The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the globe like a year-long tsunami, rendering 2020 as one of the most unprecedented, unusual, and extremely powerful years. From a business point of view, 2020 has been transformative, pushing global businesses more and more toward digital than ever before. Social distancing, lasting lockdowns, and public restrictions forced upon us a new way of working remotely and making it work.
The tech adoption boom that enveloped global businesses to go “digital” has shown no signs of fading away and is expected to accelerate further and beyond 2020, ushering in a new era of working in the digital age, calling for a digital overhaul of businesses and a future-ready workforce capable of performing at the highest level.
And, as businesses embrace and integrated “digital” into their employee skilling and capability development interventions, there is an evident need to address the widening skills gap and reimagine L&D, its processes, training delivery mechanisms, and most importantly, the learning content.
Reskilling Employees For The Digital Age
According to Gartner, 70% employees state they don’t possess the skills needed to grow and succeed in their roles today, and it is up to L&D pros to identify the must-have skills that employees will need going into 2021 as well as engage and motivate employees to take control of their own learning, and reestablish L&D as a pivotal function that impacts business outcomes and returns value.
Aaron Kloch, senior executive advisor at Gartner states:
Disruptions across industries, organizations and products are redefining the skills employees need today. One-third of employees have learned a new-to-world skill in the last three years, and 40% of employees feel their current role is evolving. As a result, 70% of employees feel they don’t have the skills they need to succeed in their jobs, and organizations are struggling to keep up with new skill development needs.
As per the 2020 L&D Innovations Bullseye Report, a major trend throughout the learn-tech and digital learning landscape for 2020 was the increasing value of “keeping the learner at the core of learning design, creation, evaluation and updates.”
As more and more organizations opted for digital transformation of their L&D, it was clear that today’s learners preferred personalized learning and customization that was apt to add value to their roles and careers. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to delivering learning in today’s times, organizations can certainly leverage tools and solutions that offer personalized learning, from a learning platform with an AI recommendation engine to custom curated eLearning content, L&D can offer a myriad of benefits to employees for learning in the digital age.
This strategy also extends to offering capability development and talent development opportunities to the true “digital natives” of our world, Gen Z. However, the Z generation’s indulgence in tech-adoption does not mean that these employees are safe from the disruptions in terms of reskilling and upskilling to stay relevant and competitive in the future to come. As such, Gartner understands, the skills existing with Gen Z employees today (almost 40%) are expected to fizzle out in a mere three years’ span
Leadership Development In The Digital Age
According to Leah Johnson, principal executive advisor at Gartner:
As technology costs decrease and digital access among customers and firms increases, digital technology is permeating business, increasingly shaping how companies work and generate value. Pervasive digitalization not only tests companies’ business and operating models, but also their leadership models.
Driving enterprise performance, building capabilities for effective leadership, and fostering a culture of continuous learning are all key factors to consider as part of the L&D strategy for 2021 and beyond.
With global leaders taking on more and higher roles and responsibilities, L&D pros must be able to support them in meeting their added expectations. Responsibilities and expectations that leaders face today have seen a steep rise over the past years, and more so with the pandemic, including key changes like increased number of responsibilities, rise in upskilling and reskilling requirements, and increased focus on business intelligence and analytics-led decision making.
As leaders are weighed down with the added load of responsibilities, L&D must focus on helping leaders with the necessary skills and training required to imbibe cognitive and behavioral skills that will lead to personal transformation.
While global leadership development programs offer a range of learning, they seldom include curated content personalized to their role and function. L&D can help leaders with such personalization to offer introspective and personal development content that will inspire them to effectively run the businesses as well as foster personal growth. Going ahead, L&D pros must look into how personal development and behavioral skills-focused learning can be applied practically on the job, which would further reassert its effectiveness in future leadership roles.
As the pressure mounts on L&D to identify and close the widening skills gaps in order for a business to meet their business goals, the key is to focus on planning and strategizing learning and skilling initiatives to help employees adopt to “digital everything” and leverage the latest tech tools and learning content to boost upskilling initiatives to achieve a future-ready workforce.