Digital learning key to company and professional performance

Emanuele CastellaniExecutive Board Member at Cegos Group

Emanuele Castellani – CEO of Cegos Italy and Managing Partner of Cegos APAC – recently spoke atHR Festival Asia.Here, he shares his experience of the event as well as some insights into digital learning that featured in his speech to delegates.

HR Festival Asia 2019

HR Festival was the fusion of HR Summit & Expo Asia – the region’s biggest and most popular HR and workforce management event, c– and HR Technology Conference & Exposition in the US, the world’s leading independent HR technology event.

It was designed to be the only mega platform for the HR and technology industries in the region, bringing together over 5,000 management, HR and HR tech decision makers under one roof.

Singapore hosted some of the world’s most prominent speakers, thought-leaders and visionaries, as well as leading service providers, to discuss the convergence of HR, technology and the new world of work.

With such an impressive group, you can imagine my excitement.

Cegos Asia Pacific was there as a premium sponsor – together with other global players, such as our partner, Cornerstone – with an eye-catching booth, close to the Talent Development Area.

I was there as a speaker, scheduled for a presentation on day one, just after famous learning entrepreneur, Josh Bersin.

As a representative of Cegos, I had three messages to share with our audience:

  • We have a history: established in 1926, our proven capacity to manage the world of learning has secured huge investments in training from our clients across the globe.
  • Focusing on how people learn, we have developed a disruptive learning approach called 4REAL – an acronym referring to Real, Effective and Adapted Learning.
  • Thanks to our culture and attitude to investing in innovation, we wanted to introduce our new #UP solution to the HR leadership community in Asia.

The title of my speech – Unlock Organizational Performance through Learning Experiences, Leveraging on Digital Technology – certainly attracted attention. The room was crowded with standing room only!

Throughout the speech, I shared a simple but important concept which promotes a simple idea: learning is not important just for today; it must become the way to transform behaviors and create durable improvements in performance.

Neuroeducation shows that our brain never stops learning. That learning is influenced by emotions, the learning environment, the social process and the experience. Based on these assumptions, I introduced the concept that the best way to ensure experience today is through digital learning.

Why is this?

Digital learning empowers classroom training, being available anytime, anywhere, on any device (ATAWAD). It also encourages an increase in the duration of learning, including the overlap between working and learning life, and allows for personalization, ensuring continuity from school and university education to the workplace.

I tested audience engagement with my ideas using a digital polling tool. The results showed that everybody agreed with these concepts and was ready to invest more in digital learning.

Josh Bersin’s speech was very much focused on the convergence of HR technology and the new world of work. He defined learning as "the most important" thing and asserted that there is a problem with “employees’ rising skills anxiety”.

In my speech, I introduced the concept of a world which is not only changing fast, but too fast when considering the human capacity to adapt to change. Not investing in new skills, soft or hard, could therefore be problematic.

Social transformation leads to business transformation and the combination of these two factors leads to new challenges in the L&D world. HR directors, L&D managers and other executives must be fully focused on this. The latest PWC survey shows that 34% of CEOs consider lack of skills as a major concern, having an impact on innovation, cost increases and potential lost opportunities. For all of them, the best solution to avoiding these tremendous risks is training and re-training in soft and hard skills.

Any training should integrate the new digital world of learning with the more traditional models, creating a useful tool for HR evolution, and generating a positive impact on company performance in the long term.

Written by

Emanuele Castellani

Emanuele joined the Cegos Group in 2011. He has been Managing Director of Cegos Italy since his arrival and of Cegos APAC since 2018, and will continue to hold these responsibilities through 2023. A graduate of the University of Florence in Political Science and Economics, he began his career at the Italian subsidiary of the Adecco Group, where he held various positions related to the development and management of the company's operations. He then joined ADP Italy, first in the Very Large Accounts Department, then as Director of Strategy and Development. As a member of the Cegos Group Committee, he was also fully involved in strategic initiatives for the Group (management of the Asia Pacific team, design and deployment of the MMO model to the sales teams, launch of the MTS business in Italy, etc.).
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