Everyone wants to feel safe at work. People who feel safe will come to work more reliably and stay with the company longer. Covid-19 makes safety more important than ever. However, according to Envoy, 42% of employees noted ineffective protective measures or protective measures that superiors don’t enforce.
It all starts with training. Here are some tips on how to train new employees in a socially distanced world.
Know the Law
Stay up-to-date on recent CDC recommendations as well as laws in your state about training employees. CDC recommendations change regularly, but they remain the best guide for keeping people safe and healthy. Stay up-to-date by reading the news and signing up for alerts to your phone on anything that might apply to you and your training procedures. Follow all recommendations to make people feel as safe as possible.
Sixteen states have very specific requirements for what organizations must cover when onboarding new employees. Know the laws in your state and what you need to do to ensure that you meet the requirements.
Provide Ample Personal Protection Equipment
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) refers to items that help keep you safe while around other people. Popular PPE in the pandemic world includes masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and gloves. Certain forms of PPE should be required, while others can be optional. While employees should bring their own, having PPE on-site will ensure people have what they need to stay safe.
Place a box of brand-new disposable masks at the front desk of your organization for anyone who needs them. Also, provide hand sanitizer for employees and visitors. Place hand sanitizing stations throughout the workplace. Finally, provide gloves and sanitizing wipes in popular areas such as the bathroom and kitchen. People will have the option of wearing a mask when touching doorknobs or wiping them down first.
Keep Attendees Socially Distanced
Many training classes in the past put people into a crowded room in order to train as many people at one time as possible. Trainers would squeeze chairs together and pick the largest room they had available.
These days, training requires clear seating assignments. All chairs must be 6 feet apart. However, you may be able to spread them out even further. Also, the location for training needs to be very clear. Other employees should not be able to use it and contaminate it. If other employees need the rooms or the rooms aren’t big enough to provide social distancing, look into alternate options.
Many companies now opt to hold training at an off-site facility that makes a point of keeping things clean and safe. In nice weather, the outdoors can provide ample space and ventilation.
Discuss Expectations Early
You have a large responsibility to keep the workplace safe, but so do your employees. You need to clearly explain to your new employees early in the onboarding process what you expect from them when it comes to keeping the workplace safe. If you expect them to wear masks and stay 6 feet away from each other, explain that. You should also clarify the consequences for not following the rules. Finally, tell new employees where to go when they have questions or concerns about policies.
Use Technology On-Site
All training classes need to remain 6 feet apart at all times. This can lead to frustration when communicating with the team. Everyone is spread so far apart that hearing can become a problem.
Use a tour guide system to help people hear, especially in large groups or loud areas. A tour guide system gives a guide or trainer a microphone and receiver that they can speak into. All participants will have a headset to hear the trainer clearly. This system will prevent anyone in the back of the class from missing out on important information necessary for success at your company.
Classroom-style training gets boring. When people in training get bored, they lose focus. Many great trainers use interactive activities to encourage trainee engagement. However, trainers need to consider safety when choosing activities. Many people use markers to write on a dry erase board during a game, but you probably don’t want people touching the same marker. Trainers also shouldn’t use games that require people to touch or get close to each other.
What can you do to encourage engagement? You still have plenty of ways to engage employees during training. Try online games or presentations. You can even change things up by taking a small group on a field trip. If you do venture out, provide portable sanitizer and use an effective communication method.
A little over a year ago, the world changed drastically overnight. All companies need to prepare for sudden changes again. This means allowing flexibility. You need to have the tools to change training plans at the drop of a hat. You never know if you need to hold training outside or virtually. You may even need to lower the class size suddenly. Whatever happens, you want to keep the training proceeding as scheduled if possible. This means having tools to communicate changes and additional tools to handle changes that come your way.
Try Training From Home
Some industries have the luxury of training from home. This works best when most of the work takes place online. Create materials and work through them together via video chat or a conference call.
Online training also provides leaders with an example of what to expect from new employees who may work remotely from time to time. Is their internet reliable? Are they able to sign in on time and communicate in a way that meets your expectations?
Unfortunately, not all industries allow people to train from home, especially if employees must learn how to operate specific equipment or locate certain resources on site.
Now that you have the tools and know-how to effectively and safely train new employees, you can create a great experience from the start.