We are in the middle of an unprecedented business environment, going through something that organizations have never experienced before. Certain industries are facing headwinds, but at the same time, some industries face tailwinds. Fortunately, IT falls in the latter. As they say, there is an opportunity in every crisis; this one is no different. Digital has found a new focus and priority on organization strategy. The pandemic has accelerated technology adoption by many folds across multiple businesses and domains. IT has responded well so far to the challenging working environment. Organizations have quickly enhanced infrastructure to support the ‘work from home’ model; engineering teams are delivering at the same level of productivity or even higher productivity in some cases. Overall, IT companies can function close to a ‘business as usual’ state. This is not a sprint; this pandemic is going to stay for longer, and organizations are taking a longer view of that. At the same time, organizations understand that this is the transit phase, and we will be entering the ‘new normal’ once we are on the other side of the pandemic.
As we face new challenges, we need new ways to solve these problems, which means that we need to learn new skills. As they say, there is never a wrong time to do the right thing; the same applies to learning. This is the time to pause, reflect, and invest in upskilling and developing your people to handle the current challenges and accelerate growth to be ready for growth once you are out of this pandemic.
Organizations need to continuously evaluate and evolve their learning approach and bring innovation to learning. People are working from home and have to deal with challenges on various fronts. They need new ways of learning. Organizations can integrate social learning with structured learning, which is convenient, relevant, and meaningful to suit different individual needs – The adage ‘Different Strokes for different folks’ seems apt here.
Organizations need to invest in learning platforms that provide world-class content on various tools & technologies, enabling employees to learn anytime and anywhere at ease. Learning has to be relevant and something that employees can apply to work. There is no better way than to learn on the job under the guidance of a coach or an expert. Organizations should create an ‘Immersive Learning’ format, where teams can come together and learn while they work on real business problems. This is an exciting approach that enables learning in a psychologically safe space while having fun at the same time.
In today’s world, where social networking is an integral part of our lives, organizations need to leverage that to create a learning culture by creating different ‘communities of practices’ or guilds, enabling peer learning in an informal environment. While this is new for us, we have to adapt to creative ways of learning. Technology and digitization can make all this possible. Organizations can focus on leveraging the cloud to provide sandbox environments to the employees to play around and experiment with new technologies encouraging innovation. Everyone is going through a stressful time, and learning cannot be another thing to add to that. We should make learning fun, and we need to gamify it.
There is an important aspect that I would like to highlight here – ‘the human side.’ Along with other learnings, we need to focus on empathy, collaboration, and trust more than ever before. We all are working remotely, and a lot is happening in everyone’s personal lives. We need to recognize, accept, and respond to that. We must come together to support each other. No doubt, leaders have a more profound role to play in building a culture of empathy, trust, and collaboration.
I believe that our learning should never cease as we continue to grow through the toughest of times.