From 96% of employees in Malaysia citing that it is a personal responsibility to keep up with the best practices, to DBS Bank looking to re-skill 1,500 employees; learning and development is creating waves in the HR industry.

On that note, Human Resources spoke to key leaders from ClubMed, Kantar, Unilever, Maxis, PSB Academy, Schroders, T-Systems Malaysia, The Lo & Behold group, to unravel some of the biggest L&D trends in 2018. 

#1 Learning agility

For ClubMed, learning agility doesn’t necessarily mean bringing a thousand ideas to the table. For this hospitality brand, it refers to simplification. On that note, Alina Rusu, training coordinator, APAC talent university, ClubMed, commented: "It’s not about reinventing the wheel, but making it simpler for the end-user. For example, putting more structure, or being more organised. There are so many aspects where the complexity needs agility and simplicity. With it being so complex, we don’t want create monsters.”

“So when we refer to design thinking, it’s about bringing a simple, straightforward solution that could help everyone.”

#2 Chef of a buffet table

When it comes to designing an L&D programme, Narelle Burke, HR director, APAC, Kantar, expressed how one of the greatest opportunities HR has in the learning space is to help all employees access the right content, at the right time, through the best learning platforms, to help them perform at their best.  

On that note, she commented: “If we can help learners navigate the overwhelming options available, and help them access what they need in real-time,  we will help them to focus on what is important to maximise their performance.”

With that said, she envisions how employees can access a chatbot in the future where they are able to provide details of the project, and how they would like to learn. She remarked: “It will provide a customised learning plan with podcasts, readings, an online buddy or mentor, and case studies on what ‘good’ looks like when it comes to their specific project.” Not only that, this chatbot will help to partner with them throughout the experience and provide real-time feedback to them.  

Aside from providing all the best learning tools and programmes, we need to help people understand that learning and developing oneself goes beyond company requirements.
- Nadia Nishaa Shamsuri, head of learning and development, Maxis

Design thinking is not just a buzzword - it brings HR back to basics to focus on employee as humans, and to support their needs and development better, says Betty Lau, global learning director, Unilever. On that note, she added: “L&D professionals should focus on learning that helps to solve ‘pain points’, drive business results and foster a lifelong learning culture”

“If people aren’t continuous to learn, unlearn and relearn, there is no way that companies can sustain their businesses through disruptions,” she concluded.

#3 Autonomy in learning

Nadia Nishaa Shamsuri, head of learning and development, Maxis, added that the role of L&D is changing with the times. She said: “Traditionally, L&D practitioners act as “middlemen” - you tell us what learning you need, we go and find them for you. This is no longer enough. The first big shift is in putting more emphasis in developing a learning culture within a company.”

“Aside from providing all the best learning tools and programmes, we need to help people understand that learning and developing oneself goes beyond company requirements,” she continued.

At Maxis, it espouses the concept of Personal Growth Agenda where the company tells its people that their biggest agenda is making their performance, growth and development, the most important thing.

Nadia concluded: “We keep telling them this and we help them make it happen.”

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#4 Collaboration is key

Dr. Martin Grünert, associate dean (teaching and learning) at PSB Academy, highlights how cultivating flexible and open systems to replace rote-learning is the way forward. He said: “Increasingly, employers place greater value on an individual’s ability to pivot and pick up new technical skills quickly.”

“Schools must therefore adapt their curriculum to foster adaptive thinking, to give students a leg-up for the workplace of the future. Additionally, as we move towards a highly connected future, there is a greater need for convergence, and the ability to “play well” with others will be also be vital.”

With mobile learning, you can literally learn from anywhere and at anytime.
- Vaclav Koranda, VP human resources at T-Systems Malaysia

Meanwhile, Janet Ko, regional manager, talent and development, Schroders thinks that many organisations still focus on classroom-learning. Though nothing wrong with that, she expressed that modern learners may be overwhelmed with information in such settings. She commented: “There is a limit on how much you can remember when staff are participating in three to four intensive sessions.”

“With that said, L&D professionals should think how to creatively deliver content to learners. When it comes to the interaction of content, you’d want to create opportunities for staff to share freely. This community allows them to both challenge each other and yet bring diverse content to the the table.”

#5 Technology in the future workspace

One of the emerging trends for the coming year includes evolution of the workspace. With many companies implementing mobile learning apps for their employees, work has moved e-learning to a new level. Vaclav Koranda, VP human resources at T-Systems Malaysia, said: “With mobile learning, you can literally learn from anywhere and at anytime. This will utilise employees’ otherwise unproductive times (e.g. commuting via public transport, waiting in a queue...) and convert them into something beneficial for their growth.”

He added that mobile learning can also be made more attractive by implementing gamification and micro-learning approach. Because of that, it supports course completion rate and overall learning penetration.

Similarly, Merle Chen, chief talent officer, The Lo & Behold group, agrees that technology will take front seat in L&D. To her, one of the biggest trends include delivering bite-sized content that allows employees to learn on-the-go. At the same time, the content has to be customised or curated.  

She remarked: “With the diverse brands and concepts under Lo&Behold, we do some customisation in the delivery of content and learning. The core competencies remain the same; based on the four buckets of behaviours and mindsets that we’re looking for. But across different levels, and layered on the concept differentiators; we mirror that with a customised learning curriculum.”

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