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Why upskilling your workforce at speed is essential to maintaining a competitive edge

Health Industry Hub | April 19, 2023 |

In a world of exponential change, those who learn fastest will win. According to the World Economic Forum, in 2022 more than half of all workers required upskilling to remain effective in their jobs.

In this environment of constant and accelerating change, fast learning gives organisations and workers the best protection against both obsolescence and competition. Whether the challenge is to develop a vaccine during a pandemic or keep pace with required skills, speed matters.

“Speed of learning is your organisation’s competitive advantage. The faster your workforce can learn and apply what they learn, the more likely your company will win,” said learning and technology expert, serial entrepreneur and author Nelson Sivalingam in his latest book Learning at Speed.

Yesterday’s hierarchical, formal, plodding approach to learning must give way to fast learning linked to corporate objectives.

The key to success lies in learning faster than your competition in order to seize emerging opportunities first. Start-ups apply Lean principles and Agile approaches to develop new products and services: Through a process of iteration, they experiment to determine which challenges matter and which solutions will work for their customers, before they invest significant time and money. Organisations should apply the same methods to develop and deliver content iteratively, while soliciting real-time feedback from learners.

“Lean Learning is about helping teams learn what matters in the shortest time, apply it in the moments that shape performance and iterate based on feedback until you solve the business problem,” commented Sivalingam.

Despite overall annual spending of about $350 billion on conventional corporate training, 75% of managers express disappointment with the results. Indeed, only 20% of workers would recommend their organisation’s learning programs, according to Sivalingam.

People learn best in the context of their work. They pay more attention to learning when they need a skill or knowledge now, in order to do something. By delivering learning when it’s needed – in the flow of work – companies can make life long learning more impactful and relevant.

“The research suggests that the timely delivery of just enough learning, personalised to the individual’s need and incorporated into everyday work, is how people learn best,” said Sivalingam.

To the extent possible, create learning environments free of distractions. Leverage technologies that help employees access learning, suggest relevant and timely content, or connect employees for peer learning. Give employees access to online resources for self-paced learning, and consider holding flipped classrooms, where employees learn material on their own and then discuss it as a group. Give people the time they need to learn, and offer content that fits their available time. Create psychological safety, so employees will feel free to take risks and share ideas.

In reimagining healthcare across the entire patient journey, Health Industry HubTM is the only one-stop-hub bringing the diversity of Pharma, MedTech, Diagnostics & Biotech sectors together to inspire meaningful change.

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