As COVID-19 changes the realities of our lives, our businesses, and our jobs, it has become very clear that old skills and capabilities have to lead to the new for organizations to accelerate their transformation out of the downturn.
While we don’t know when the recovery will come, we know that organizations that will invest in capabilities to capture the emerging opportunities will have the best chance for a brighter future. Thus articulating critical skills for recovery, building the base of future digital skills, reimagining training at a scale in a distant world, and bringing on an experimentative mindset is the need of the hour.
It is in this direction that the People Matters L&D Conference 2020 coming to your screens from 21st-22nd October aims to bring the community together to help reflect and find collective answers to uncover a new roadmap to build the foundation of a capability-driven business strategy for growth.
In an exclusive interaction with us, Krishna Kumar, CEO, Simplilearn, who will also be speaking at the L&D Conference shares his views on how investing in digital capabilities and skills is the road to the future and will ensure digital readiness and business continuity.
Here are the excerpts from the interview-
The pandemic has also brought back the importance of reskilling and upskilling of resources as part of the larger business transformation in the wake of the crisis. What do you think are some of the trends around reskilling and upskilling post-COVID-19?
There are two clear trends-one is that people who had enrolled in online courses have more time on hands, hence they are spending more time on online learning. Usage on our platform has gone 2x times. Secondly, if you look around, a lot of people have lost their jobs during this pandemic. But if you look at the retch world, it’s almost the opposite. Most of the tech companies have hit their biggest valuations ever-both in India and the US. A lot of investments have poured in. This is a sign to people is that the only way to continue growing in your careers is through digital skills. So a lot of people are taking to courses on data.
Another trend is that as universities are closed around the world and have resorted to online learning, students are not stopping at learning the courses offered by their universities but are looking at all kinds of courses. So online learning is witnessing an increased demand from both students and professionals.
How can leaders lead through these unprecedented times to build a continuous learning culture?
I think everyone is learning, including most of the leaders. Most of them did not imagine they would have to work from home for such a long time and they have the responsibility of making sure that their plans are well understood at the lowest possible level in the organization.
So they are looking at how to communicate effectively remotely, how to inspire people while they are not in direct contact with leaders. At Simplilearn also, we get together once a month for an all-hands call to discuss both the good and the challenging things and we make sure these sessions happen at the team level and the department level as well.
The pandemic also highlights the need to reskill and upskill workers towards stronger data science skills, a better understanding of artificial intelligence, and to expand digital literacy overall. What steps can organizations take in that direction?
Data has become as important a skill as communication and collaboration and a lot of companies have understood that. There are various ways to expand digital literacy, there is not one single style that will suit the organization. There are different kinds of learners and their learning preferences are different and hence solutions are manifold. Companies need to identify who needs to be aware of the data, who needs to be an expert at the data, and find suitable solutions for it. Simplilearn helps a lot of organizations in deep learning and build digital academies that help them upskill on data and related technologies.
How do you think we can cast this distance as an opportunity for learning, rather than a drawback or a burden?
Looking at our B2B business, we can see an uptake in learning. The prime thing that’s working in supporting this upward trend is that people have more time at hand and they need something to be engaged with. Organizations are also realizing that this might be a good time to engage with their employees and training is also a form of engagement. This way you are also giving your employees an opportunity to learn something while being in constant touch with them. And companies also realize that you might not get this kind of time in the future.
As leaders reimagine workplace learning, what are some of the non-negotiables for improving learning culture in their organizations?
The most important point to remember is that learning need not be a push to the employees.
Because when you push something on to them, there is always resistance. If someway organizations build a pull factor for learning, which goes a long way in acceptance. There are various ways in which they can do it. One common challenge is that what an employee wants to learn and where he sees his career growth, the organization also needs to see his career from his perspective.
Ultimately, if you can align employees’ career aspirations with your organization’s goal, that’s where you get the maximum acceptance.
Know more about the latest trends in the learning & development landscape at the People Matters L&D Conference 2020 coming to your screens from 21st-22nd October. Click here to register.