Are You Ready for Agile Learning at Work?

07 Nov
IDC-Agile Learning-AngelaSalmeron

Are You Ready for Agile Learning at Work?

ANGELA SALMERON (Research Manager, European Future of Work)

The digital deadlock is affecting many organizations today, big and small, and across all industries. Vast amounts of technology investments are being poured into the engines of aggressive digital strategies — but are delivering little in the way of progress. In fact, many are “stuck in their journey.” What’s holding them back?

IDC has looked into this very closely in the past few years and has found that the “digital skills gap” — when demand for IT skills is not met with adequate supply — is a top obstacle for those organizations in their digital agenda. Interestingly, the challenge is not only in recruitment, but most crucially in bringing up to speed the current workforce with the new skills. Employees are not learning fast enough.

Our surveys show that the impact of the skills gap is broadly felt across the organization, from quality performance to customer satisfaction to business revenue growth. In fact, IDC estimates it will affect 90% of all European companies, resulting in $91 billion in lost revenue in 2020.

The skills gap is now a board-level issue, and employers are determined to tackle the problem themselves by reskilling their own workforce. If colleages and professional schools are not providing an adequate supply of IT professionals, corporate training programs and internal mobility could fill the gap.

This is a significant shift by employers in their training practices and policies. After a decade of austerity following the global financial crisis in 2008, they have now realized that learning means business.

Is the Workforce Ready for the Jobs of the Future? Welcome to Agile Learning

IDC believes agile learning is the way forward for any digital organization because it aligns skills and required training with business value and strategy. It is permanently evolving, keeping pace with new market needs and technology developments.

From content, format, to channels of delivery, agile learning is business relevant while driving superior employee experience.

Agile learning has the following common traits:

  1. Employee focused: Training needs to be applied to the task and woven into the flow of work (easily digestible). It ultimately has to help employees “get the job done” and achieve better performance (impactful). This could include the consumption of bite-size content (even in minutes), any time and by multiple channels, to fit work demands.
  2. Business relevant: Training cannot be decided unilaterally by the employee, manager, or HR. It has to be a cross-functional effort to ensure that career development goals and training needs are aligned with business requirements — the right materials, to the right employees, at the right time.
  3. AI/ML enabled: Training can be enhanced by intelligent technologies in multiple ways. AI/ML can help employees by providing career pathway recommendations; for employers, it can identify training that addresses the skills gap. In the not-so-distant future, intelligent technologies will be able to measure the impact of training on performance and business outcomes, helping to make it business relevant.

Agile learning will be ingrained in our work culture moving forward, helping us to become more competent in our jobs (upskilling) or even to move into new jobs (reskilling). It can also prepare us for the new jobs of the future, those that have not even be created yet. In this respect, IDC expects micro-degrees to become increasingly popular.

The half-life of a new skill is 3 years

micro degrees agile learning

Micro-degrees can be useful to equip employees, reasonably quickly, for new jobs such as a flying car developer or an algorithm bias auditor. Developed in partnership with academia, industry, and employers, micro-degrees complement lectures with on-the-job training.

Agile learning affects us all. As the retirement age rises, we should be able to expect significant mobility throughout our careers. Agile learning will be part of a lifelong learning work culture, mandated by the C-suite and instilled into the organization.

To quote the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018, “By 2025, 75 million current jobs will be displaced by the shift in the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms, but 133 million new jobs will be created as well.”

Your current job might be one of those 75 million. Act now to enjoy the Future of Work with the other 133 million.

Are you ready for the jobs of the future?

If you’re doing something in this space, contact me at asalmeron@idc.com or head over to https://uk.idc.com/ and drop your details in the form on the top right.

Learn more about this and related topics in the following IDC research programs:

European Skills: Leadership and Capabilities for Digital Transformation

European Future of Work

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