COVID-19 has drastically altered the way employees communicate with one another, as well as how employers communicate with workers. The primary reason for this is because working from home has become the new normal for many companies. Currently, 42 percent of the U.S workforce is working remotely full-time, per Stanford News.1 Looking to the future, Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics, said, “Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.”2
Remote employees cannot be successful without clear communication and regular updates from their employers. Josh Bersin, referring to “the new, COVID-changed world of employee communications,” wrote, “One of the most urgent things employees need right now is information. What are my policies for work at home? What is our sick-leave policy? When do I have to come back to work and where? How am I going to get paid this year?”3
By using a learning management system, employers can answer these questions and ensure workers across all departments stay in the know as they face the unprecedented challenge of navigating their career in the midst of a pandemic.
How an LMS supports corporate
communication during the COVID-19 crisis
Here are a few ways you can use a learning management system to promote good communication in the workplace, despite the coronavirus crisis:
1. Create online communities for employees
Because of COVID-19, eLearning instructors must be more intentional than ever about connecting and communicating with learners to ensure no one falls through the cracks. Also, learners need the opportunity to connect with one another. “Fostering a sense of community in online classes will make the learning experience more meaningful for online students and help them stay connected during the life of the course. Learning management systems (LMS) have built-in tools to assist in communicating with your online students,” stated PB Pressbooks.4
An online community is a place where learners freely share their opinions about eLearning courses, ask questions, and receive feedback from instructors and peers. Since online communities improve connection and encourage communication, they can be invaluable during this challenging time. Enabling forums and creating a Facebook group for online community members will further promote communication.
2. Conduct mental health assessments
How are your employees doing emotionally and mentally? It’s critical that you know the general answer to this question throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone handles stress differently, and some of your employees may be faring worse than others. A good way to keep a pulse on employees’ emotional health is by conducting mental health assessments through your LMS. Consider hiring a mental health professional to create the assessment questions and train HR staff in how to determine when an employee’s answers indicate that serious support is needed.
Employees whose assessments indicate high levels of stress may require more check-ins and general communication from their supervisors. Be sure all workers are aware of your company’s Employee Assistance Program, if one is offered, and understand how to access mental healthcare through it. By increasing communication and connecting workers with the help and care they need, you can boost employee performance and engagement as both of these areas tend to suffer when mental health does.5
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3. Share return-to-work plans using LMS social learning features
If some or most of your employees are working from home, returning to the office might be at the forefront of their minds. Since employees may be given last-minute plans for returning to work, it’s especially important that companies are entirely transparent in their return-to-work plans. McKinsey wrote, "Indicate who is working on the plan, how they are thinking about it, and when announcements will be made. Make it clear how you will be thinking about phasing and who will fall into which phase. Where possible, put bounds on the uncertainty: What do you know is definitely happening, what is definitely not happening, and when do you expect to have firmer answers?"6
An LMS can be used to push this information out to workers through social learning features such as web conferencing and forums, for example. It will be helpful for administrators to create a team of employees who are trained to answer staff questions regarding returning to work via real-time chat and email.
Improve workplace communication
quickly with a rapid-deploying LMS
Improve communication in your workplace within a matter of days by implementing an LMS using our Quick Start Program. Discover firsthand the benefits of an eLearning system by requesting an LMS demo today.