The Chief Learning Officer Symposium is where learning leaders from around the world come together to learn and network. The spring event spotlights the trends, technology and best practices of the top learning organizations that drive business outcomes.
When the speed of employee learning needs to keep pace with the digital transformation of organizations large and small, the solutions are far from obvious. Digital transformation is changing the learning and development function and the role of the CLO. It is as much about strategy and culture as it is about technology. So how does the learning and development function enable successful market and organizational change in the digital era? This webinar will focus on three core areas of technological and functional change for L&D: how to facilitate organizational change with cross functional collaboration; how to create learning experiences using AI; and design thinking and agile approaches and how to avoid common pitfalls. The speakers, Amy Loomis and Robert Burnside, bring direct experience from their years of work in the industry and through current consulting engagements. Loomis led the development and instantiation of IBM’s Think Academy and Burnside was Ketchum’s CLO. Join them in a conversation on how L&D can build resilient organizations that are well equipped to navigate the demands of work in the digital era.
L&D Challenges in the Digital Age:
Organizations including newly funded startups and large corporations struggle to find a balance between the learning and development needs of the organization and those of employees who want to be more effective. How do they create, curate and deliver the right experiences in time and on budget? How do we meet business goals, personal goals and find the right measures to ensure we are doing so effectively and efficiently? This isn’t simply a matter of cutting through the clutter of myriad leadership development courses, social media links or compliance training. It’s a matter of developing learning pathways that are purpose built to enable skills that are linked to professional and personal progress. It’s as much about what NOT to learn and how to build sequentially on foundational knowledge.
Solutions That Work:
While different industries need different flavors of digital learning — more or less focused on compliance, in-person experiences or specific skills — the core principles for finding a solution are common:
• Digital learning platforms must include a feedback loop that takes into account learner input in building and adapting the learning experience. This can be in real time or over time but it’s essential.
• Digital learning experience must be sponsored as a core business initiative from the top down, not just a functional nice-to-have perk to refine leadership, ensure compliance or improve skills.
• Digital learning programs cannot be one-size-fits-all. Each organization needs to balance in-person with digital learning experiences that are appropriately mapped by role, geography, culture and desired outcome. For example, deep technical training such as learning a new programming language works best via online modules while subjects that require nuanced application and buy-in like business strategy are best taught face to face.
Deploying artificial intelligence within a digital experience can facilitate the above solutions. Organizations that focus on this now and implement state-of-the-art AI in learning solutions will jump ahead of competitors who are relying only on traditional L&D programs.
Why AI Matters: Examples From the field:
New technology, skills and roles development are emerging far faster than traditional HR programs can keep up — either in creating content or scheduling traditional training sessions. No sooner has one program been fully executed than the next needs to be deployed. Additionally, organizations themselves are under pressure to adapt to the digital transformation of their services; it is a “do or die” moment — either one adapts or one goes the way of companies like Kodak. Examples of successful implementations of doing this kind of new AI-enabled learning solution include IBM’s Think Academy and Ketchum’s Race to Make It Real initiative.
Anyone in the learning and development field will take away the following key points:
1. Digital learning is a team sport that includes cross-functional support from other functions such as communication, marketing and IT.
2. The key to building engaging programs is to lay out the navigation pathways for goal-based learning that connects personal and strategic business needs for growth.
3. Successful L&D programs are led in the context of a broader organizational framework that foster and reward continuous learning and sharing of knowledge.
4. All of the above depend on understanding of AI technology and how it can enable learning that meets the challenge of the future.
In this fast changing business world, organizations are faced with the need to change themselves more rapidly than ever. Every change is based on a business transformation that should be supported by learning But how can you make a learning organization out of your business? Discover the six dimensions that will help your company build a Climate for Learning and learn about the three waves that make up business transformation.
The three waves that make up Business Transformation
The difference between a Climate for Learning and Learning Culture
The six dimensions to build a Climate for Learning
If you are asking yourself that question, you are not alone. Find out if your organization’s training has some tell-tale signs of training ineffectiveness and how you can measure outcomes far beyond employee perception. Join True Office Learning CEO, Neha Gupta, to dive into:
• How the human brain has learned, processed, and retained information for thousands of years
• What tactics actually work and which buzzword traps you should avoid when developing, evaluating or deploying e-learning across your organization.
Your employees want to learn – let this session help you understand how.
What do you do once you identify emerging leaders in your organization? How do you give them the skills necessary to grow and adapt along with your business? In this session learn how to:
– Equip your first-time, front-line managers with the skills necessary to be effective leaders
– How to bring in organizational support for leadership development efforts
– Learn how your employees can translate leadership skills into immediate on-the-job impact
What problem does this session address? The idea of leveraging technologies via virtual modalities is at the forefront of organizational thoughts, especially in the wake of increasing “low-cost” models. However, from a practitioner’s perspective, where do you begin? This session will explore critical steps that practitioners must take as they begin their journey into virtual training. It will provide a strategic plan on how best to begin this journey — with the end in mind.
How does this session address the problem? In this session you will learn the critical steps that practitioners must take as they begin their virtual training journey. It will provide a step by step strategic plan on how best to begin this journey — with the end in mind. By aligning learning strategies to emerging technologies via virtual delivery, organizations make a bigger impact on their people and on the company’s bottom line.
The rapid march of emerging technologies has ushered in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and along with it concern from many in business, government and academia about the impact on today’s workers, not to mention the workforce of the future. By 2030, an estimated 1.8 billion youth worldwide will not have the skills or qualifications required to participate in the workforce, according to predictions in a new report by Deloitte Global and the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education).
“Business has to play a leading role by not only defining and communicating what skills are needed in the future, but also by working side by side with educators, governments and nonprofits to ensure our future employees are receiving the education necessary to compete and succeed,” said Deloitte Global Chairman David Cruickshank.
Four Skills Essential for Success
Titled “Preparing tomorrow’s workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the new report found that four skills emerge when looking at what will be required for individuals to succeed in 4IR:
- Workforce readiness: Basic skills such as time management, personal presentation and attendance are critical.
- Soft skills: As humans increasingly work alongside robots, uniquely human skills, such as creativity, complex problem solving, emotional intelligence and critical thinking, will be irreplaceable by machines.
- Technical skills: New employment opportunities are being created through technology. Jobs that are currently going unfilled often require industry-specific technical skills and targeted training.
- Entrepreneurship: As the gig economy grows, youths’ ability to be innovative, creative and take initiative to launch new ventures will be critical.
Financial investment alone will not employ 1.8 billion youth. Instead, new system-wide approaches are needed.
Businesses currently make trade-offs between scale and impact, but this research suggests ways to achieve both. It is critical to overcome the challenges of reaching the most marginalized youth, including women and girls who in many parts of the world already face significantly higher rates of unemployment.
Four Recommendations to Bridge the Skills Gap
Within this landscape, following are four key recommendations to address the youth skills gap.
First, align stakeholders’ objectives and approaches. In order to achieve scalable results, businesses need to work with the broader ecosystem, implementing an integrated approach that leverages each group’s strengths and capabilities for impact. This includes coordinating opportunities, identifying gaps in training, finding opportunities for co-investment and sharing information about future talent needs.
Second, engage in public policy. Business has an opportunity — and a responsibility — to help governments prepare policies, rules and regulations that will benefit youth and strengthen our future workforce. Dialogue, advocacy, collaboration and influencing government are key means to drive results.
Third, develop strong talent strategies. Reviewing and adapting current talent strategies will be important to future success, and developing best practices that promote inclusivity and innovation will be critical.
Last, invest in workforce skilling. Employee training can no longer be a “check the box” activity, and businesses need to evaluate, invest and promote workforce training programs strategically so future talent needs and requirements can be met.
GBC-Education will take the recommendations forward through its Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative by establishing an Action Hub, which will share information about programs that are working in the hopes that they can be scaled or easily duplicated.
At the heart of the issue is quality education and training, but there is now a framework for how to address the youth skills gap. Equally important, there’s a broad commitment across stakeholder groups and unlikely allies, led in large part by youth themselves, to bridge that gap.
Increased complexity, competition and change. Rapid technology evolution, disruption and speed. Emerging markets and global growth. These are the big business challenges facing global organizations today. At the same time, learning and talent organizations are facing our own set of significant challenges.
• The future of work and developing people for jobs that don’t even exist yet.
• Creating a learning and talent ecosystem that maximizes growth and employee engagement.
• “Reskilling” talent to drive business success.
Where do we begin?
These challenges provide us with not just an opportunity, but a big responsibility for all talent leaders today. For businesses to thrive in this changing organizational landscape, we must address these opportunities and take action. We are in a time of change and reinvention, individuals need to change in order for organizations to change. Ninety three percent of CEOs are in the process of changing their talent strategy, according to PwC’s 2017 “Annual Global CEO Survey. This is driving CLOs and talent leaders to evolve their work, products, services and mindsets to create talent plans that reflect the changes in today’s workforce. These plans go be-yond learning and development and truly encompass the entire learning and talent ecosystem — from attraction to development to retention. We need to strategically influence the entire employee life cycle.
The workforce today is increasingly mobile and that has significant implications for how work gets done and how we operate our learning and talent organizations. Forty three percent of U.S. employees currently spend time working from home and that number continues to rise, according to a 2017 New York Times article, “Remote Workers Work from Home.” Delivering learning, connecting employees and building a learning culture is more complex than ever before. This distributed workforce and shift in the way employees literally show up for work makes online, mobile and virtual learning both a reality and the norm. Embracing mobility and this mobile workforce is the only way to engage learners and ensure career growth for all. New technologies, social learning and leveraging user generated content are essential. Think social, mobile and global.
Forty-three percent of people in the U.S. are now independent workers and over the next five years that will increase to be almost half of the U.S. workforce, according to MBO Partners’ 2017 “State of Independence in America” report. Ninety-seven percent of them have no desire to return to traditional work and by 2030 only 9 percent of the workforce will be full-time employees, according to PwC’s “Workforce of the Future” report. This “gig” work is transforming the way we think about the workforce and the strategy we must use to develop and engage not only our employees but also the consultants, part time workers, temporary workers and gig workers who we interact with regularly. These workers are part of our talent ecosystem. They have important roles with our customers, our employees and our work infrastructure. Employment laws have not yet caught up to the realities that we are encountering with this new workforce. Companies like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb have an abundance of gig workers, both “drivers” and “hosts” aren’t employees of these companies. Due to current employment laws, they cannot provide development to these workers, but these workers have a direct influence on their company brand, their customers and their business. How can we “train” and develop work-ers who are not our employees? How can we manage co-employment constraints and alternative work models? As learning and talent executives we need to lead these important discussions and drive major workforce policy changes. That is part of our agenda.
Seventy-four percent of employees believe it’s their own responsibility to update their skills rather than their employers, according to PwC’s workforce report. We don’t “own” learning or employee development. The employer-employee relationship has changed and so must our learning and talent organizations. We are facilitators of knowledge and information sharing across the organization but we cannot even begin to manage the massive amount of information or content that our employees seek or receive. There’s too much input to manage today. The No. 1 place an employee goes to get information or “training” is not our LMS or learning catalog — it’s an internet search engine. The second place they go to get information is from another co-worker or friend. When was the last time you referred to the user manual you received in the box with your mobile phone? How did you learn to use that device? How do you find out about new mobile apps? Do you attend “training” or sign up for a class to learn how to install that app? An 8-year-old recently drove his 4-year-old sister to a fast food restaurant to get a hamburger. When he was stopped by the police they asked him where he learned to drive. His answer was YouTube. Think about the ways we learn today. Has your learning and talent agenda adapted?
On Facebook, user generated content has seven times higher engagement than brand generated content, according to Mary Meeker 2017 “Internet Trends” report. That means, if you want to encourage someone to use your product, having one of your customers post a picture or video about them actually using the product has more influence over future customers’ buying that product than if you post an advertisement about your product directly to potential customers. Think about how that impacts our learning in-vestment and agenda. Recommendations and communication about development opportunities from employees to other employees is a much more powerful marketing tool than any information coming directly from our learning or HR organizations. Find ways to encourage employees to share endorsements, reviews and communication about your programs, development opportunities, learning resources and you will get higher engagement and more customers. Have your employees make short video messages about the benefits of a learning program they attended, inspire your employees to share examples with others about how they used your learning resources. Use your employees as your marketing team and leverage them as learning ambassadors. If you want employees to engage in your learning opportunities, have the users do the talking.
While there may be some fear about robots in the workplace and them taking over our jobs, it is important to remember that we already work alongside robots every day. Robots provide opportunities for us to integrate new technologies into our work and in the workplace. Think about the dishwasher. Many of us have one and we use it to help us with a task that most of us don’t love — washing dishes. Before dishwashers were introduced people washed their dishes by hand. This dishwashing robot enables us to use our time differently and today we interact with it seamlessly. Having that robot didn’t displace everyone in a kitchen or a restaurant. It just changed their job. There are many machines that we work with daily that allow us to perform higher level tasks — the computer, mo-bile devices and calculators. We need to embrace robots and find ways to enable them to enhance our work and allow us to do more strategic work that requires higher level thinking and communication. Nearly one third of today’s work can be displaced by technology, but social and emotional skills, as well as creativity and advanced cognitive capabilities are increasingly important for organizational success, according to McKinsey & Co.’s 2017 “Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained” report. That’s where humans add tremendous value, not by washing the dishes.
Artificial intelligence and data analytics are growing in both popularity and use within HR, learning and talent organizations. How-ever, more data doesn’t necessarily mean more insights. Unfortunately, many people are not using the data they collect correctly and are not analyzing data to its full potential. The data you collect should tell the story, analyzing the data is just as important as collecting it. If used effectively, data should drive our decision making and influence our learning and talent priorities. As CLOs and talent leaders we need to focus on growing our own, and our employees’ “Insight IQ.”
The future of work, shifts in technology and new ways of working are leading the way for a critical learning and talent transformation. The organization of the future is the most important global human capital trend today and 63 percent of companies already have a future of work program in place, according to Catalant’s “Reimagining Work 2020” report.
This transformation is driving five key priorities in our learning agenda:
1. From addressing business needs to enabling enterprise performance solutions.
2 From providing service to the organization to being strategic influencers on the business.
3. From training employees new skills to building sustained learning habits.
4. From providers of learning to being “architects of continuous development.”
5. From being a service provider to being a business and talent adviser.
Think about where you spend your time. Are you running the organization and operating the business or advancing the strategy and growing the business? This new world of work requires CLOs and talent leaders to focus on advancing and growing the business. It’s a shift in thinking as well as doing. Employees and executives have new expectations and we are in a pivotal position to demonstrate leadership. It can be overwhelming when there’s already so much for us to do and so little time. Prioritize, assess what is urgent and what has the most impact, and ask yourself these two questions: What level of impact will the initiative have on the business? How urgent is the initiative to the achievement of a key business objective? Use this model as a guide to make decisions that can enable you to advance and grow.
Preparing for all of these changes requires a whole new level of thinking and an evolution in our ways of working. Fortunately, if we navigate this transformation successfully it will enable us to turn our workplaces into learning places.
Last July 4, the Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote that “There is cause today to be nervous about our national debate, in part because the tactics have moved from merely attacking each other’s arguments, or even attacking each other, to attacking the legitimacy of the institutions and conventions that allow the debate to take place.”
We can, and must, return to civil discourse in the public square. There are millions of homes across this country wherein civil dis-course still happens. In fact, home is where we learn how to air grievances respectfully, acquire facts and discuss opinions intelligently. If higher education can offer one thing to our nation, it’s building on what we’re supposed to learn at home: Looking at things from someone else’s perspective, critically (in an analytical sense) and compassionately. And if we haven’t learned these lessons from our family, then colleges can pick up the mantle and teach us to lift our speech to a higher level.
What better time than now for universities to emphasize courses and seminars on debate, critical thinking and apologetics. I see our universities and employers creating a partnership (and a place) where we can go to learn to discuss what divides us.
There’s a problem with higher education if all we have to show for our participation is one viewpoint. We have to infuse our speech with compassion and civility. We have to see these traits as an invitation to learn instead of naiveté.
In the early 1970s, management consultants began using the phrase “think outside the box” to encourage businesspeople to consider any number of options for a solution. That phrase is now as bland as oatmeal. But the original intent might be an anecdote to the bifurcated approach of today’s debates (if we can even call what we do with one another debate). Our arguments are largely one dimensional, devoid of facts and hurled across an ideological fault line.
One important role for the educational experience is to help us suspend our opinion while we learn. Brown University has been doing this sort of thing for 50 years. Since the turbulent 1960s (and to create a safe, organized forum for protest) Brown has had a policy allowing any student organization or faculty member on campus to invite any speaker of their choice. When students complain or object to a speaker, administrators point to a policy that’s served everyone for half a century.
Universities, many of which are research institutions, exist to postulate theories and back them up with facts. So why can’t universities model a way for us all to speak about topics where there isn’t agreement? Our universities, along with educating us about the tools for engaging in civil discourse, could offer the physical space for companies to explore charged topics that workers may sup-press on the job. Without a way to reasonably, kindly articulate how we’re feeling about our co-workers or workplace, employees’ emotions are bottled up; good people grow weary and may even quit without really explaining why. Productivity and ingenuity suffer because we harbor grudges or passively resist working with certain teams.
Imagine a workplace discussion where colleagues speak out on a topic you disagree with on moral grounds. You’re asked your opinion. You can decline to comment, lie or share your belief.
Does offering that deeply held belief become widely known and even get in the way of you closing a deal with a customer? Will your co-workers accept your right to hold a certain position, maybe even empathize with you? I believe our universities could teach employees how to not agree and see the value in a person or an idea held by a co-worker.
So how can a company create an environment for civil discourse? I believe it comes down to an employer’s values and willingness to let workers air opinions and beliefs without fear of retribution. Universities can give young people the learning experiences to understand and appreciate different people and ideas. Higher education can also provide the physical space and tools to help us re-claim civil discourse. And perhaps companies could tap into this neutral space as a potential resource for discussing topics too hot to handle on the job.