The COVID-19 pandemic has not only posed a threat to the health and lives of millions of people around the world, but has also paved the way for a worldwide social and economic turmoil. The disruption caused by the novel COVID-19 virus is tremendously affecting the world of work and how we do business.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced organizations into perhaps the most significant social experiment of the future of work in action, with work from home and social distancing policies radically changing the way we work and interact. But the impact on work is far more profound than just changing where people work; it is also fundamentally altering what work is performed and how we perform it.
While people in critical sectors such as Healthcare and Pharma are overburdened with work, there are sectors like Hospitality and Travel where people are out of work. The talent engaged in each sector is exposed to a different set of challenges. However, one thing is clear, upskilling and reskilling would prove to be the backbone of responding to the impact created by the pandemic. Enterprises across the globe are looking at digital learning solutions to develop critical skills of the future for their workforce and at the same time, reap tangible business benefits of their talent transformation programs.
In a recent webcast by People Matters and Coursera on the topic ‘Building a business case for your L&D program’, Raghav Gupta, MD, Coursera, and Tushar Vaidya, GM - Talent and L&OD, Mahindra Finance discussed how organizations can pivot their skill development programs at a time when L&D budgets are threatened to ensure that they maximize the value of learning and align it to their business objectives.
Digital is the new normal
One of the key findings from this session was “Digital” would be the way of life and work. Digital transformation (DX) is ushering in a new era of digitally-enabled capabilities and experiences but is also accompanied by change and uncertainty. Because DX is an essential business need, new approaches to skill development are imperative. To ensure the effective development of new skills in this environment, companies need to revise and upgrade their learning strategies by developing comprehensive skill development programs. While this can seem daunting, new approaches and providers are making this goal more possible for organizations of all sizes.
Online learning can prove to be a cornerstone of employees’ development
According to statistics shared by Raghav, it was found that Coursera experiences an increase in new users enrolling themselves for courses by 15 times of what they experienced in 2019.
The reason behind this impressive growth in the enrollment in online courses can be attributed to the facts, besides following “social distance”, like:
- Availability of rich content
Employees feel they are getting access to top-class faculty around the world. There are no boundaries anymore. The certificate definitely provides status for employees.
- Greater ROI on learning investment
According to a recent whitepaper by International Data Corporation (IDC), it was found that organizations working with Coursera gained benefits spanning across employee retention and productivity, decreased learning costs, and improved learning experience, resulting in a three-year ROI of 746%! Further, the study also found that 38% reduced employee attrition rates and $1.12 MN recruitment cost avoided through higher employee retention.
- User experience
The advantage of online learning above all is the control it offers to employees. Learners have control over their own learning and can track their progress. Further, the breadth of courses available adds to the user experience.
The business case for investing in learning
- Learning in times of social distancing: The current social and economic situation is uncertain and requires immediate action. “Essential” businesses are operating under increasingly difficult circumstances — dislocated workforce, supply chain disruption, and financial uncertainty. Businesses not deemed “essential” have existential concerns, but must continue to adapt, evolve, and position themselves for shifts in the economic tide.
- Ubiquitous technology: The current pandemic has made DX an inevitable necessity for business hence, adopting more quickly, adding capability on-demand, and changing processes more frequently. The change in the line of business also affects the tech-skills required by ‘everyone’.
- Rapid innovation: The unprecedented speed at which technologies are coming to market has been described as frantic. Enterprises must attempt to satisfy new client requirements and adapt to various pressures quickly in an increasingly competitive economy. Even small firms must be aware of and respond to global and local trends. Being successful at innovation is a virtuous cycle. As organizations successfully innovate, they need to build the capacity to innovate going forward.
As organizations face the increasing pace of change, the challenges of recovering from the global pandemic, and resulting economic disruption, their ability to quickly align their talent toward their most pressing objectives will be essential.
Companies must act quickly to build up critical workforce capabilities. The coronavirus pandemic has expedited a trend in workplace dynamics that was already underway through automation and AI, shifting marketplaces, and changing workplace roles. Companies can’t be productive if their workforces aren’t. Building your reskilling muscle now is the first step to ensuring that your organization’s recovery business model is a success.
To access the full webcast, click here.