Canadian HR Reporter

March 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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www.hrreporter.com 19 Shelley Osborne is vice-president of learning at Udemy for Business in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.business.udemy.com. business initiatives and help employees keep up with technology. While ad hoc training and hiring for additional skills can help jump-start initiatives, these quick fixes don't build overall capabilities and aren't enough to transform an organization, according to a 2019 article in the McKinsey Quarterly: "While hiring new talent can address immediate resource needs, such as those required to rapidly build out an organization's AI practice at the start, it sidesteps a critical need for most organizations: Broad capability building across all levels." We're seeing a growth in "capability academies" — or continuous learning programs — pop up. For example, a business and technology consulting firm launched a specialized academy to provide training for employees in AI and data science. Another data-driven employer has also implemented a data science capability academy to retrain thousands of internal employees to support the company's digital transformation. Embrace social learning Software developers commonly use social learning or community platforms to share learnings and crowdsource solutions. For example, industry standards change quickly and are often set by consensus. A group of developers may share a best practice, and the industry will move in a new direction overnight. This can make it difficult to keep up with best practices and curate the right materials to upskill teams. This approach is gaining steam as a way for L&D to create structured learning for other types of jobs that also have rapidly changing skills. In fact, 43 per cent of companies say they offer social learning, up from 35 per cent in 2018, according to the Udemy report. Companies are increasingly relying on communities of practice. For example, when a developer runs into a problem with a line of code, they naturally ask their peers for help. But instead of only tapping the shoulder of their neighbour, they're creating a virtual community of developers to serve as a collective brain. Learning and development teams are taking a page from the software developer's book and are also creating structured learning around their communities. And they're getting creative. Some L&D teams scan their company communication channels for commonly asked questions and use them to create content for in-person and virtual sessions. They combine these informational sessions with online learning courses, live coding sessions and discussions on messaging platforms. Keep L&D agile The bar for intuitive and interactive learner experiences is set pretty high these days. To meet user expectations, L&D teams have to become more flexible and agile in terms of team skills and technologies. For example, while facilitators and instructors and LMS administrators are still key roles, L&D teams are adding data analysts, content curators, learning technology managers and social community managers. Also, it's increasingly important to incorporate AI, automation and personalization to create learning paths tailored to individuals versus one-size- fits-all courses. While only five per cent of organizations currently use AI, 26 per cent said they plan to incorporate it into learning programs, according to Udemy's survey of L&D leaders. To enable these changes, L&D leaders must become more deeply embedded in the business and integrated with the executive suite. This will help ensure learning initiatives are aligned with business goals and objectives and supported with budget and resources. As learning and development makes its way toward the centre of business success, it will be imperative that learning leaders continue to evolve and partner with the workforce to prepare for the changes to come. CHRR

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