What we made
Safety & wellness training in response to COVID-19
The client wanted training that would encourage safe practices and amplify the importance of employee wellness.
If there’s anything we learned in 2020 it’s that, well, hindsight is 20/20. What seemed like a short-term blip in business as usual has become our new normal, and no one is more aware of those changes as social media companies.
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made recommendations in March of 2020 that sent over 70 percent of the American workforce home, our client was uniquely poised to quickly pivot towards a telecommuting mentality. It was one of the measures designed to keep employees safe during a tumultuous and confusing time. With employees safely installed at home, our client came to ELM with an urgent need to design training that would encourage safe practices and amplify the importance of employee wellness as the pandemic progressed.
The client collaborated heavily with ELM’s team to come up with the parameters for their project. Time to launch was of the essence with employees awaiting instruction from their at-home workspaces. The client also wanted to make it clear that they didn’t want to act as enforcers, but rather as partners in keeping employees safe and healthy. And, as COVID regulations and recommendations seemed to change overnight, the training would need to be updated frequently and kept fresh and accurate.
Operating outside of ELM’s typical process and timelines, the training highlighted our team’s new normal, too. One of the lessons of 2020 was agility: being able to get solutions to the table with minimal friction and maximum impact. First, to foster a sense of cooperation over enforcement, ELM’s animators created an engaging foundational storyline that helped to elevate what might have felt like a heavy topic. The animation style served as the base structure of the training, but animation takes up time that the client didn’t have.
ELM workshopped around the issue by using animated characters as a base layer for increased engagement while breaking out reference material into quick access points. This served two purposes: First, it sped up the time to launch to meet the client’s tight timeline, but it also created call-outs to vital information that users could access quickly and on-demand. With quick access points and references, employees could always pull up safety and wellness information when needed without going through a full module. ELM knew that learners have questions; our 20/20 hindsight strengthened our commitment to simplicity and clarity as two crucial components of providing the answers.
By wrapping the entire program with Rise, ELM was able to deliver an engaging, positive, and thorough solution to the client in just a couple of weeks. Of course, COVID information and recommendations are still changing, which serve to underscore our team’s decision to blend an animation-based foundation with mix-and-match components that can be easily updated and plugged back into Rise so that they’re always current.
The client brought 10 percent of its workforce back to headquarters in May. Their staggered return to work means 50 percent of employees should be back in the office by September 2021.
This transition, and future workforce return-to-office updates to come, required the client to revise its original content and script. However, even the smallest changes can become costly and time-consuming when working with animation. To account for this, ELM helped the client team optimize their content for future use by designating portions as “evergreen” (i.e., suitable for animation), or “frequently in need of updating” (i.e., suitable for text content) without sacrificing engagement. This allowed Facebook to adapt the solution to fit multiple circumstances and audiences.
Every organization—from tech giants to mom-and-pop shops—experienced some of the fallout from an historical and turbulent year. Our client wasn’t unique in its need to reframe the way employees worked, but their empathetic and intentional approach made all the difference in deploying ELM’s experienced designers to face the challenge head-on. As we emerge and look back at what we’ve learned, we can’t help but use this project as an example of what went right. The collaborative process on a tight timeline was a team effort; after 2020, ELM’s vision is clearer than ever.