Prior to the Coronavirus lockdown, Metro’s learning and development opportunities were expanding and a massive range of activity was in progress. Then bang! The Covid-19 grenade went off and other solutions were needed.
As we went into March the Metro training team had a full calendar of activity for our four key stakeholder groups – the Metro team; Undergraduates; Young people; and customers – with ambitious plans for the rest of 2020.
On 23rd March the UK went into lockdown and while Metro are ‘essential workers’ the majority of our team moved to remote working and training was effectively furloughed, while new working practices were designed.
The technical process for moving to home working was straightforward, but maintaining team relationships and training, to keep colleagues grounded and valued was essential, to ensure that no team member felt isolated.
Those that remained within our UK offices, to cover critical processes and to assist with tasks that could not be performed at home, faced a very different environment and challenge and communication was critical in supporting these colleagues too.
Moving out of the classroom, tools like MS Teams and Zoom maintained workplace training and inductions remotely, with personal updates and socially-distanced classroom sessions to continue bonding and the social exchanges that are an essential part of learning.
Workplace culture and habits have changed since March and people need supporting through change, so helping staff and managers adapt is a priority, albeit in smaller groups in bigger spaces.
We are re-designing all our courses for webinar delivery, including micro and bite-size training, to simplify knowledge acquisition, including particularly relevant topics like Cyber Security in light of the new threats.
Brainstorming new ways to engage with universities and schools, to attract the next generation into freight forwarding is a critical objective, as is restarting learning opportunities with the Partnership Development Programme, BIFA YFN, visits and customer training.
Big challenges remain. Like how do we intensively train 150 colleagues on our new operating system, quickly and effectively and without large group training.
We are having to remotely monitor the ‘on the department’ training of new starters, to ensure that we still give them the support and engagement they need.
Ultimately it all comes back to the more time and resource (physical or remote) we invest in our people, the better their personal toolkit is, and that makes them better able to support our clients.