We’ll be working closely with our clients to understand their individual situations and how their working models will be changing, with many embracing home working as a permanent feature. For these organisations, in-person training will become even more valuable, as a way to build relationships between team members who have fewer chances to see each other day to day.

It’s a new world, and one that we’re looking forward to exploring.

If you’d like to discuss how your people development needs should adapt to your new ways of working, call us on 01444 702 701.

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