Tips & Strategies For Australian L&D In 2020

Mark Fenna-Roberts, Managing Director, ITC Learning Australasia Looks At 5 Key Trends Shaping 2020

As we close in on a new decade, Australia is facing some trends that will have a profound impact on our industry.

With over 18 years in the Australian industry, I have seen trends come and go, however new technology and a changing workforce – are literally forcing ever faster change.

Here is what HR and L&D leaders can do to prepare and even leverage these trends to create greater organisational impact in the 2020’s.

1. A Skills Shortage, Not A Jobs Shortage.

As the population ages, and the number of Australians available to work drops, where do companies turn for talent?

Training and keeping a diminishing pool of talent is the challenge, and sourcing talent from an increasingly complex landscape of workers who may be in your own organisation, at school, overseas, retired or ‘in the crowd’.

Strategy Tips: There is opportunity in uncertainty, according to The Path To Prosperity: Why The Future of Work Is Human the latest report in the Building The Lucky Country series.

  • HR and L&D leaders have a major role to play in providing a learning culture in order to develop existing talent.
  • Reinventing corporate training involves increasingly agile, tech-enabled solutions, in particular video and user-generated content driven solutions.
  • By raising your organisation’s profile and recruiting talent early through giving talks and engaging in student programs, your organisation can stand out to potential candidates early, rather than in the ‘moment of need’.
  • In addition, experiential learning such as VR, makes eLearning more efficient and effective for students to learn how business concepts are applied in practice, while vastly improving retention and engagement levels.

And finally, a further area to explore, is focussing on skills that your organisation should ‘own’ versus those that can be ‘rented’ or outsourced. We have worked with several organisations to create an eLearning strategic framework that focusses in on the types of L&D content that will specifically and successfully achieve the organisation’s goals.

2. Robots are NOT (really) replacing our jobs.

With talk about technology and its impact on the workforce in Australia, I remind people that technology is much more about augmentation than automation, and many more jobs will change in nature because of automation, rather than disappear altogether.

Strategy Tips: We can use technology to our advantage to create more meaningful and productive jobs involving more meaningful and well-paid work. And by making better choices to facilitate this, could boost national income in terms of GDP by $36 billion a year.

By leveraging AI and machine learning, people need to understand that it can enhance people practices in the workplace, help personal productivity and impact finding top talent for your company.

So don’t be afraid. Instead, be curious. And work with partners who can help you develop a strategy for the roles within your own organisation.

3. All hail the Knowledge Worker

More than 80% of the jobs created between now and 2030 will be for knowledge workers, and two-thirds of jobs will be strongly reliant on soft skills.

Humans still excel at skills like empathy, creativity, collaboration and the human touch. So it makes sense to examine how this looks from an L&D perspective going forward.

Strategy Tips: In The Future of Skills 2019 Report, More than half of Australian employees (52%) indicated that soft skills will be more important for their career.

The report also concluded there was a disconnect in the type of content offered with employers delivering on skills such as Critical Thinking and Industry Specific Knowledge whilst employees feel they aren’t receiving relevant training in growing soft skills such as Adaptability & Flexibility.

Considering that Australian employers also reported that the most significant challenge they face is engaging employees (39%) to learn in the first place, the onus upon designing and delivering engaging content that delivers more human, softer skills is the way forward.

4. The Dominance of A Digitally-Enabled Workforce

We’ve delved into this in recent blog posts, however, the fact is, that in the next five years 70% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials. These Digital Natives expect an ‘always on’, consumer-level tech experience from their organisation’s L&D programs.

Strategy Tips: The organisations that attract the best talent are adept at creating experiences that turn candidates into employees. Australian companies can emulate some of the global leaders in this regard.

There are numerous examples, however, the recent case study of Godiva, the luxury chocolatier, shows how they boosted sales and achieved near perfect post-learning scores through an engaging, video-led eLearning strategy.

5. Out With The Old (Technology), In With The New?

In the Fosway Group’s Digital Learning Realities 2019, it was revealed that organisations had on average, nineteen different learning technologies in use. With new and more efficient technologies coming our way, how does it all fit in with an organisation’s existing tools and systems?

In 2019, the industry saw more investment, through an influx of capital investments and consolidation, in learning experience platforms (LXPs).

Strategy Tips: As a result, organizations are transitioning to on-demand learning to support employees at the time of need, and AI and machine learning are becoming more commonplace in a range of tools, from delivery platforms (LXPs as well as traditional learning management systems) to chatbot-based coaching tools and content curation applications.

I expect we will see more investment flow into the learning space in the coming year, with a focus on improving the employee learning experience. Understanding the implications of these technologies, their potential built-in bias, and the source and use of learner data will be top of mind for L&D professionals as organisations include these emerging tools in their technology stacks.

The challenge we face still however, is defining L&D’s role in building that learning culture. The C-suite, human resources, organizational development, and learning and development teams all have a vested interest and responsibilities in developing and maintaining the company’s learning culture. The tone at the top is key, and making the level of investment needed to maximize the impact of learning on the company. The challenge is for L&D to make certain the investment is achieving the outcomes we expect it to.

 

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