- Worker training is one of seven elements California employers must include in their "COVID-19 preparedness, response, and control plans," according to the COVID-19 Employer Playbook For a Safe Reopening, issued by the California Department of Public Health July 31. Plans must also include identification of areas and job tasks with potential exposure risk and control measures for such risks, among other things.
- Training is critical to preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus within workplaces, the guidance said. Employers should ensure workers understand that COVID-19 is an illness caused by SARS-CoV-2, which can be transmitted by respiratory droplets shared between people in close contact. Workers should be able to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19, as well.
- Employer education should cover measures employees can take to keep themselves and others safe, including social distancing, handwashing and mask-wearing practices. The guidance instructs workers to inform their supervisors "if they or their colleagues develop symptoms."
The COVID-19 crisis has elevated the prevalence and importance of learning and development, in ways both specific and tangential to the virus.
As employers implemented mask-wearing mandates, for example, they've had to train workers to not only follow the rules themselves, but to also enforce them among customers. Walmart used virtual reality-based training to equip workers for interactions with shoppers ignoring the store's mask policy.
Productivity training likewise became paramount once employers began sending workers home to work remotely. Some companies are boosting training for managers as they step up to support employees facing elevated stress and anxiety, according to the results of a recent Willis Towers Watson study.
The pandemic has highlighted and even created learning and development opportunities tangential to the virus itself. Interest in growth mindset, focus and upskilling courses on Udemy spiked this spring. And the platform later added free content for workers impacted by COVID-19.