3 Ways to Effectively Train Your Employees in a Post-COVID World
As the world has had to subsequently shift drastically due to COVID-19, many companies and small businesses have had to implement new policies and sanitization protocols, as well as consider employing the necessary safety training for their employees to comply with current CDC guidelines. While the pandemic has had a significant impact on all businesses, it has had an even greater impact on small businesses, forcing owners to shift their priorities from conducting business as usual to now teaching their employees new protocols so they can perform successfully in our post-COVID world. In order to be aligned with current rules and regulations, employers should seek to arm employees with the necessary knowledge through essential health and safety training in order to move forward in light of these recent developments.
Educate Employees on Sanitization Protocols
The current pandemic has demonstrated just how vital sanitization is. Each employer must ensure their employees are keeping their workspaces clean in order to operate in our post-COVID era. Even after the virus isn’t our primary focus any more, it is still important that employees understand basic sanitation and cleaning protocols, so both employers and customers alike can have peace of mind while enjoying a clean and safe space. As we return to conducting business in-person, employees should understand the magnitude of keeping the workplace clean and sanitized so the business can stay open and compliant.
Roughly all businesses have had to update their cleaning and sanitization regimens in the wake of this pandemic, so be sure to train your employees on all of the fundamentals, as well as discuss the importance of these practices during this time and beyond.
For example, larger companies such as Target have issued health and safety statements, which describe the various sanitation practices they’re implementing:
- Increasing cleanliness: Frequent and diligent sanitization protocols.
- Masks and gloves: All employees are required to wear face and hand protection.
- Plexiglass shields: At registers, employees and customers are separated to decrease spread of germs.
- Monitoring and metering guest access: Allowing a certain number of customers in the establishment at a time.
- Dedicated shopping hours: Allowing allotted time for vulnerable guests.
Update Employees on Shifting Rules and Regulations
In addition to heightened sanitation protocols, it is just as important to continually update employees and keep them informed of any and all policies as outlined by the CDC, WHO, and other local and national health and safety organizations, especially ones that may be subject to change.
- Social distancing practices: Eventually, companies may not implement standing 6 feet apart in checkout lines.
- Guest metering: Reducing the number of patrons within the establishment at a single time may fade out and we may be able to return to no-maximum numbers.
For many businesses, the practices being conducted today may not be maintained post-COVID, such as social distancing practices within the establishment, and it is vital that employees understand things are going to shift as we navigate through this pandemic. Ensure that employees are kept up to date with current practices that are in place to allow them to perform their job correctly and safely, while meeting the required standards as set by other governing organizations.
Provide Employees with Positive Reinforcement
Employees who are working during this time are trying to navigate new rules to the best of their abilities, so it is important to let them know when they’re being successful. There is much evidence that exemplifies just how powerful positive reinforcement is within the workplace, and how it can dramatically enhance employee productivity and morale, so be sure to implement this practice when possible.
For example, employers can monitor employees’ productivity throughout their shifts, provide feedback on an area where an employee was successful, and publicly praise employees for their hard work. Additionally, make it a point to check in on your team more frequently and allow for them to express how they’re dealing with working during a pandemic. Boost morale by taking particular interest in your employees and their headspace, while also communicating clear goals for the team and the business as we move forward.
Due to the immense uncertainty we have been facing as a society, it is vital to take the proper precautions to ensure employees are ready for in-person business post-COVID. To guarantee that employees will be prepared for work in the future, the best course of action is to properly train your employees. Employers, particularly small business owners, should consider investing in an employee training course that focuses on COVID-19 protocols, as it would allow employees to be formally trained in practices pertaining to the current pandemic. With the proper training, employees will have the tools and resources to walk into work with clarity and allow for productive, albeit compliant, work to take place. A training course also could answer many of the questions your employees may have for the future of the workplace and allow for them to work efficiently even as this pandemic presses on.
Heather Bendinelli is the co-founder of Small Business Employee Training, a Bay Area startup that is offering a COVID-19 training course for small business owners and employers alike to provide their employees in order to become 100 percent compliant with all health and safety guidelines as set forth by the CDC. While her main passion lies in helping small business owners, she also is an employment attorney based in San Diego, CA, where she specializes in compliance in higher education in relation to various employment mandates.