Panel Welcome

Kieran Howells
Dr. Sean McCready
Director of Education & Skills
HR Grapevine

Welcome to HR Grapevine’s 2020/2021 Guide to Learning & Development

We’re delighted to be sponsoring this year’s L&D Guide, a key resource for any L&D team seeking to solve the challenges their organisation is facing. This year more than ever, that help and guidance is needed. It’s been a year unlike any other, as the COVID-19 crisis forces us to seek refuge in our homes and Zoom calls, and the normal patterns of working life have been altered radically for so many.

Later in the guide, we share our tips for how L&D can manage these challenges in the short-term, helping you build (or maintain) a learning culture while you and your colleagues are working from home.

However, the biggest question we face is how these changes will play out for L&D in the long-term. Will we return to face-to-face learning – perhaps, at first, masked and socially distanced? Or will our pandemic-driven move to digital communication and collaboration finally deliver what the ‘top L&D trends’ lists have been promising for years: a digital L&D revolution?

As we consider the future of L&D in a post-pandemic world, I hope that this discussion will prompt fresh insights about how we might all meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.

 

Panel Question

What will the future of L&D look like post-pandemic?


Dr. Sean McCready
Dr. Sean McCready
Director of Education & Skills

Dr. McCready has more than 25 years of experience in the further and higher education sectors. He has held senior roles with a number of training organisations and is now the Director of Education & Skills at ICS Learn, one of the UK’s leading online providers of professional qualifications.

“... it’s inevitable that L&D professionals will adapt their methods to reach employees who are no longer in one place”

With working from home and distributed teams set to become the permanent new normal for many organisations, it’s inevitable that L&D professionals will adapt their methods to reach employees who are no longer in one place.

Fortunately, the wholesale shift to remote working has removed one of the traditional barriers to digital L&D. With online meetings, quizzes and even birthday parties now the norm, almost everyone is now accustomed to – and comfortable with – meeting, learning and collaborating online.

For those making the move, online training methods are well established. Even practical activities can be live-streamed or filmed and sent to an assessor, as we do within our online CIPD L&D qualifications.

Technology can also overcome obstacles within assessment. From video to proctoring services, digital advances have paved the way for more flexible, on-demand assessments.

The benefits of a shift to digital L&D have long been extolled. Towards Maturity found that online learning increases productivity and accelerates the learning process by 15%, while simultaneously reducing training costs and time taken off for learning by one fifth.

The future of L&D will be shaped by these advantages, as L&D teams seek to capitalise on the global move to digital working to harness the benefits of online learning for their organisations.


Rebekah Wallis
Rebekah Wallis
UK Director of People and Corporate Responsibility

Wallis is responsible for HR, L&D and corporate social responsibility at Ricoh UK. She has taken an innovative approach to employee engagement. Prior to this, Wallis worked at Rentokil and British Gas. Wallis has also completed a degree in Human Psychology at Aston University.

“The lockdown has shown that L&D teams can pivot and quickly adapt their programmes and processes”

The lockdown has shown that L&D teams can pivot and quickly adapt their programmes and processes, and their ability to innovate is vital to the success of our economy. At Ricoh, we believe that creating a knowledgeable and skilled workforce is key to the economic growth of the UK. A workforce that is well-equipped is more prepared, and a more prepared workforce is a more productive one.

On a more local and business level, investment in learning will be crucial for businesses. Upskilling not only encourages career development but also leads to an increase in staff engagement and retention and, if you want your employees to succeed, they'll in turn want the business to succeed too. This means that you'll not only have a well-prepared workforce, but one which is as invested in your business as you are.


Andrea Smith
Andrea Smith
HR Director

Throughout her career, Smith has worked across communications, banking, energy, hospitality, educational services, casual dining and FMCG luxury and mass market consumer goods. Currently positioned at the multinational beauty company Coty, she describes herself as a creative and inspiring HR Leader that has operated across multinational brands and various industries.

“The workforce of today and for the future will require enhanced technology skills, and the ability to reach employees and customers alike through effective virtual communications”

The COVID-19 pandemic has given businesses the opportunity to recalibrate their L&D strategy in communication innovation, digital toolkits and data management.

There has also been a business-wide shift in technology through virtual face-to-face collaboration that is conducted mainly through video conferencing.

The workforce of today and for the future will require enhanced technology skills, and the ability to reach employees and customers alike through effective virtual communications.

[Telstra research, as was reported by Comms Business found that] 93% of businesses have already been reported on changing their IT priorities, which will accelerate the transformation of digital skills sets, and redefined its meaning from its pre-COVID-19 state.

The ability to use enhanced data tools and platforms now extends to more employees through COVID-19 that will require enhanced technology skills with a focus on privacy, data protection, security and compliance.

 


Justin Ukrainski
Justin Ukrainski
Head of Learning and People Transformation Lead

Ukrainski is an organisational psychologist and L&D specialist whose previous clients include M&S, Lloyds Banking Group, Amazon, Goldman Sachs and the London Olympics 2012. He is currently the Head of Learning and People Transformation Lead at Royal Mail.

“Now more than ever there is the need to think in hours not days, minutes not hours”

Supporting transformations will still be key – but COVID-19 has accelerated timelines for everyone. L&D functions traditionally aren't agile enough to turn things around quickly in the best of times, but now more than ever there is the need to think in hours not days, minutes not hours. Being better, faster, leaner and cheaper will really define whether our business stakeholders see L&D as being a critical function in the days of restructures or a 'nice-to-have' (and therefore at risk of being cut themselves).


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