Digital is a quantum leap in the way things are done 1/2

By the 27 August 2021

Robots working side by side with humans. Virtual reality making it possible to bring professionals in different parts of the world together where a problem needs to be resolved. On-demand learning content available when and where it’s needed. Increasing use of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. All of this, allied with the true “skills revolution” underway, will open up a new labour market for the future, one that is much more dignified for human beings…

It’s not science fiction; it’s the real effects of digitalisation that we see every day. This was one of the many topics discussed in the webcast on “Training as a continuous process of development”. An event organised by Pessoas magazine with the support of CEGOC (Cegos’ subsidiary in Portugal).
This meeting was held by João Braz Pereira, General Manager of FranklinCovey Portugal and Head of Customer Performance Development at CEGOC, Daniel Silva, HR Director at Amorim Cork Composites, and Alberto Rendo, HR Director at IKEA Industry Portugal.

Several current and topical affairs were discussed. We wanted here to share the conclusions are worthy of note. You’ll find in this blog post 6 of the conclusions. A second post will follow with the other half.

The pandemic has changed our perception and time management

“The health crisis has underscored the obsolescence of the stability and predictability paradigm that allowed skills to be developed over relatively long periods of time”. Along with this comment, Alberto Rendo, added that “those days are gone; the business environment no longer allows this. What we must do in companies is to hand over the reins to the people themselves. They can then steer their own development and decide what experiences they want to have. What skills they want to develop. What careers will motivate them. We need people management models that ensure two essential skills for the future and upon which others can be built – agility and flexibility.

There is now a new mindset and attitude towards training

Daniel Silva highlighted the ease with which it is now possible to access information and training. At the same time, he pointed out that “what people learn in a formal education setting is only an infinitesimal part of what is needed today in order to achieve success and to develop professionally. There must be constant monitoring. Both from the perspective of teaching programmes and from the perspective of supporting anybody who wants to keep themselves up to date and be at the top of their game”. Bearing in mind his experience at CEGOC, João Braz Pereira stressed that there is a different mindset and attitude towards training: “It is becoming more and more common to find people who are comfortable speaking languages other than Portuguese. People who are more skilled in the use of digital tools. People who travel more and see themselves as the driving force behind their own learning processes.”

The future includes placing the trainee at the centre of the learning process

“While the challenge a year ago was to ensure the quality of the experience of participants in webinars, over the past 12 months our customers have trusted us to respond to a completely new challenge? For example : holding conventions and training programmes for organisations operating in international contexts, with hundreds of people spread all over the world, using virtual stages, sessions for geographically dispersed groups and subgroups, video production, and the use of an enormous amount of digital resources that we already had and which we designed for specific projects”, according to João Braz Pereira. He emphasises that trainees are increasingly at the centre of training programmes. Therefore “it is important to provide them with a good experience, to make them feel that we are adding value and giving them content. Tools and knowledge that are immediately useful. It is also important to offer formats such as mentoring and coaching, create learning communities and encourage peer coaching. Colleagues facing the same kind of challenges are encouraged to commit to change to better, support and help each other in the workplace”.

Subscription models for learning when and where needed

João Braz Pereira highlighted this trend. CEGOC already put it into practice through “a library of digital content and assets, providing trainers and trainees with access to content and training options when and where they need them”. Organisations are increasingly opting for training formats which provide unlimited access to content over a relatively longer time and adjust them to their needs when necessary. If I have a meeting tomorrow where I have to define my team’s goals, I can access important content today for preparing that meeting, for example”, concluded Braz Pereira.

Reskilling and upskilling are fundamental strategies for competitiveness

“One is more incremental, more focused on the development of skills. This allows people to better carry out their current tasks (upskilling). The other is more disruptive. People are then more prepared to do things they haven’t done before, using different skills and knowledge from those they already have (reskilling) – and this is where I’d like to highlight topics such as robotisation, automation, AI, e-commerce, digitalisation or dematerialisation of training… dynamics that could leave a group of workers behind if we as a society, as companies and the government itself do not adopt the tools and strategies to train people for the work of the future”, Daniel Silva began by explaining. Alberto Rendo continued the reasoning and added that “we must be transparent with people about this transformation; tell them that their contribution is very relevant and abate their fears. If there’s one good thing about digital transformation, it’s that it’s very easy to learn – just look at your parents and grandparents using mobile phones”.

Several organisations reinforced their training plans during the lockdown

Daniel Silva said that Amorim Cork Composites continued to follow its work plan during the pandemic and even speeded it up. “Above all, because we are a Portuguese multinational with teams in 13 countries, we had to find ways of training an employee in China the same way we do employees in Portugal”. Furthermore, Alberto Rendo stressed out the importance of reskilling in troubled time. At international level IKEA took advantage of situations when production was stopped to work on its teams’ capabilities. “The company took the opportunity to rethink the business in its different dimensions. This gave rise to a series of transformations, new product ideas and production methods. In the short and medium term, the tendency will be to increase investment in training”, he concluded.

Next week, I’ll share more conclusions from the webcast on “Training as a continuous process of development”. These will cover subjects such as:

  • Help in measuring the ROI of Training
  • Role of leadership in training
  • Break down of the learning time-space barriers
  • Risks of excessive virtualisation
  • Enhancement of human dignity
  • Inclusion thanks to individual talents

I invite you to comment on the first conclusions we covered in this post and share your experience.
Until next week…

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