The Future of Work in Scouting, Shaping and Shifting Talent. The new opportunities for L&D Heads

Tannistho
3 min readFeb 7, 2020
People in a corporate classroom

Mckinsey Insights has recently released its study on The Future of Work in The Digital Age where it has highlighted that by 2030, 30 to 40% of all workers in developed countries may need to move into new occupations or upgrade their skill sets ‘significantly’. Significantly is a nice word, probably it’s meant to read ‘you don’t have a choice to learn everything that is new.’ Some examples shown by them are Amazon which has already pledged $700 Million to train about 100000 employees to be higher skilled professionals (such as training warehouse operators to be basic data analysts). Walmart has already implemented about $2 Billion in wages and training programs.

This also means a significant difference in the ways that L&D managers view training. Not to be critical about the function, but L&D traditionally faces some problems — such as budget shortages. While Marketing as a function (being revenue focused) can get away with flying budgets, L&D teams often need to haggle to get their basic course development costs approved. In some organizations, the Practice Heads come to the rescue — by supporting L&D interventions as essential.

The point is — this might just be the opportunity for L&D heads to shine. The reason to be at the forefront of all the action. And this would mean looking up from a 30,000 feet and overseeing the entire Learning horizon in a different light. However, the challenges of the job will also increase along with questions such as

  • How do you motivate such large number of people to upskill themselves. The current work pressures will not drop — besides you cannot well neigh tell them that automation will take over immediately. So, what other strategies do you use to motivate them to upskill themselves?
  • Also, how do you train at scale? How do you intend to do it fast?

Some interventions that L&D managers have already hooked on are:

  • Using digital learning platforms such as LMS and LXPs to train at scale.
  • Using a build vs buy model to bring down rollout time and costs. Take the most effective content available in the market and supplement it with your own.
  • Using webinars and virtual classrooms as means to bring in the speed of a classroom session in an online mode.
  • Using games to keep people engaged.
  • Using gamification as a means of driving faster outcomes
  • Measuring everything — starting from attention level of a learner in a webinar (many webinar softwares do point out which remote listener is paying attention and who has turned to a different screen) to learner performance in assessments.
  • Creating world class learning content — frequently and in byte sizes
  • Taking advantage of all possible screens to train the employees

However, these steps are also heavily dependent on how much does the L&D managers understand

a. The current business

b. The future business

As the Mckinsey article points out — a continuous transformation of the workforce comprise three phases

a. Scouting — where an organization quantifies its digital aspirations, assess future talent gaps and measure organizational readiness.

b. Shaping — where the organization designs future roles, creates a talent accelerator and sets up infrastructure for upskilling and reskilling

c. Shifting — where the organization scales up work changes, develops new skills and scales up transitions.

If you see the current Interventions that I have mentioned, they only consider just a small part of ‘infrastructure for upskilling and reskilling’. The rest of the hard work still remains. This also means a different level of engagement for the L&D Managers. They are no longer the business partners of the Cost and Revenue Centers — they need to be pretty much the leaders of them with a vision in tandem with the Chief Executive Officer or the other leaders.

So how is your L&D efforts shaping up? How are you scouting for the future talent gaps that need to be fulfilled and future roles that need to be created? Do share ideas at tannistho@gmail.com

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Tannistho

Marketer, Instructional Designer, L&D Evangelist, Lifelong Learner, Intrapreneur