Going into the post-pandemic era, it is unavoidable that the list of key skills that lead companies into the future – be it the proverbial soft or hard skills – would have thrown up new skills, such as crisis management, as well as pushed down skills that may not be in demand anymore. Aditi Sharma Kalra probes HR, L&D and business heads on their strategies and investments in future-proof skills.

What do MDs, CEOs, heads of HR, and heads of L&D have in common? No jokes here, they’re all 100% serious and committed about their organisation’s learning strategy.

In a massive shift from the way things were done in the past, where come a downturn or a recession, L&D budgets were the first to be slashed; times have changed drastically. Linked to the CHRO having a firm seat at the boardroom table; the rise of the HR business partner in adding value across business units; and the bilingual shift for HR to speak the business language is yet another development – and that is, L&D being taken far more seriously than ever before.

No more is the organisational skilling and capability-building strategy just one function’s prerogative. The L&D function has seen three big developments, the first of which is that skilling is now crowdsourced.

All business units, department heads and line managers now get involved in weaving skills into their career conversations. Bridging skills gaps is now a far broader talent management deliverable, linked to performance, rewards and employee engagement.

Second, L&D is now championed visibly by organisational leaders and management teams. Having experienced the difference between skilled versus non-skilled talent, no more do managers resist sending their teams for learning opportunities.

No more is a workshop or an online masterclass a ‘waste of a day’s work’, instead it is timely, relevant and personalised to what the employee currently needs, equipping them with skills to apply to their jobs right away.

And finally, L&D is sustained. In many organisations that have the leverage and means to do so, learning menu cards are available anytime, anywhere, and on a range of topics.

Learning isn’t tied down to the annual performance cycle, but rather is being encouraged as a key component of culture. Employees are being encouraged to learn constantly, even habitually logging in on an app to finish a quick video or listening to the latest podcast over lunch.

All of this bodes extremely well for the workforce, which as a result of growing their capabilities, is now able to contribute to new and more productive ways to the organisational goals. These are exciting times for L&D professionals.

Yes, we may be in the midst of a far-reaching pandemic, but there’s a silver lining if you’re willing to spot it – and all of the six interviewees featured here have done just that.

They’ve adapted to adjust to the new normal; they’re thinking about skills as ‘currency’ in the modern-day career portfolio; and they’re passionate about cultivating a learning mindset no matter where the economy stands.

Read on and be inspired! We wish you success on your learning journey.


Why HP's Singapore MD is passionate about developing leaders and digital literacy at all levels

aditi aug 2020 vivian chua hp inc provided

People are at the heart of HP’s growth and innovation and the company’s success depends on a highly skilled, engaged, diverse workforce and a strong internal pipeline of talent for future roles.

It is no wonder the leadership team in Singapore, led by Vivian Chua, Singapore Managing Director, HP Inc, works closely with HR to identify areas of growth for all employees.

This is further affirmed in the current environment where as the world of work shifts to the new normal, this tech giant has continued to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of employees while ensuring they stay productive as they work and learn from home.

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Arm yourself with an arsenal of skills to thrive, says Dell MD, Eric Goh

aditi aug 2020 eric goh dell provided

Being part of a global company, this MD’s role focuses on people development, leadership, performance and culture. Indeed, Eric Goh, Vice President & Managing Director, Singapore, Dell Technologies, spends a good amount of his time on career conversations with his team members to build an environment that inspires the right attitude, and creates a culture of honesty, excellence and integrity in the workplace.

“At Dell Technologies, we encourage team members to think about skills as ‘currency’ in the modern-day career portfolio. This means they need to evolve from a lattice mindset that sees career as role-focused to a skill-based mindset,” he says.

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How DHL Global Forwarding APAC is developing world-class supervisors and frontline leaders

aditi jul 2020 celine quek dhl provided

As a global leader in the logistics industry, the priority at DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific is to stay ahead of the curve to meet the constantly evolving needs of its customers.

“Connecting people, improving lives” is a guiding principle in scouting for talent; who in return, benefit from the opportunity to grow with the company and shape the future of logistics.

Celine Quek, Head of HR at DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific, explains: “To ensure that our 550,000 employees around the world are aligned with the Deutsche Post Group’s Strategy 2025, and key priorities, all learning and development initiatives are developed with the participation and feedback of not just my management peers, but also in tandem with colleagues from the country level through to the regional and the global head office.”

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Hyper-execution is the hottest skill to drive results extremely fast at ADA

aditi aug 2020 srinivas gattamneni ada provided

For Srinivas Gattamneni, Chief Executive Officer at ADA, L&D is an extremely important agenda, and he has always tried to cultivate an on-demand learning culture, with tools such as LinkedIn Learning, internal webinars and weekly ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions across its nine markets. 

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Employees bear equal responsibility when it comes to training at Senoko Energy

joey kwek senoko energy

As the energy industry continues to transform rapidly, learning and development is a key priority for Senoko Energy – having been a Certified On-The-Job Training Centre (COJTC) by the Institute of Technical Education since 1997 and awarded the COJTC Distinguished Partner Award last year in recognition of its commitment to people development through a structured on-the-job system.

At the same time, the focus is on inculcating soft skills and other functional skill sets for employees’ holistic development.

“To adapt to the industry’s shifting priorities, I work closely with my HR team to adapt training techniques beyond face-to-face learning. Our efforts to champion skills development and build a culture of lifelong learning earned us the SkillsFuture Employer Award in 2019,” says Joey Kwek, Vice President, Human Resources & Corporate Services, Senoko Energy.

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Traditional ways of delivering training in classrooms are no longer the only viable option

aditi aug 2020 chey yan kit deloitte provided

Traditionally, as a professional services organisation, Deloitte Singapore kept its professionals up to date on the latest financial accounting standards, auditing methodologies and tax regulations.

However, this has changed – over the years, the team has introduced various training on soft skills, human centred-design, and Deloitte University Asia Pacific, to name a few.

Notably, the learning strategy has seen a significant shift towards more leadership, people management and professional development while continuing to upgrade the technical skills of people, explains Chey Yan Kit, Senior Manager, Learning & Development, Deloitte Singapore.

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This article first appeared as part of a feature in the May-June 2020 e-mag edition of Human Resources, Singapore, and will appear in the upcoming Q2 2020 edition of Human Resources, Malaysia. Read the case study in the e-mag, or the full feature here. 

Photos / Provided