Employee training and operational risk in a hybrid working world

In a post-pandemic world – where hybrid and remote working practices continue to raise important questions regarding operational resilience, productivity and people-based risk – the task of ensuring employees are evidentially capable and supported in their individual roles may require employers to critically evaluate their current training and assessment methodologies.

Covid-19 impacted the organisational culture and social cohesion for the majority of businesses almost overnight. The large-scale move to remote working has brought about an ongoing and polarising debate regarding employee benefits and productivity too. And, whilst – in some cases – employees and employers report that productivity has increased, the shift to remote working for many employees has resulted in blurred work-life boundaries, increased anxiety and risk of burnout.

HR leaders and L&D professionals were quick to mitigate the impact of these issues by implementing more people-centric policies; ones that champion individual needs and focus on meeting the demands of maintaining employee engagement, supporting mental health, and re-building social unity across a distributed workforce.

L&D are also continually having to think about the broader aspects of how they provide effective ways to engage and train their employees in a post-pandemic era too; constantly evaluating which areas are essential to deliver face-to-face and what can be done remotely in an effective way to maintain in-role capability, control people-based risks and meet productivity demands.

Adrian Harvey, CEO at Elephants Don’t Forget, commented:

“The hybrid and remote working model by its very nature can manifest a number of control concerns that can increase operational risk and result in governance issues, diminished quality of service and brand damage.

We require our employees to continually learn and retain vast amounts of specific in-role information to ensure they can optimally perform their job functions and adhere to company policies and procedures. With reduced office controls, lack of peer-to-peer learning and in-person mentoring, it is essential that businesses have effective training and assessment methodologies in place to reinforce these key learning concepts and continually check if they are being understood.

The CIPD report that ‘webinars, virtual classes, open online courses and in-house curated content’ were the top three training delivery methods arranged or funded by organisations over the last 12 months. Yet, in the majority of cases, post-evaluation of training effectiveness was deemed as ‘cursory’; mostly judged by participant satisfaction, with only a small minority of organisations assessing learning transfer in relation to knowledge, skills and behavioural changes.[i]

Employers must be acutely mindful that assessing and mitigating competency-based risks arising from a hybrid/remote workforce cannot be effectively derived from ticked boxes on training scorecards, training satisfaction surveys, or the number of training modules being completed. Genuine competency-based risks can only be derived from consistently and methodically evaluating that training is being learned and retained by each individual in real-time.”

Elephants Don’t Forget are world leaders in the use of Artificial Intelligence. We financially guarantee that workplace training is learned and retained.


[i] Crowley, E. and Overton, L. (2021) Learning and skills at work survey 2021. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Author: Editorial Team

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