The rapid pace and scale of technological change and global flows of information, among other forces, has disrupted labor markets and fundamentally altered the future of work. With 2020 having a major focus on performance and efficiencies, 2021 is about building capabilities to create new values and opportunities for clients and businesses, which is not possible without an overriding strategy for digital learning, and relevant content for skilling and development.
In a recent webcast by People Matters and Plethora on the new frontiers of employee skilling, Amit Gautam, CEO & Director of Plethora, and Maruti Pandey, Senior Manager, L&D, Sannam-24 came together to discuss and deliberate on the possibilities of embracing new emerging skills to redefine value for the business and the role of curating right, engaging yet personalized, impactful content in bridging the skills gap.
Engagement with remote teams:
With the coming in of the new normal, Maruti stresses the importance of having confidence in your teams by referring to the Pygmalion effect. In simple words, high expectations will inevitably deliver high performance. Simultaneously, he also acknowledges the challenge of role stress whereby a single individual has to perform multiple professional and personal roles. Adding to this, Amit points out how the time flow for employees has also changed as a result of this role. Collaboration and collaborative problem solving has become a challenge. What’s crucial for individuals to practice then is adaptability and learnability which involves the ability to pick up new skill sets, implement and practice these new learnings with the team. Companies must build a culture of empathy and ensure the well-being and psychological safety of their employees.
Building valuable learning experiences with the right content:
Amit highlights three key components for designing a valuable learning experience - firstly, recognizing the learners’ context in terms of their profile and current skillset; secondly, analyzing what the learner who accesses the content brings to the table in terms of the level of skill-set and knowledge; and finally, evaluating whether there is enough opportunity to practice and offer performance support on an ongoing basis. Along with this, one has to ensure that learning content does not add to the digital fatigue and burn-out that already comes with working virtually. Maruti raises the importance of the right medium in delivering the right content and suggests the ADDIE (Analyse, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate) model for building content that is business-friendly and learner-friendly.
A checklist for curated content:
“Finding the right content is a big process. It starts from being able to define the skilling needs at a very micro-level. The pace at which things are changing is very fast right now so a lot of skills that we need to learn are new, even the content has to be built for these skills in a new manner,” says Amit.
Some crucial points that must be considered are not just developing content but also curating the right content:
- Identification of key skills by the company, followed by its prioritization to aid in finding the most relevant content and platform in a short amount of time.
- Acknowledging the new skills that are the need of the hour, notably digital literacy.
- Building a learning program by taking account of corporate strategy and analyzing who would be consuming the content and how as well.
- Carrying out a strong Training Needs Identification (TNI) and Training Needs Analysis (TNA) phase.
The role of leadership:
In implementing upskilling and re-skilling programs, leadership has a crucial role to play. There is a need for open channels of communication, learners must understand why they are picking up these new skill sets and what they will gain from them. Clarity is important in not just pointing out how employees will benefit but also how the company will benefit from these programs.
Talent mobility programs can also be carried out efficiently only with the help of leaders who carry out assessments to understand skill gaps followed by competency modeling, competency mapping, and strong succession planning. The start has to be meticulous; every chain needs to be looked at and reviewed carefully to build the right training programs. The tide of resignations can also be reversed with skilling and mentoring of the employees.
A final takeaway from this session will be Maruti’s words, “Skill your folks! There is a selfish motive on both ends. The company sees it as an investment to enhance, upskill their employees and bring them to the next level. The employee sees it as an opportunity to add something to their CV. Both are equally important.”
With digital learning solutions the primary element is creating and carrying out skilling programs within companies, as important as it is to build a variety of content and increase its accessibility, equally crucial is to curate the right content, to provide relevant learning solutions for positive business outcomes.