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How

Doing the impossible: Equal training opportunities for all

Doing the impossible: Equal training opportunities for all

With remote work here to stay, at least while the pandemic continues, managers now face another daunting task: engaging and tracking the process of their employees.

A Gallup report on employee engagement shows that companies with a highly engaged workforce have 21% higher profitability. They also have 17% more productivity than companies with a disengaged workforce. So how do companies overcome one of the biggest HR challenges of the present?

Photo from Unsplash

Furthermore, with business operations being shifted online, managers are presented with another challenge — the increasing digital skills gap between the younger and older generation of workers. Many older generation workers lack the technological skills to successfully adapt to the changes in technological trends

It is now all the more crucial that managers leverage on their available resources to ensure no employee gets left behind while working remotely in the pandemic— the new employees who lack proper onboarding, or even the experienced, older employees who struggle to adapt to the shift from offline to online. 

Online training and employee polls are just examples of accessible technology available to companies. However, a recent poll by Gartner suggests that only 16% of companies leverage technology to track employee progress and engagement. Perhaps managers are also intimidated by the transition from traditional to online, or are unsure of where to get started?

ArcLab Training

We pride ourselves in giving ArcLab users the best remote training and learning experience possible. This is why we provide support for your workforce anytime, anywhere, in any language (yes, training modules can be created in other languages besides English!). More importantly, ArcLab is easily accessible to low skilled and the older generation of workers. While it is important to upskill your existing workforce, ensuring proper onboarding for new team members is also crucial to ease their transition into your company. ArcLab allows you to create different training modules to conduct your onboarding and training concurrently. Adapt your training materials to cater to the needs of your workforce and training goals. Check out ArcLab Discover to see how different businesses use ArcLab.

See how Fei Siong Group uses ArcLab while training their employees, most of whom are non-English speaking!

ArcLab Technology

With ArcLab, we can help smoothen this process. To streamline the transition process for new users, there is no software to install or download — not only is it user friendly, it does not take up any additional space in your computer database. For companies who are already in the process of transitioning online, ArcLab can even be used alongside any existing HRMS/ LMS. ArcLab’s interface is equipped with a wide variety of tools to help your company deliver training and performance support. Apart from the customisable designs and rich visual media, ArcLab also has a learner assessment and analytics function. Assess your employees’ understanding with the different assessment methods. Track their progress with the data we collate from your learners’ responses. Get to experience the ease of using technology for our low and affordable pricing.

ArcLab’s interface empowers you with a wide variety of tools

The transition from offline to online can be intimidating. Let ArcLab help smoothen that transition and start your journey with us now!

Categories
How

Retail’s digital tsunami strikes

Retail’s digital tsunami strikes

COVID-19 forced many industries to pivot to digital, and pivot quickly. The retail industry is no exception.

In the past few years (even pre-Covid), the retail industry had already seen a shift from offline stores to e-commerce | Pic: Unsplash

In the past few years (even pre-COVID), the retail industry had already seen a shift from offline stores to e-commerce as consumers started to buy more goods online. COVID-19 has only accelerated that move into a tsunami.

The lockdowns in 2020 played a huge role in accelerating the transition to digital shopping platforms. E-commerce became the only way that retailers could make their products readily available to consumers and the only means for companies to keep their business afloat.

Retailers now have no choice but to embrace digital.

Data from Singapore’s Department of Statistics show an undeniable increase in online retail sales from March 2020 to July 2020, the period when Singapore entered her COVID-19 Circuit Breaker.

Source: Singapore Department of Statistics

Big e-commerce players like Lazada, Qoo10 and Shopee also saw a spike in platform sales. According to Vulcan Post, Shopee experienced an 82% increase in the number of user visits from 6 million visits in the first quarter of 2020, to 11 million visits in the second quarter of 2020.

Has the e-commerce future arrived “early” for the retail industry?

Indeed, Singapore has witnessed an increase in emerging small businesses online, some online only.

By having an online presence, companies are able to reach significantly more consumers as opposed to relying on human traffic visiting a physical store.

With retailers adding online channels and using technology to their advantage — products, customer service chat, doorstep delivery, personal online shopping and even virtual product try-ons can make your business available to consumers 24/7, all around the world.

Equipping the Retail Workforce for the e-Commerce Present

With operations shifting online, it is necessary that retail training and HR processes be taken digital as well — to increase efficiency and reduce cost for retailers.

Training new hires online isn’t as daunting of a task as it might seem. In fact, it saves companies the trouble, time and money of organising physical training sessions. The training content would also need to change. E.g. Following the shift from physical to online stores, staff need to be retrained to learn how to serve customers online rather than face-to-face.

With ArcLab, creating training modules has been made simple with our easy-to-use interface. Disseminate the modules digitally to all staff at a few clicks of the button and our system automatically tracks their performances and stores all necessary records.

You can use ArcLab ‘s Customer Service 101 series to get you started.

ArcLab Customer Service 101 modules | Source: https://arclab.io/retail

We’ve built ArcLab to be seamless and fuss-free to start. Explore the limitless possibilities with ArcLab platform and get started on your digital transformation journey today.

If you need any help at all, reach out at growth@arclab.io

Start your digital transformation today!

Categories
How

Costly F&B communication issues and how to solve it

Costly F&B communication issues and how to solve it

Editor’s note: ArcLab works alongside HR Tech platforms to help businesses better manage workforces, improve staff performance to achieve more for the business, and digitally transform for the future.

We’re glad to co-author this article with Jolene Tan of StaffAny, a fast-growing software platform that enables shift-work teams (F&B, Retail, etc) to handle Operations and HR more easily — to share how F&B Businesses can avoid costly communication issues between HR, Ops and staff, and instead focus on growing the business.

How F&B businesses can avoid costly communication issues | Photo by Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash

Food & Beverage Services (“F&B”) is an operations-intensive business.

We want things to run as clockwork as much as possible. So imagine a restaurant where things DON’T run like clockwork…e.g.

  • Staff show up on the wrong day / time for work
  • Staff DON’T show up (thinking their shift is another day)
  • Staff show up not knowing what they’re supposed to do, or how to do them
  • Staffs’ shifts are confirmed at the last minute, leaving them with little time to plan their personal calendars
  • Pay that HR processed for staff is not what they expected, due to inaccuracies processing work hours, leading to HR spending unnecessary time double-checking shift hours with Ops…

Instead of staying on top of things, you’re fighting fires every single day, just barely surviving!

Fighting fires daily means less time to grow your F&B Business | Photo by tabitha turner on Unsplash

The downstream effects of haphazard operations are poor customer experience and inefficiency, as more time is spent rectifying errors. Staff will ultimately also end up discontented.

This is hardly the way to run your F&B business — or any business for that matter!

Too much time is spent fire-fighting and doing last-minute coordination tasks. Time that should be better spent on more productive areas, like developing a new item for the menu, and attracting new sources of customers for the business.

We want to avoid such disaster scenarios, which can happen if we have a less-than-effective communication and coordination framework for our F&B business.

There’s a better way.

Simplifying F&B Operations

First up — getting your schedules together! A schedule seem like a very simple and minor thing. But it actually forms the backbone of your daily operations. If schedules aren’t planned well, you can expect mess on the ground.

But we know, F&B schedules aren’t that simple. Besides the multiple shifts every single day, but the communication with your staff.

Get part-timer availability on WhatsApp. Plan weekly schedules on Excel. Send the schedules back on WhatsApp. Then begin the back-and-forth dance because a staff can’t make it last minute, or you need to edit your schedule… sounds familiar?

Actually, you can avoid all the time and communication issues of this flow by doing all things scheduling-related on one platform. This not only reduces communication errors but also saves managers and owners a Ton of time! (specifically up to 70% time for some of our users).

After schedules, the next most crucial part is your timesheets. HR spends so much time on this because they want to pay their staff accurately. But did you know? Most communication issues are solved as long as the pay staff expect to receive is equal to the hours HR trusts and processes. This can only happen if the finalised time records HR processes for payroll is also seen by your staff.

That’s exactly what StaffAny was created for. Built for the F&B industry, StaffAny supports your complex operational needs from scheduling to timesheets, so you can save time and labour costs. Focus on what really matters.

Digitising SOPs

With proper scheduling, staff now know way ahead of time when their shift is. They also need a clear idea of their roles and responsibilities, and be trained in the tasks that they need to perform onsite, at each and every shift.

Traditionally, the task of teaching Standard Operating Procedures (“SOP”) to staff tends to fall on managers, who are already busy running operations and managing a myriad of other tasks. The training needs to be repeated for new staff, and sometimes staff forget what they need to do and require training again.

That’s where a good SOP system, built on ArcLab, can assist the manager. ArcLab empowers F&B businesses everywhere to easily author & distribute Digital SOPs, sent directly to staffs’ phones.

Unlike greasy SOP ring-binders that sit unused in the kitchen and available only to the manager, Digital SOPs are on-the-cloud and readily accessible by staff as-and-when they need to refer to specific steps and procedures that they may have forgotten, or want a second look.

Digital SOPs can also be updated each time circumstances and procedures change, and can be provided in multiple languages to suit staffs’ needs and abilities. Now every staff member knows his/her responsibility, what to do, and how to do them.

This means less work for the manager, who can spend more time on planning and executing growth plans. This means a more productive, and a more profitable business.

Let us help your business!

If you’re at F&B Business looking to simplify Operations…

Get in touch with StaffAny and ArcLab today!

Categories
How

Lives are at stake. Is your 100-slide WSH Powerpoint working?

Lives are at stake. Is your 100-slide WSH Powerpoint working?

There can be no compromise when it comes to safety training. Here’s how we make WSH training effective. PowerPoints optional.

In industries like construction, manufacturing etc. — there’s real risk or injury or death if proper safety procedures aren’t followed. How is your company conducting WSH training? | Photo by Yancy Min on Unsplash

When the average person’s attention span is supposedly under 10 seconds (less than a goldfish’s), no-one realistically believes we can pay full attention throughout a 2-hour lecture. Not even when the subject matter is as important as Workplace Safety and Health (“WSH”).

Yet many companies’ WSH trainings are 100-slide PowerPoints. How sure are we that staff are absorbing this important knowledge. Or even listening?!?

In industries like construction, manufacturing etc. — there’s real risk of injury or death if proper safety procedures aren’t followed.

So what can we do better to make sure that the training knowledge is effectively absorbed by our workforce so they can put it into practice?

Circle back to MOTIVATION

First and foremost, always emphasise to your staff that the reason that WSH training is necessary is to protect THEIR lives.

For example, how do we motivate staff to be trained to wear earplugs properly?

(i) Emphasise that learning how to wearing earplugs correctly greatly reduces the chance of noise-induced deafness, or Tinnitus disease (permanent ringing sound in the ears).

(ii) Show workers a video of the much more difficult the life of a hearing-impaired person using hearing aids.

(iii) Round it up by making it relevant for them. Emphasise that knowing the WSH measures and adhering to them means they can continue to be healthy, employed, and earn salaries to bring home for THEIR FAMILIES.

This first step is crucial, as it puts workers in the right frame of mind to receive their training.

Make Training Effective

Here are 4 simple steps that help you maximise your WSH training impact:

  1. Keep it short. Training shouldn’t be conducted in a 2-hour stretch. Nobody can pay attention for that long. So break them up into shorter segments as schedules permit.
  2. Use digital & multimedia for better learner engagement & knowledge retention. Create digital learning modules, and use simple pictures & infographics that often convey knowledge better than lots of text. Videos should also be used if resources permit (Lume5, which we use ourselves, is an example of affordable & easy-to-use video software).
  3. Build in interactivity & assessment. After knowledge has been conveyed, test retention with simple assessment quizzes, which can be multiple-choice or open-ended. This gives your organisation the data to work more with staff who need more help.
  4. Provide performance support. By making learning materials digital, these can now be housed in the cloud, readily accessible as Digital SOPs as-and-when your staff need it. A good time could be right before they start their construction project, to ensure they refresh all the WSH training knowledge, to keep themselves safe onsite.

Your workers are now able to absorb your important WSH training content in bite-sizes:

“Just-in-time, just-enough, just-for me”

You have certainty that they understand the material, and can help those who need a little more guidance.

Supervisors and foremen can then focus their attention on ensuring compliance, which should come automatically because workers know the importance of WHY they should comply, and are effectively trained on HOW to put into practice.


Create YOUR OWN effective WSH Training

WSH module built on ArcLab

We conclude by sharing a sample WSH module built on ArcLab’s mobile learning platform.

Feel free to try it out.

You can adapting it for your workforce simply by using ArcLab’s Remix feature.

Select from the different templates in ArcLab Discover, and remix them easily to fit your company’s branding, tone, messaging and specific training content.

Use ArcLab to easily distribute training to your workers via email or SMS, so they can easily consume the training.

Everything is made fuss-free and effective for you and your workers.

Because your workers’ safety & health are important. Their lives are at stake. If you need any help on how to start, drop us an email at growth@arclab.io.

Start saving lives today!

Categories
How

5 tips for remote onboarding

5 tips for remote onboarding

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

The move to remote work has been a long and winding path for workers worldwide.

Remote work is the future of work.

Fortunately, I had been working remotely for three years before the pandemic, and in this post, I’d like to share some of the best practices I’ve seen in the remote onboarding phase.

Onboarding is tough enough, but remote onboarding has made it much more difficult. For their first day, no one will greet them personally, and they will not have a coworker seated next to them in the workplace. They won’t be around to meet their supervisor in person and will have to handle IT processes and other business apps on their own, albeit in the comfort of their own home and possibly comfy clothes.

HR departments worldwide are also figuring out how to better onboard new hires when they can’t be there to answer questions and calm their nerves. During the onboarding process, it’s important to make new employees feel at ease right away. According to studies, if an employee has a positive onboarding experience, they are more likely to stick with the company long term.

Remote hires will find it difficult to adapt to the company culture and gain a comprehensive understanding of the mission, values, and product knowledge they’ll need to do their jobs well. Team building is already challenging due to the lack of opportunities to meet in person, but there are ways to prevent new hire isolation.

This post will go through some tips for managers & HR to use during the remote onboarding period to ensure that new employees have a seamless transition into their new positions.

Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash

1. Prepare a welcome package

Consider putting together a welcome packet sent to new remote workers. New workers should receive the welcome packet before their first onboarding session.

The welcome packet aims to provide new workers with the general knowledge that will be useful in their first few days and months at the company. Making a video that welcomes new hires to the company can be a perfect way to give them a feeling of instant belonging.

Incorporate the welcome video into one of the onboarding process’s early stages. Make most of your training videos through training webinars, where you can deliver pre-recorded or live training to your remote employees.

ArcLab’s proprietary platform is ideal for remote onboarding, particularly for workers who are deskless or using a mobile. You can leverage nano learning modules to provide bite-size learning content, which is 5–7 minutes long and include videos and short quizzes to reinforce understanding.

2. Establish clear goals from the start

You give new employee the best chance of success by spelling out their expectations before their first day. They won’t be left in the dark and won’t have to ask too many questions if they have a good picture of their roles and what’s expected of them.

The most effective way to do this is to create a schedule for and new employee that includes time for training, assessments, and check-ins. Openly discuss business principles, new tasks they’ll be working on, team priorities, and personal ambitions.

Your top priority is to ensure that new hires know their roles and the tools/software/applications they’ll need to complete their tasks. Allow time for the IT team to set up their technology and answer any questions. Finally, provide them with the complete documentation of their onboarding process to relate to it during their first few weeks on the job.

3. Assign a buddy/mentor

A typical first day for a recruit will include a workplace tour, introductions to coworkers, and a series of in-person orientation sessions. Since all of this is temporary, it’s important to focus on establishing connections between new hires and their virtual teams.

Consider assigning a buddy to each new hire to chat as they adapt to their new job. They can ask them any questions they don’t want to ask the Slack community. This buddy can be a mentor, a team member, or a volunteer who has already been through the onboarding process. The aim is to connect new workers with someone who can help them get a head start in their new role.

Making early connections is an important part of a person’s first few weeks at a new company. Encourage team members to schedule introductory meetings with new hires so that everyone can establish a good relationship right away and feel less lonely.

4. Include collaborative learning

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Ensure that the remote workers have plenty of chances to learn from one another. This is particularly important during the onboarding phase because it provides another way to promote a positive team-oriented culture, even if workers do not work in the same place.

If you manage a team, specifically, ask each team member to set up a video call with the new remote employee. They should take advantage of this opportunity to welcome the new employee to the team and clarify their duties. Another way to foster a remote-friendly community is to treat all workers equally and fairly, regardless of whether they work on-site or remotely.

5. Make engagement happen

A good mindset and strong relationships open the doors to promotion in the workplace. Working remotely has the downside of making it more difficult to highlight professional accomplishments. Employees will need to put in extra effort in 2021 to increase their virtual participation to access new opportunities. Employee engagement is much more difficult to convey and describe in a remote setting where employees interact primarily via email. Employees who work from home will stand out as leaders by attending virtual gatherings, engaging in online meetings, and maintaining a high enthusiasm level.

Make sure they have access to the same benefits as on-site workers. For example, if the organization provides subsidized gym memberships to employees, offer that to remote employees.

Although both on-site and off-site staff can be members of the same team, they do not all have the same level of experience working for the same company.

Build a remote-friendly environment that makes everyone feel included, regardless of where they work, for the company to be effective in onboarding permanently remote employees.

ArcLab Mobile learning solves training needs, offering remote training via our proprietary SaaS platform or a blended approach integrated with your current L&D framework. You can further learn more about how Nano Learning can improve your organisation’s work performance. Try our learning module and receive a copy of our Nano Learning playbook.

Ephraim, the author, has over ten years of experience in B2B consultative and solution sales. He is a technology enthusiast for SaaS solutions and cloud-based software. His personal motto is to embrace technology, challenge himself, learn new things, and step outside of his comfort zone to try new things. Here’s where you can learn more about him.

Categories
How

4 Productivity Apps for Remote Working (and They’re Free!)

4 Productivity Apps for Remote Working (and They’re Free!)

Editor’s note: ArcLab works alongside HR Tech platforms to help businesses better manage workforces, improve staff performance to achieve more for the business, and digitally transform for the future.

We’re glad to share this guest article from the Talenox team. Talenox is an intuitive and fuss-free Payroll and Absence Management solution for small businesses.

Love it or hate it, remote working is here to stay for 2021 and the foreseeable future. If you’re working in a team to keep the business running, you need to ensure that your team is well-equipped to manoeuvre a remote work setting for the long haul.

At Talenox, we’ve always had the option to work from home. And we know for a fact that it is possible to keep productivity up and business running just as smoothly in a remote work setting. After all, you just need the right productivity apps that harness automation.

Here are our favourite productivity apps for working from home — namely remote communication, project management and human resource management.

1) For Remote Communication: Slack

Pic: Slack

Slack is one of the most popular apps for remote communication and millions use it every day. We love it because it provides a single place for teams to share messages, tools and files as well as stay up to date. Aside from streamlining all working communication and contacts, Slack allows you to also create specific channels for certain projects which you can chat in publicly, within groups or in private.

With an instant messenger approach to communication, everyone can be contactable anywhere and anytime. Take for instance, Fox Sports’ use of the Slack app. From covering the FIFA World Cup across continents to organizing day-to-day communication, Fox Sports use Slack channels to keep on track. After all, the Slack channels allowed every producer to share crucial real-time coverage of the FIFA World Cup™, from highlights and notable celebrity tweets to videos of fans celebrating across the globe.

2) For Project Management: Basecamp

Pic: Basecamp

While Slack is great for instant messaging, Basecamp is the asynchronous communication hub that organises discussions way better than emails. For Talenox, Basecamp is our one-stop-shop for remote teams to discuss campaigns, link important company docs, as well as assign to-do tasks to different teams or individuals.

With everyone working remotely amid COVID-19, it’s easy to keep track of our projects’ progress on Basecamp. After all, the project management tool helps us break work into separate projects. Moreover, each project contains everything related to the task.

3) For Human Resource Management: Talenox

At the core of every organisation’s business ethic, paying employees on time is non-negotiable — regardless of the circumstances. Hence, it is important to ensure your payroll processes can execute on time and accurately regardless of any unplanned interruptions, even amid COVID-19.

It’s possible with an HR payroll software that helps you:

With Talenox as our HR payroll software product, we are glad that we can help thousands of companies reduce direct human interaction for these HR processes. After all, it is important that companies can still manage their HR tasks with ease during this difficult period.

One whole month to explore all the features in this HR Software for FREE.

From Payroll to Profile to Leave. Find out if Talenox works for you.

4) For Employee Upskilling: ArcLab

Constant learning and upskilling is an important process that helps keep everyone within the company relevant in the industry and the workforce. The best way to help employees upskill in a dynamic, accelerated digital era is to help them become more effective and efficient learners.

Thankfully, there are nano learning platforms like ArcLab to help you with just that, by ensuring your learning modules for employees are:

  1. Engaging to employees with the use of visuals and rich media; like infographics, stock photos, YouTube videos, training videos and more.
  2. Accompanied with Extensive Assessment Templates to help you understand each learners’ understanding of your learning modules.
  3. Able to automatically accredit your learners for attaining proficiency in the modules they take.

This way, your employees can upskill and even improve their work performance easily!

(ArcLab Basic is free for everyone)


4 Productivity Apps for Working From Home is a guest article written by the Talenox team

Categories
How

The Way Ahead for HR in Singapore’s F&B Industry

The Way Ahead for HR in Singapore’s F&B Industry

Editor’s note: ArcLab works alongside HR Tech platforms to help businesses better manage workforces, improve staff performance to achieve more for the business, and digitally transform for the future.

We’re glad to co-author this article with Pang Jian Jie of Frontier e-HR, a leading vendor providing cloud-based HR and Talent Management System since 2000 — to share how Effective Casual Labour Management and Systemising Processes can help bring F&B Businesses onto the next lap.

Moving F&B Ahead | Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Singapore is always known as a global city with a vibrant Food & Beverage (F&B) industry. However, 1 in 4 F&B businesses in Singapore go out of business, many within only their first year of operations. Ranging from hawkers, to cafes, to high-end fine dining restaurants and even reputable Michelin stars restaurants are not spared.

Despite the many ready-made tech and software solutions supported by the Singapore government grants, it is still a highly demanding industry to be in. These are some of the major challenges faced by HR in Singapore’s F&B industry:

1. Casual Labour Management

One of the biggest challenges faced by HR in F&B businesses is casual labour management. The employment laws are stringent and ever-changing, making it difficult to hire, train and retain people. Hence, businesses turn to casual labour which allows them to adapt to constant changes, from changing staff, changing competition to changing expectations of customers.

Having a consolidated and unified solution will save precious time in planning the working schedule and payroll processing. F&B businesses can reduce their labour costs as well by having an accurate and statutory compliance labour management system. Employees are empowered at a click of a button to view and swap their working schedules, removing the tedious process of manual approvals. Managers are also able to make use of dashboard tools which can assist them on future labour forecasting.

Bad workforce management can lead to undesirable consequences such as poor employee engagement, lack of visibility, increased stress for managers, lost revenue, and reputation for the business. This eventually leads to low employee morale, which can lead to good talent leaving your company.

2. Systemising Processes

The hallmark of any good F&B business: every dish sent in front of the diner is ALWAYS delicious.

To CONSISTENTLY produce good-quality food & beverage offerings, standard operating procedures (SOPs) are extremely important. SOPs systemise the workflow for the workforce so that the recipe in the Head Chef’s head can be replicated dish after dish for diners’ enjoyment. Teaching SOPs is in fact part of new employee onboarding and upskilling.

SOPs are essential not only for the actual production of the dish, but also every other process in F&B operation. Be it health-and-safety processes, or customer service — how to arrange the napkins etc to be ‘on-brand’. In today’s COVID-normal, other important SOPs are the arrangement of seating to ensure safe distancing, disinfecting the outlet, as well as new procedures related to food delivery operations.

Traditionally, SOPs are detailed in hard copy and often filed in folders. This presented a few problems for F&B businesses:

1. Takes up precious space in typically cramped back-of-house setups.

2. Can get oily and grimy from day-to-day F&B ops

3. Gets outdated as SOPs change, and considerable effort is needed to update them.

A much better way is to have SOPs that are digital. This solves the 3 problems above, and it can now also be made available to every single staff in the outlet or restaurant. Staff can now access SOPs and other training material right on their smartphones.

Achieved efficiencies in time and cost can then be channelled towards improving the F&B business operations, and thrive in the competitive landscape.


Find out how Frontier e-HR solution will support you with the information on how to best staff your business during the busiest periods: https://www.frontier-ehr.com/

See how ArcLab can empower your F&B Business to digitise your SOPs and other training materials, fuss free: https://arclab.io/fh

Categories
How

The COVID-normal Retailer

The COVID-normal Retailer

Retailing in our COVID-normal | Photo by Arturo Rey on Unsplash

COVID-19 hit retailers hard last year.

Circuit Breakers / Movement Control Orders & lockdowns in general forced shops all over the world to close for a number of months. Post-lockdown — social distancing requirements and income uncertainty reduced discretionary purchases initially and impacted retailers’ takings at the till.

In Singapore, there was some temporary financial respite with retailers (excluding supermarkets) receiving the highest tier of salary support from the Government, coupled with a small rental rebate (which hopefully retailers received…). This helped to mitigate some costs.

However, recovery ultimately depends on demand and topline, to which there is considerable headwind:

  1. Retailers that rely on tourist traffic — Vaccinations have started globally, but there is no certainty when international leisure travel will resume.
  2. Heartland retailers — the accelerated push to digital has resulted in less footfall as ‘stay-at-home’ families embraced e-commerce — which was more convenient and posed less exposure risk at the height of the pandemic last year. This greatly benefitted the marketplaces like Shopee and Lazada, as well as e-commerce enablers like Shopify and POS providers, and the e-commerce habit has stuck, post-lockdowns.

Some retailers pivoted quickly and opened digital stores on above-marketplaces to capture a share of growing online spend.

But it also takes resources to stand out in a crowded marketplace, especially if the retailer’s brand equity is not strong. Which is probably a reason why part of the household handouts from the Singapore Government’s Budget 2021 was given in the form of CDC vouchers, which can only be spent in heartland shops (see graphic beneath).

Embracing e-(and m-)commerce is the only way forward for retailers.

For more tech-savvy retailers, the transition may not be all that hard. The Singapore Government has also offered a Digital Resilience Bonus to support retailers in making that change — through generous subsidies to adopt digital solutions.

On the ground, we find that many businesses do need a bit more than just the subsidy, especially if there was no digitalisation at all in the retailer pre-Covid. From basic things like how to operate a POS for cashless payments, and more involved endeavours like how to set up the e-commerce presence and link up inventory management and accounting, to working with delivery platforms and supply chain — all these require new processes and procedures, which need to be properly documented so staff can be trained and learn how to perform their transformed job roles in our COVID-normal.

An effective way is to set up Digital SOPs, which can be stored on the cloud and easily disseminated to staff across the retailers’ multiple branches, accessed on the staff’s smartphones.

Simple procedural 101s, ‘how-to’ guides which the retailer can easily set up, and serve as important references for staff. And if procedures change, just edit the information online, and it’s now current when staff next access.


The road ahead is uncertain for retailers, but the spirit of community remains important for us who grow up with ‘the shops’.

Yet it is important for our Retail Business Orders to acknowledge that the way forward is digital, and to get our workforce equipped with the knowledge to operate the retail business in the digital economy.

This is not the future, but is in fact the present.

Retailers — You can try ArcLab for Digital SOPs for free right here.

Categories
How

Increasing ROI through employee upskilling

Increasing ROI through employee upskilling

Investing in your employees always yields high returns, after all, they are the main driving force of the organization. One form of investment can be via digital microlearning. This method benefits the employees as they learn something new while saving their leisure time. They also have knowledge at their fingertips hence opening growth opportunities for themselves. As for the firms themselves, this new advent in technology can help boost return on investment (ROI).

Investments are a risky venture especially when you are not sure of the outcome, but upskilling is not a risk but a necessity. One of the best ways to look into upgrading your staff is through digitalization, which is not just cost-effective but also efficient. According to psychology, human beings are disinterested in content that is not tailored to them, with microlearning this has been made possible. Statistics show there is 20% more information retention when microlearning is used, and there is a 17% boost in learner’s performance. Thus, showing proven benefits of this method of training. Apart from this as a business, if you take time constraints into consideration, training may become secondary. It is always perceived that the employees need to stop daily activities to do on the job training. With microlearning this may not be needed, due to the mobile nature of microlearning, it can be done at one’s own convenient time.

An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. 

— Jack Welch

Interactive Nano learning is becoming the norm in several industries such as F&B, Hospitality, and Retail. In fact, the projected growth rate for microlearning is 2.7 billion by 2024. The growth represents the success rate of implementing this technology as it makes it easier for employees to perform daily tasks without an information overload. Furthermore, businesses can teach their workers about standard operating procedures, and information about their products which the staff can relay to prospective customers, therefore, increasing sales. The content can also be designed in a goal-driven manner which provides a clear learning objective to the learner. This can be further reinstated via inbuilt quizzes and tests which allow the organization to test the understanding of the user. Test results paired with key performance indicators (KPI), can help companies track progress and gauge ROI.

Nano learning can be considered as a solution for frontline workers which not only benefits the employees themselves but the management as well. With a plethora of advantages being offered by this technology at low prices, it is quick and easy for a business to adopt this change.

ArcLab Mobile learning solves training needs; offering remote training via our proprietary SaaS platform or a blended approach integrated with your current L&D framework. You can further learn more today about how Nano Learning can improve work performance in your organisation. Try our learning module and receive a copy of our Nano Learning playbook.

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How

A digital HR experience

A digital HR experience

In our new COVID-normal world, companies are working to adapt and pivot their businesses.

Significant changes can be observed in Human Resource practices in organisations across the world, including the application of more technology in the workplace, which ArcLab was glad to contribute our thoughts to this Tech Collective Asia exposition.

What are some key themes?

First — the way we hire affects who we end up hiring. From getting your prospective interviewees take gamified online assessments to identify thinking patterns, to virtual recorded interviews which are run through an AI algorithm instead of a human recruiter. Such technology helps assess and filter candidates with attributes which accurately match with what the company wants for subsequent rounds of interviews.

For example, Hilton hotels, a renowned chain of hotels around the world has turned to digitising their HR. Hilton’s HR team gathers data from high-performing employees and apply it towards filter new applicants.

Existing high-performing employees’ data can be applied to new applicant filtering | Photo by Marvin Meyer from Unsplash

Second — digitalisation can be used to enhance employee experience. To manage the introduction of these new processes in the HR department, skills of current staff need to be upgraded. This means we need to familiarise the staff with technology before they can further hire tech-savvy employees.

Internal HR processes that can be digitised include payroll and leave applications. Digitising these free up HR Department’s time for higher-value activities like strategy and planning. Employee feedback systems can also be digitised, and analytics applied to provide important insights for the organisation.

Pivoting training (traditionally done through face-to-face lessons and by sending staff to external courses to upskill them) to online training services also allows organisations to tailor specific training content for their workforce.

Some important HR will always require a human touch | Photo by Christina from Unsplash

There will undeniably be aspects of HR that will require a human touch. For example, complaints about harassment and bullying will almost always require a closer look from HR, management, and line managers. Empathy is an (the) important trait for HR professionals. Technology is ultimate just a tool.


In conclusion, we need to take the right steps for our our workforce. Happy employees form the working culture for the entire organisation, which translates into the experience of the customers the firm serves.

With the right framework, we then need to apply the proper training. ArcLab empowers companies set up digital training for your workforce with your own Nano Learning modules.

To take the next step, go to ArcLab Discover today!

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How

Benefits of digitalisation and upskilling workforce in the F&B industry

Benefits of digitalisation and upskilling workforce in the F&B industry

When every industry is reaping the benefits of digitalisation, why not the F&B industry? Adapting to technological advancements will not only help the industry grow but also help individuals develop their skills so they can do more for the F&B business.

But what does digitalisation mean for this industry? Customers can make reservations, place orders, view menus online, and so much more. Technology can also be adopted for internal processes such as marketing and sales management, logistics, and training. The data generated over the software can then be analysed to increase efficiency and manage costs. On top of these benefits, using technology to carry out business operations is especially advantageous during this pandemic where social distancing is encouraged.

However, as an F&B business it is not only necessary to switch to tech for internal processes but also to upskill their workforce. With new operating policies introduced by the government due to Covid-19 along with new competitions, current employees will need to keep up to stay relevant.

Thus, digitalisation allows the management to produce dynamic and interactive training material online. This makes it easier to grasp the attention of workers during training and produces more aware and confident employees. What’s more? Tech can help reduce manual hours needed to provide onsite training and lower inconveniences to managers and colleagues.

Arclab’s nano-learning platform helps F&B businesses do just that. Using ArcLab’s platform, managers can create online modules to train and provide SOP manuals to workers. These modules can then be accessed directly through a web link. The software can not only upskill current employees but also train new hires!

Despite tons of advantages, some companies might still find it hard to adopt tech like ArcLab, especially people who resist new technological changes. Such intolerance from employees could result in extra work and costs incurred by the management while introducing digitalisation.

Concerns like these is why in Singapore not all F&B businesses are looking into investing in this area from their own pockets. Hence, to aid this change the government has stepped in. With the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) provided by the Singaporean government up to 80% of the expenditure of the switch to digitalisation can be supported.

The adoption of digital solutions can make life easier for not just the management and the workforce. Investment in digitalisation can give the businesses operating in the F&B industry an edge in the competitive arena.

Employees who are well versed with the standard operating procedures of the organization will tend to make fewer errors; data collected during the online training could be collated and used to make a more effective learning experience for the future. So why wait when the government is supporting your decision as well?

You can try ArcLab for F&B businesses here.

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How

Customer service in the post pandemic world

Customer service in the post pandemic world

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally in 2020 and it does not seem to be letting up in the New Year, with new strains of the virus now rearing its ugly head in Europe. As many countries go into lockdown for the umpteenth time, what is going to happen to good old customer service as we know it, be it at retail stores or our favourite restaurants?

As with anything, there are always two sides to a coin. The pandemic has created a new normal and in the area of customer service, some good has come out of it.

Due to the safe management measures put in place, the number of people allowed in restaurants has decreased. As such, there will be less people dining in a restaurant at any one time. With less diners, the service staff will be able to give more attention to the ones that are present. This would not have been possible in the past where you have a fully packed restaurant that was understaffed.

Another positive that has arisen due to the pandemic will be the level of hygiene standards and cleanliness of stores and food outlets. We have a module about food hygiene so feel free to check it out here.

Due to COVID-19, many shopping malls and food & beverage outlets now maintain extremely high levels of cleanliness to ensure the safety of their patrons and diners. High touchpoints are constantly disinfected to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and this indirectly prevents the spread of other infectious diseases like Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD) and the common cold as well.

On the flip side though, some people may feel that customer service may be less personal nowadays. Reason being that staff have to wear masks so you cannot really see the smiles on their faces anymore. The social distancing practices also means that they cannot get too close to customers so that may feel a little distant, literally. The warmth and friendliness you used to feel from service staff will be a thing of the past and in its place, what you will find will be a human who is there to assist, but from a safe distance, and hiding behind a mask.

When it comes to flying though, it is no different. Even though air travel is still limited to certain groups of people and not opened to the masses yet, those who have been travelling this period have complained of a lack of service on board the aircraft.

Most airlines have stopped serving hot food and in its place instead are pre packed food like bread or biscuits. Food service is non-existent and passengers get bottled water instead for minimal interaction with the cabin crew.

Of course, all these measures are there to protect the passengers, as well as the cabin crew but it does seriously affect the high standards of service that people have come to expect on board an airplane.

From the warm smile of the flight attendant who greets you as you board the plane, to her attending to your request for a blanket after you are seated. These are the service touchpoints that we have come to enjoy and expect over the years pre-pandemic.

When you remove all these suddenly, it does leave a void and bad feeling, regardless of whether we are living in a new normal. It just does not feel like you are flying with style anymore.

So there you have it. Customer service is almost no longer recognizable in this new normal thanks to COVID-19 and no one really knows how long this virus is going to hang around. Fortunately at ArcLab our clients have created customer service modules to ensure we are still maintaining high standards. Feel free to give it a go here, maybe you are a service superstar!

Vaccines are now finally available but only time will tell if we can return to the good old days where we took good customer service for granted.

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How

How ArcLab uses ArcLab

How ArcLab uses ArcLab

I often get asked “How does ArcLab use ArcLab?”

Great question! We’re in the privileged position to share with you how we use ArcLab because…ahem, we built the tool (and continue to improve it as we receive feedback and iterate to solve customer needs).

Let’s walk you through how the ArcLab team uses ArcLab, and share some ideas on how you can stretch the limits of ArcLab to more easily & effectively train & support your workforce. Anytime, anywhere.

New Hire Onboarding & Training

We built ArcLab to empower organisations to easily create & distribute training. Naturally, we dogfood ArcLab for our team’s onboarding & training. 😎

New ArcLab-bers and interns receive a personalised link to an ArcLab module on their 1st day. The module walks through ArcLab’s vision & mission, introduces teammates and basic work processes. This particular link can be referenced again repeatedly so it serves as a reference in the early (or not so early) days.

Doing new hire onboarding via the ArcLab mobile learning module beats having clunky ring-folders dumped on the new hire’s desk with no context whatsoever on the SOPs or training. In fact, a well-onboarded staff through ArcLab can get up-to-speed to begin work within the same day, helping your organisation’s operations much more quickly.

See how simple it is to create your organisation’s own onboarding module on ArcLab.


Performance Support / Digital Manuals

No more clunky folders! ArcLab Performance Support Collection, personalised.

The onboarding module I talked about earlier is the new ArcLab-ber’s 1st digital manual.

As our organisation grows, more specific and targetted modules are getting created to document train team members. We call these Digital SOPs or Performance Support modules, which are used to support team members in their day-to-day work, as a reference guide. Hence — “Performance. Support”. They’re really useful as an SOP manual that’s always accessible on our phone (Say goodbye to bulky training manuals!).

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Performance Support modules aka Digital SOPs were of immense help to organisations who had to very quickly set up split teams and remote-work arrangements. ArcLab modules created by them, as well as by us (see ArcLab’s COVID-19 Mobile Resource Pack) helped workers thrust into unfamiliar working arrangements to set up their home workstations, and still have the resources (now digital) to do their work.

For ease of organisation, we group these Performance Support / Digital SOPs into folders right in the ArcLab dashboard, which are shared as a “Learner Dashboard” with specific groups of team members depending on job function. ArcLab-bers can then easily refer to their required modules when they need to reference or refresh their knowledge.

(One other Easter egg for you: I’ve converted several of our presentations from Powerpoint / Google Slides into ArcLab modules, which makes for much better presentations. E.g. this presentation for HR managers).


Digital Assessments

To help organisations to confirm staffs’ knowledge retention, we also built Assessment Screens like Multiple-Choice, Open-Ended Questions, Word Unscramble in the ArcLab platform (that’s for a start; we’re adding more!).

i.e., we use ArcLab modules to test and assess understanding of what had been trained before. Learner performance is then immediately reflected in the administrator’s dashboard, and any needed follow-up can be done quickly.

We saw a lot of this during COVID-19-induced lockdowns in 2020. Organisations whose staff had were not able to operate remotely (e.g. retail or F&B companies — how does one “remotely” cook/serve diners or man a shopfront?) took the ‘down time’ to train & assess their staff in product, service training etc. Obviously these now had to be done digitally.

Then when the lockdowns were lifted, staff were now refreshed in their knowledge, and many learnt new things too, to do their jobs better as many of these companies pivoted to delivery and e-commerce models. F&B operators saw food delivery helping to offset post-Covid impact of safe distancing reduced dine-in capacity, and e-commerce helped add back some topline to retailers.

These new business and operating models also require new skills and new training — and we can now use ArcLab learning modules to efficiently deliver them to staff and assess knowledge retention.


Employee Surveys & Polls (and many more)

We also use ArcLab as a Dipstick Polling Tool — via ArcLab’s Poll Screen and/or Likert Scale Screen. This can be votes on features, text copy choices, icon design, or even simply what to ‘tapao’ for lunch. With data at the forefront of companies’ decision-making, at ArcLab, we walk the talk and ‘dogfood’ it.

In fact, ArcLab’s customers have used our platform for Employee Appraisals, Peer Ratings, Employee Engagement Surveys and many more. It’s simply down to the imagination of the company’s HR and L&D team to utilise the full features of ArcLab’s platform, built for simplicity and flexibility. It solves yet another pain point of how companies can easily solicit views and use data in their decision-making.


Declaration Forms

We also used ArcLab to create a Visitor Health Declaration Form, helpful for COVID-19 related contact tracing.

Visitors to the office can now log their contact details in a contactless fashion (more hygienic) and their contact data stored digitally and securely. This beats using pen & paper which is environmentally-unfriendly. This also avoids loose sheets of paper which could run foul of Personal Privacy Data Protection laws.


Public Communication Modules

A more interesting use case is how ArcLab marketing uses ArcLab for, well, marketing.

ArcLab modules can be set to public, which we can include in emails, EDMs, social media posts as well as blogs like these 😎

For example, see this really fun public education module that Martin our Learning Designer made to educate the public on local attractions that families can go to during the year-end holidays last year.

ArcLab modules are interactive, rich-media, and can provide an immersive educational experience beyond just a static poster.

That’s great, engaging communication. Win-win-win.


We hope you found useful — all the different ways that ArcLab uses ArcLab.

You can easily adopt them for your own organisation. Simply head to ArcLab Discover:

Showcase

Explore the different modules, and remix any module template that you like DIRECTLY into your ArcLab dashboard, e.g. the Onboarding module.

One-click, and you’re all set to edit and roll the module out to your team!

We can’t wait to see what you come up with to easily upskill & provide performance support to your workforce.

And please reach out at any time.

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How

“Have you washed your hands?”

“Have you washed your hands?”

“Serving hygienic food begins with a clean pair of hands” | Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

For food & beverage operators, poor hygiene and food handling practices can lead to mass food poisoning, and in extreme circumstances, even tragic deaths.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/spize-fined-food-poisoning-river-valley-court-32000-13691268

There can be no compromise on proper food hygiene practices:

  • Don’t mix raw and cooked food,
  • Wash all utensils and cutlery before use,
  • Use different chopping boards for different food types,
  • Don’t leave food out for more than 4 hours,
  • Store food properly, at the right temperature…

But most fundamental of all:

“Serving hygienic food begins with a clean pair of hands”


Ready to test your food hygiene knowledge?

Challenge yourself to a Nano Learning Quiz built on ArcLab: https://b.arclab.io/fdhygiene

How did you do on the quiz? Let’s come back to that later.


Proper Food Hygiene

Whichever country we are in, all licensed food & beverage operators should adhere to proper practices, guidelines and regulations.

For example, Singapore Food Agency (regulator of Singapore’s food retail industry) lists its Dos & Don’ts:

It’s a hefty list of guidelines, which all licensed food operators will need to train their staff to adhere to. Therein lies challenges:

  • How do they ensure the training is delivered effectively?
  • How do they target follow-ups to those who don’t understand?
  • Do they even know who “gets it”, and who doesn’t?

Training Staff on Food Hygiene

Let’s consider one possible approach of “delivering the training”:

F&B Operator sends the NEA weblink above to employees in its internal Whatsapp chat group, with the message

“Pls ensure compliance”

More likely than not, the message is quickly glanced at, and the “learning moment” may or may not happen.

A more effective approach would be to conduct face-to-face training sessions, outlining the practices that we want staff handling food in the kitchen to be familiar with, and to adhere to.

The training would ideally be a combination of theory and practical, with the participants put through the paces and assessed according to the required standards midway and at the end.

During the face-to-face sessions, the trainer is available to answer questions and clarify doubts of learners, and correct mistakes on the spot.

The approach above can be further improved further by the deployment of technology to create a blended learning approach for learners. This achieves a few objectives:

  • Staff have greater personal engagement and interaction with the learning content
  • Staff have access to an online repository of learning content (in different languages if necessary) – anytime, anywhere.
  • The Organisation can build in assessment modules into the online learning, to test the staff’s understanding.
  • The Organisation now has available the data of staff’s learning that they can use to plug learning gaps and arrange for follow-ups.

The end-result is a better-trained workforce, who know the dos and don’ts of proper food hygiene and can then prepare delicious, healthy and safe food that can be enjoyed by customers.


Unfortunately, the Spize tragedy is not unique. It’s one of several food hygiene-related incidents in the past few years.

These repeated occurrences cement the need for effective staff training, and making sure that effective food hygiene practices are put into practice.

The module you tested yourself with above, is just what a technology-enabled training module on food hygiene and safety could look like:

We created this with ArcLab Pro, our Nano Learning platform for anyone to easily create, deliver and track effective training.

Like what you see?

Go to ArcLab’s showcase to see more adaptable mobile learning modules and add them directly to your ArcLab dashboard.

And talk to us today.

Categories
How

The Colour Orange

The Colour Orange

Photo by Matteo Fusco on Unsplash

As we continue to battle the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Singapore Government moved its disease outbreak response up a level to DORSCON Orange on 7 Feb 2020.

DORSCON Orange means additional precautionary measures to minimise the risk of further transmission of the virus in the community, detailed by Singapore’s Ministry of Health here. This includes responsibilities of employers to ensure daily health checks at the workplace, and ensure Business Continuity Plans (“BCP”) are in place. For companies who need help on BCP, here is an Enterprise Singapore Guide.

“Remote Control” In Practice

BCP is important, and requires proper PRIOR planning.

ArcLab works out of the offices of Tinkertanker, our founding investors — who have been prepared for some time, and over the weekend put these drawer plans into action as a precautionary measure to safeguard the health and safety of colleagues. These include:

  1. Reminding colleagues to take temperatures daily, and seeing a doctor (wearing a mask) if one has a fever.
  2. Working from home unless absolutely necessary to be in office (either needing access to office equipment or supplies), but only staying as long as needed.
  3. If in office – practising good personal hygiene and washing hands regularly (asking any office visitors to do the same).

etc.

Team members working from different locations requires good communication and collaboration tools.

The office has consistently used Slack as default communication platform, and this continues all through the current coronavirus outbreak.

Now more than ever — cloud is key for collaboration, with files saved and shared using cloud platforms like Google Drive / Dropbox. Our product / project management tools like Trello etc. are also cloud-based, and keep team members on the same page.

In addition, ArcLab is built on Amazon Web Services (We’re an AWS EdStart Startup), which means our platform keeps running for our users, and we continue to be able to serve any queries that might come in through our tawk.to chat channel.

So if your organisation is looking cloud solutions that can help with split teams and remote work, drop us a message at hi@arclab.io; we’ll be glad to share our experience with you.

Keep Calm and Carry On

In times like this, it’s important for all of us businesses to ensure we keep going, to be responsible to the users and customers who had put their faith in each and every one of our businesses.

This means:

(1) Remaining open for business, while dealing with the realities of fielding calls for cancelled meetings, events etc. These are understandable in the current time, yet we remain accessible and helpful to users and customers.

(2) Focusing resources on the longer-term, eg. product development and planning. As tough and stressful as the current situation is, even this shall pass. And if we’d taken this opportunity to maximise what we can achieve in a later BAU time, the business is well-placed.

(3) Upskilling your Workforce. Even when we can’t meet for training. In light of potentially lower customer activity and volumes, take the chance to keep the team sharp and current.

Having the team being able to work remote also requires their familiarity with office procedures and policies, so take advantage of remote learning tools, like what we’ve put in place ourselves, using ArcLab’s mobile learning modules.

This includes a module about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus itself, which you are welcome to use (for free) to educate your team.

The Meaning of Crisis

This coronavirus outbreak situation remains fluid, and we all need to play our part to help fight its spread.

For employers who may be looking for ideas / solutions, do consider what I’ve shared above. Obviously these software are just tools, and require team members (and managers) to have trust in one another.

The Chinese word for “crisis” is 危机 (“wei ji”) — a 2-word combination of “danger” and “opportunity”.

So while the virus outbreak is unfortunate, let’s take this chance to put our BCP into practice, and use this time to sharpen them. And businesses that hunker down and do our best to serve our users and customers (even as we minimise unnecessary contact), do longer-term development and planning — can be well-placed to overcome this crisis, and grow from strength to strength.

(n/b — shoutout to our healthcare professionals who are working hard on the frontline of our battle against this coronavirus, and our public officers, public transport workers too 🙌)