Article: The changing paradigm of corporate learning

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The changing paradigm of corporate learning

As repetitive tasks as a function of human labor become obsolete, what role does corporate learning play in such changing times?
The changing paradigm of corporate learning

Many companies have benefitted from the technological change that is currently sweeping through Indian markets. The changing environment has helped companies leverage such technologies to cut costs and remain competitive while young start-ups have come up to create their space and provide innovative use of such technologies. The increasing use of automation, robotics and AI have in many parts increased the efficiency of business processes. Given their widespread acceptance in the business world today, such technological trends are here to stay.

One of the defining facets of this technological development has been its ability to replace human labor. Signs of this have been emerging across the globe. It comes as a little surprise when the World Economic Forum (WEF) calls this period the “fourth industrial revolution,” reminiscent of the industrial revolution where the burst of technological development led to the rapid revolution of jobs.

Keeping with the nature of change, many economists and labor experts predict similar effects: a significant shift in how humans interact and work with companies. But the situation is quite different today. Jobs have gotten increasingly specialized. Thus possessing the requisite skills are necessary for humans to remain productive. Or else many, like their job role, face the threat of becoming obsolete.  

In India, this was exhibited by service industries like IT, and even manufacturing companies who have begun to adopt these newer technologies leading to layoffs and workforce restructures, all showcasing the impact that automation, digitization, and robotics have on jobs today. Slowly other sectors like Banking and BFSI are also waking up to these benefits, all forcing the need for employees to reskill. 

Although rates of such adoption vary across sectors, the signs are clear. As more companies begin embracing the use of such technologies, there would be a need to keep the workforce updated and skilled to remain relevant and find gainful employment in the country.  

Even employees currently employed in sectors such as IT and BFSI face the changing nature of work which demands new skill sets. For companies, this means that their learning programs have become ever more important in ensuring their workforce remains productive. Corporate learning programs, especially in technology, have to cater to the demand for better skills.  As agility becomes a business focus, learning systems are beginning to reflect such needs. The rising skill miss-match has led to companies realigning their learning prerogatives. 

For many L&D practitioners, it means to evolve both their learning content and delivery mechanisms. The advent of trends like microlearning and on-the-go learning have slowly become a need in various sector.  Updated content and the use of modern technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are soon to become defining trends within the L&D space. In addition to using eLearning and micro-learning, they need to use immersive, accessible (anytime, anywhere), and data backed learning strategies that enable employees both to learn new skills and refine and update current skillsets. 

Not just the employers but even the employees are more aware of their role. As a company’s talent demands evolve, many have begun realizing the need to become lifelong learners to ensure they remain employable. With the emergence of new technologies and new business practices, the skills that were required to succeed yesterday are not the same as those required to succeed today or tomorrow.

Although the use of newer more interactive and accessible technologies are an effective way to address the skills gap, it will still remain a part of the equation. Corporate learning programs need to reflect the shift in mindset that leaders and executives envisage for their companies. 

Companies today need to proactively anticipate the benchmarks of the future and tweak their learning objectives accordingly. If employers want to fill skills gaps with appropriately skilled workers, they need to provide employees with the development opportunities to meet the demands of their current as well as future roles. Not a stop-gap solution to meet the need of the hour.

In light of such changes in how companies, both big and small, operate many old parameters are being re-written. And so has been the case with corporate learning landscape. As machines get smarter in their function, so is the need for their human counterparts to keep up.  

Know more about such trends at the People Matters Learning & Development Annual Conference 2018 on 23rd October. Register here.

Topics: Learning & Development

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