Webinar Takeaways Series : Business Case for a Skills Focused Agenda

By Skills Hub - 06th May 2020

In this series of blogs our Skills Connector Ian Watkiss has turned roving reporter. He has been attending many of the free online webinars and has condensed his findings into these easy to digest bullet point takeaways.

Webinars are a great way to continue learning during these unusual circumstances. If you want to catch up on what's available check out our News & Events page ... or follow this blog series to see the Skills Hub practicing what they preach and upskilling online!


Business Case for a Skills Focused Agenda

Taken from two recent webinars:
Keep your People Engaged during Furlough and a Workforce Working from Home
Learning Curve Group
Its not where you go – its what you do. Working Smarter Anywhere
FSB First Voice

Demand for Skills

Online learning training provider Learning Curve Group saw enquires rise from 1.5k to 20k during an  early period of lockdown. While staff are unable to perform their usual duties, is now a good time to consider training in your business? It could be a good way to keep the bond between the employee and the business healthy.

Realities for business/employee engagement

  • Businesses must to be mindful not to overstep the mark between contact and performing work duties if furlough is in place. Though it is important and helpful to note that training & volunteering are allowed.
  • The realities of tech-enabled remote management will vary greatly from organisation to organisation. It is worth investigating ways to communicate effectively online. However keep in mind the importance of data security during remote working. 
  • Workforce within furlough will have individual priorities/concerns which could range from home projects, caring responsibilities, boredom, mental health, identity and purpose and volunteering.  These may also change over time highlighting the importance of regular contact.

Engaging both in-work and furloughed employees

  • Tech prowess and communication styles will vary across any given workforce/team where remote working is required. Keeping in touch with furloughed staff can be very beneficial (providing this does not stray into doing work). 
  • Cultivating an attitude of ‘compassionate leadership’ where quality of trust aligns strongly with quality of work, and that effective communication is vital for underpinning this.  For those who are working it is healthy to focus on outcomes rather than hours, and to be extra vigilant with recognising good work. 
  • For those who are furloughed it is important to keep communicating as needs will change. There is likely to be an initial drive to engage with projects around the home but then anxieties around getting back to work may creep in leading to worries around individuals working identity and usefulness.  This is where training can help employees feel valued and engaged during furlough.
  • Performance management still has a role and may help with realistically managing expectations from both sides of the manager/employee relationship. 
  • Management should consider managing the return of workforce on furlough. The mental health implications of going from 37 hours per week to 0 then back to 37 might be difficult. It could be beneficial to consider staging.
  • Management should also consider having sound business reasons if intending to bring some staff back before others to mitigate any disquiet or unfairness claims. 

Some Possible Priorities for Upskilling

  • ICT – communication, information sharing and security
  • Leadership & Management (compassionate leadership & remote management)
  • Mental and Physical Health
  • Apprenticeships (current and possibly new)
  • Future planning

Cultivating an attitude of ‘compassionate leadership’ where quality of trust aligns strongly with quality of work, and that effective communication is vital

Man with a tablet