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Why learning’ experiences should be built into our everyday lives

By Aldona Limani, EMEA Market Development Lead at Docebo 

In a time of economic uncertainty, news day by day and countrywide lockdowns, companies have been forced to induct new methods of working that rely on technology.

Although companies have successfully created internal programmes to swiftly learn, develop and adapt to new ways of working, fostering a remote working culture with upskilling at its core still requires some mastering. In this new virtual environment, a critical task for companies now is how to safeguard the importance of education in the workplace and what benefits does it bring?

The Art of Adding value

In the short term, the need to communicate with clients and colleagues virtually and effectively has led to companies rushing through a wave of new software tutorials. Whilst the number of new tools to learn may prove overwhelming, employees will become more resilient and adaptable, and their organisation more agile, collaborative and sustainable.

From online courses to bringing in speakers to deliver targeted educational sessions, there are an array of opportunities for remote workers to explore. However, developing continuous learning habits in this fast-changing world may require more work, but when it is done successfully it enables employees to sharpen up their skills and develop professionally by leveraging new tools to access the knowledge they need, using learning formats they choose.

Companies can add value by enabling employees to take charge of their learning. Using the right technology, including mobile and artificial intelligence-powered tools, workers can determine easily what they need to learn and are able to quickly uncover the best way to access that learning when they need it. Asset management firm Eurizon, for example, has begun offering virtual classroom sessions on customer training for its employees through a joint integration between video conferencing platform Zoom and learning management specialists Docebo.

Predictions suggest up to 20,000 shops and over 250,000 employees in the UK alone could be at risk due to the impact of COVID-19. To keep up to date in a perilous, fast-moving business climate and rapidly respond to change, continuous learning holds more weight than ever.

For it to work, continuous learning must be viewed as more than just another task or learning strategy. It must evolve into a “lifestyle” that comes naturally within the flow of work, which will take time, effort and diligence but rests on the organisational management to implement.

 Supporting every worker

With an accelerated pace of change to the way we work, it is critical for businesses to build a resilient, adaptable workforce, readily equipped to maintain optimum performance. This requires skills, learning opportunities, formal training and continuous professional development tailored to the realities of remote working.

One major advantage of flexible digital learning is that it enables learners to engage at a time and place to suit their individual needs, whether geographical, professional or personal. For employees in financial services, flexibility has become a necessity, particularly given how technology has transformed the financial services sector during the last decade.

According to a survey report released by Docebo, one in three (33 per cent) UK employees do not feel qualified for their current jobs, with 32 per cent fearing that their boss or colleagues think the same about them. These fears impact workers’ wellbeing at work, with one in four (23 per cent) fearing they may be let go from their job at least once a month because of their lack of skills. A crucial way to allay the stigma related to not feeling highly skilled is to ensure companies make outstanding training materials available for all. With those workers now based remotely, ensuring the digital learning tools they need to overcome those issues will keep productivity high in a challenging environment. In some cases, upskilling in banks has become mandatory with fears they could become less competitive in the future. Singapore’s United Overseas bank last year decided to put all of its 26,000 employees through a 12-week learning and development  programme designed to help them prepare for a digital future.

A changing workforce

In addition to ensuring financial services is adequately prepared for unpredictable challenges, companies must appreciate they now cater for numerous different demands from their employees, and that they play an important role in talent development and retention. This includes needs such as flexible working, childcare or other domestic responsibilities.

Increasing cohorts of the workforce are now made up of millennials, a generation that grew up with the emergence of online platforms, who are more inclined to help themselves to the learning they need whenever they need it. They are now being joined by ‘Gen-Z’, who were born well after the dawn of ‘always connected’ services and technologies. Together, these new workforce learners mean the learner population expects to be able to leverage the best learning technologies to enable their development. For companies seeking to ensure educational opportunities are used, fostering a culture of continuous learning requires a recognition of this healthy appetite for new employees to own their development and use the tools that work for them.

Those learners are also more than willing to play an active role in their L&D activities, including opportunities to contribute via less formal means. Because millennials grew up after widespread adoption of the internet and spent their school years looking up information for homework and projects online, they relish opportunities to uncover their own learning, and consider professional development one of the most important elements of an organisation’s culture. Companies should embrace that!

The widespread coronavirus outbreak has had a tragic impact, disrupted the global economy, and rapidly accelerated the move to virtual working. To adapt to the pace of change and survive, companies must get to grips with continuous learning, and ensure that their new virtual workforces adopt a healthy continuous learning culture in their new environment. New digital learning tools can empower the workforce to do just that, and give them the learning experiences needed to maintain productivity and high standards in difficult times.