The Role of Learning and Development in Maintaining Continuity

April 8, 2020 Kathleen Jackson

I remember asking myself this very same question in 2001 just after 9/11.  When many businesses experienced shutdowns and uncertainty. From a training perspective, classrooms were still the most prevalent method for instructional delivery, and during a crisis was also the most inconvenient. The ability to deliver electronic training at the time was complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. Today at Appirio we have access to a variety of innovative tools and resources, which allow us to design, develop, and deliver quality training quickly, effectively, and economically.  

And, why not? We were born in the cloud. The role of learning and development to maintain continuity during a crisis can be more strategic and responsive regarding meeting business needs, its leadership and employees. We can provide timely, relevant, appropriate training interventions anywhere, anytime, to anyone. 

Personal development and working from home

Appirio always takes learning seriously, but it’s especially important during these times. We  consider: 

Prioritizing Training Content 

If everything is important, nothing is. Employees often struggle with prioritizing business activities and training requirements, particularly if they are receiving mixed messages from managers and leadership. In addition, unreasonable expectations or accelerated deadlines to complete training during a crisis often undermines the intended result.  

Appirio works in a virtual, cloud-based environment. Our ability to support shifting priorities is what we thrive on. We understand keeping continuity can create challenges, but our ability to work together remotely is second nature. By prioritizing the most critical training activities, we can seamlessly support customer results and meet important compliance requirements without missing a beat.  

Having a Plan 

One of the most critical mistakes businesses make during a crisis is not having a training plan in place. The result is typically employees lose ground on critical skills, and learning takes a back seat to “regrouping” and “recovering.” 

Appirians understand the value training provides in a tremendously competitive market, especially during a crisis. Our plan on coordination with our partners is to adjust during difficult times. For example, Salesforce offers virtual webinars, works with learners on certification deadlines, and offers creative ways to keep participants engaged.       

Understanding Learning Barriers 

For training to be impactful, learners must be in the right state of mind. During a crisis, regardless of the organization’s ability to conduct business as usual, it is likely many employees will experience varying degrees of disruption both personally and professionally.  

Our Learning and Development team partners with Human Resources to provide employees relevant tools and training support designed to curtail the emotional and mental impact a crisis can have on staff. We also understand that employees are more productive and able to focus on customers when they have all the learning tools they need at their disposal.     

Understand Organizational Barriers 

It’s important to understand potential barriers that create roadblocks for customers and employees. Businesses that traditionally operate in a siloed environment tend to foster heightened frustration and complexity for stakeholders during a crisis.  

Some of the most innovative solutions at Appirio are born out of a time of upheaval. Even during this current crisis, Appirians have adapted, collaborated, and problem-solved to provide exponential value to customers. Appirio Learning and Development is a thoroughfare for information sharing and on-the-job intervention training. Our teams know how to collaborate, brainstorm, ideate, and succeed, even when the chips are down. 

The Appirio Learning and Development Team is uniquely qualified and positioned to deal with the disruptions that impact internal and external customers. We are a virtual, global team focused on providing the most relevant content at the most appropriate time, while leveraging the right tools and collaborative relationships to deliver an effective training process. Our role during a crisis is to help stakeholders prioritize learning interventions, ensuring a seamless and unified pivot in order to maintain business continuity.           

About the Author

Kathleen Jackson

Kathleen is a Global Manager with Appirio's Learning and Development Team. She is a 30-year veteran of training, and has worked in multiple industries including healthcare, manufacturing, government, and technology.

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