Building a future-fit workforce through learning

In a new report, Skillsoft highlights why learning will continue to play a pivotal role in building a future-fit workforce in a new world of work.
By: | March 15, 2021

With the world of work fundamentally changed by the pandemic, an increasing number of organisations are beginning to realise the importance of reskilling and upskilling in filling skill gaps, even as they begin to reshape their workforce to be ready for the future.

Work has changed irrevocably, and building a truly future-fit and resilient workforce requires access to the tools needed to learn and achieve, suggested Ron Hovsepian, executive chairman, Skillsoft. “We envision a world where learning is democratised, establishing an engaged, active and optimistic workforce prepared to face the challenges of the future,” he added.

And as organisations continue to build a future-fit workforce that is ready to respond to what is to come, learning will have a pivotal role to play, said Skillsoft in its Lean into Learning: 2020 Annual Learning Report.

The future of learning is now

While 2021 is expected to bring a semblance of stability back to the workforce after a disruptive 2020, it is also clear that “business as usual” will not become a reality for many organisations.

As where and how we work continue to evolve, and as organisations find new ways to communicate more effectively with their employees, the latter is likely to be afforded greater flexibility and autonomy while the former invest more in holistic employee experiences with opportunities for learning and growth.

To be successful, organisations need to cease thinking of learning as a discrete function, an adjunct of HR, or a once-in-a-year rudimentary requirement. Instead, embracing learning for the integrated and pivotal role it plays for the organisation, advises Skillsoft.

One trend that has accelerated during the pandemic, is digital transformation, where learning is key for it to be successful. For many organisations, this means new investments in technology, changes in staffing, distribution, sales or service. More pertinently, perhaps, is that for virtually every organisation, the digital transformation represents a new or renewed emphasis on learning.

As many organisations continue to operate in a remote environment in one form or another, being agile is also key in managing software development. As organisations develop future-fit teams prepared to deal with increasingly frequent change, a focus is being placed on making sure that agility is a priority, observes Skillsoft.

Analytics will also form an important of learning, as courses related to data analysis/structuring increase exponentially. This, according to Skillsoft, suggests a move to a world that sees and values everything, especially performance, which will be judged on the basis of quantifiable data and statistics moving forward.

Organisations also need to understand that learning is key to broadening minds, changing policies and creating lasting change. This increases the importance of inclusivity, as creating a more diverse workforce, and including them in more meaningful ways, adds valuable perspectives to every facet of an organisation.

READ: Drive learner engagement in a world of unknowns

Redefining the role of CLO

Like many key workforce functions, learning continues to evolve in a new world of work, including from managing required training programmes, to igniting a culture of continual learning. Learning has also moved from a process focus to a people focus; from net promoter scores to measured business results; from managing performance to enabling individual and organisational growth, and from an adjunct of HR to a singular, strategic partner at the heart of any orgnisation.

Within the context of these changes, the Chief Learning Officer (CLO) will play a more strategic role in building a company culture that values, rewards and benefits from ongoing learning and development, Skillsoft predicts.

Besides championing the democratisation of learning, and making reskilling and upskilling more accessible to all, CLOs will also be responsible for helping learner, employees, managers and organisations reach their full potential by filling skill gaps, motivating, inspiring, as well as recognising and rewarding achievement and excellence.

As organisations continue to adjust to unprecedented disruption in real time, and as they prepare for the future, the role of the CLO has become more invaluable and integral than ever before, Skillsoft concluded.

Click here for the full Lean Into Learning: 2020 Annual Learning Report, and join Skillsoft at Learning Technologies Asia 2021, which will examine how organisations can develop their L&D strategies to stay ahead, innovate and grow.