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L&D in the Face of Digital Transformation

Gartner forecasted earlier this year that global IT spending would reach $3.7 trillion, the highest level in more than a decade. But, when you think of digital transformation, what aspects of your company come to mind?

For the most part, a digital transformation strategy is about leveraging technology to help develop new products and services. This is partially correct, but it does not tell the whole tale.

The development of new skills and talents to support the growing responsibilities of business is emphasized heavily in Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends. The ‘Rise of the Social Enterprise’ means that businesses are increasingly considered global citizens, and they must touch society at several levels. This encompasses economic, environmental, and social factors (not least, the wellbeing of their workforce).

With new digital technology and a global economy at their fingertips, business leaders have never been more powerful. That they are now being counted upon to fill a leadership void in politics. That is a significant amount of responsibility.

It’s pointless to create a business around new technology if we don’t invest in improving human capabilities to take advantage of these new prospects. After all, technology isn’t capable of doing everything —at least not yet!

L&D digital transformation

Careers are no longer as structured as they once were: career pauses, pivots, and industry switching are now widespread.

HR and training and development teams are responsible for this shift in learning. But what is this transition, and how can we assist L&D in making it a success?

Careers in the twenty-first century are rapidly evolving. We’ve progressed well beyond a job for life; indeed, we’ve progressed much beyond the classic notion of a career. Careers are no longer as structured as they once were: career pauses, pivots, and industry switching are now widespread. Careers are being considered as personal growth opportunities, with each opportunity providing the opportunity to learn new skills and gain new views.

This is a problem that L&D must both tackle and exploit. Organizations are competing to hire the best people. If people’s careers last longer, there are more opportunities to uncover and support different types of talent.

Any organization’s transformation strategy should involve improvements in how they support their employees in their day-to-day learning and throughout their careers. Wherever it is practical, the majority are utilizing new technologies and new ways of thinking about learning. More information on the L&D modernization agenda can be found here.

Shell and BMO, for example, are experimenting with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Through gamification, BMO puts an augmented reality layer on top of their physical workplace to provide on-demand access to learning events. It’s all about encouraging participation and investigation.

While not all organizations will require or have the funding for AR and VR solutions, the majority will benefit from a change that puts learning back in the hands of employees. Employees want to do it for themselves, regardless of their career paths.

The good news is that businesses that can develop a growth mentality (for example, by using stretch assignments and openly discussing mistakes to encourage learning) are three times more profitable. They also have a four-fold higher retention rate than organizations that don’t.

Companies are increasingly turning to media-rich repositories that encourage self-directed learning as a new sort of digital learning solution. Employees expect material that is easy to find, consume quickly, and in the format of their choice, regardless of location or device. Outside of the job, they are accustomed to this type of user experience on their smartphones. Expect the same or something similar at work now.

For an organization, digital transformation is more than a single tale. It’s all about products and services, as well as consumer interactions and data-driven decisions. You’ll need a digital strategy that’s backed up by employee engagement, and it’s all about improving organizational learning.

This move will require more than simply the L&D team. Learning and growth are critical components of any digital transformation’s success. 

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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