Digital is a quantum leap in the way things are done 2/2

Catarina CorreiaHead of Marketing & Communication at Cegoc

Digitalisation has had many effects that can be seen every day. This topic was discussed during the webcast on “Training as a continuous process of development”, organised by Pessoas magazine with the support of CEGOC (Cegos’ subsidiary in Portugal).
In last week’s post, we covered part of the conclusions discussed:

  • The pandemic has changed our perception and time management
  • There is now a new mindset and attitude towards training
  • The future includes placing the trainee at the centre of the learning process
  • Subscription models for learning when and where needed
  • Reskilling and upskilling are fundamental strategies for competitiveness
  • Several organisations reinforced their training plans during the lockdown

Let’s now cover to the other conclusions that are worth pointing out.

There are several “axes” that can help measure the return on investment in training

At Amorim Cork Composites, the impact of the training and development programmes can be measured on three main axes, explained Daniel Silva: “the first is results-oriented, where we try to make our programmes experiential first and foremost, enabling each trainee to learn by doing; the second is seen in the possibility of workers progressing within the organisation and performing different roles; and the third, which has to do with worker motivation and retention, by helping them develop through programmes that allow them to have different experiences”. For Alberto Rendo, there are also two axes for measuring this return: results and capabilities: “monitoring the level of continuous improvement in the teams, in terms of autonomy, satisfaction index and motivation, leadership processes… these are all indicators that show the organisation's ability to sustainably produce operational and financial results – and we do this continuously, mainly by using the LEAN approach to work.

Leadership acts as a catalyst and driver of learning

When asked about the emerging transformations and their impact on training, João Braz Pereira said that it is decisive for organisations to have the ability to read the context, understand what is happening and be able to transmit the meaning of this change to their teams. “If leaders are capable of transmitting this to their teams, employees will no longer be the victims of change, but will become the main actors, because they understand their specific contribution to the change process”. Continuing with this reasoning, Daniel Silva said that “leadership plays a fundamental role as a catalyst and driver of learning, but companies as a whole also play a fundamental role in creating conditions for people to develop, learn and find ways to adapt to reality.”

Digital has broken down the time-space barriers that used to exist in training

João Braz Pereira believes that even the most sceptical have seen that the effectiveness of online training can be assured: “The pandemic has demystified these ideas of “it can't be done” and that “the quality of the experience is completely different”. In the digital age, time and space are no longer a barrier – things are more flexible and we are no longer victim to the tyranny of the calendar.” Daniel Silva agreed. He says that they are now developing “training programmes that use the different tools available and make up for the absence of in-person training”. He then adds that “the virtual environment makes it possible to contact colleagues, customers and all kinds of stakeholders more quickly, more ecologically and at a lower cost, while maintaining the quality of the work and even our quality of life”. In terms of the potential of digital technologies, Alberto Rendo revealed that it is now possible for a maintenance worker at IKEA Industry Portugal to connect to a worker in China, using virtual reality to help solve problems with machinery. In partnership with the University of Minho, the company also has a collaborative robotisation project underway – “we now have production units where robots and people work side by side: the robots learn from the people and understand their limitations and needs”, he explained.

Excessive virtualisation carries risks

The main concern referred to by Daniel Silva in relation to digital technologies has to do with the loss of impact of informal learning mechanisms: “if we make the mistake of thinking everything can be virtual, we could lose the relationship between colleagues, the sharing of practices and experiences – which is a fundamental source of development in organisations”. Another concern, shared both by Alberto Rendo and Daniel Silva, has to do with the organisational culture and excessive virtualisation of our reality in a work context –“we have to think about how we are going to maintain the organisational culture, how, in a necessarily different environment, we can preserve our values or adapt our culture and values to this reality.” João Braz Pereira too calls for caution with technological “bedazzlement” because, “irrespective of the formats, whether synchronous or asynchronous, if it's augmented reality or a subscription model, if it has an LMS or not, it is always important to bear in mind that there must be a business goal behind it. That is what will tell us in the end if we’ve achieved our goals or not… it’s not the technology or the virtual environment”.

The labour market will enhance human dignity

João Braz Pereira believes that the future of the labour market will revolve around variables related to digitalisation, AI and algorithms and the ability to perform certain operations more capably and with less risks for humans… “as has happened with toll booths, at supermarket checkouts, and will be coming to driving soon”. Daniel Silva is convinced that, in the very short term, we will see a change in the mix of professions available – “some jobs will cease to exist, others will be done differently, with more automation and without the use of human labour, which will force us to find reskilling mechanisms and new goals for all these people”. Along the same lines, Alberto Rendo believes that “if we can use digitalisation and Industry 4.0 to get machines to take on more menial work, that will be a major victory”.

True diversity of inclusion resides in individual talents

Alberto Rendo believes that “there is no greater expression of human diversity than the talents of each individual” and that including and fostering these talents is good not only for the company, but also as a source of happiness for people, “who are looking for experiences related to their talents and experiences that will allow them to say, 'I do what I like doing', 'I do what I have a natural talent for'. Promoting dignity is key to creating the conditions for people to express themselves and build their pathways, their careers and their future.”

Did you experience other impacts of the digitalisation on learning and skills development? Please use the comment section, we’d be happy to learn from your experience.

If you would like to learn more about how Cegos can help you increase learning efficiency in your organisation, visit our website and get in touch.

Written by

Catarina Correia

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