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The way of how we work and learn in the future is heavily impacted by the digital transformation together with other changes like the change of values or the demographic development of our society. This article analyses the topics above in more detail. Based on surveys of Oxford Economics, the actual situation of working and also the future way of working will be analyzed in more detail. In addition, competence requirements of employees and managers as well as the new developments in corporate learning are going to be outlined.

 

  1. Challenges for Working and Learning in the Future

Our working environment is undergoing a radical change: Digitalization, demographic changes, migration or change of values are just some of the main issues. There will be a change in how, where and how much we are willing to work and the context and requirements for learning and competence development are also going to change. Future challenges can be described very well through the acronym “VUCA”

  • Volatility: Unpredictability and volatility will increase
  • Uncertainty: Uncertainty also increases constantly
  • Complexity: Increasing complexity almost everywhere
  • Ambiguity: Ambivalence and ambiguity of the framework conditions gets more powerful.

We won’t be able to meet the mentioned challenges with our familiar way of thinking in cause-effect-relationships. A systemic approach is going to be more and more important. Process simplification is also a way to meet the complexity requirements. In 2020, the new workforce will consist of various generations, which come along with different values, competencies, experiences, working methods and also with different motivations. A rising proportion of the workforce will be freelancers and contractors. These framework conditions come along with great opportunities and at the same time challenges for employers and employees.

According to a worldwide study by Oxford Economics (2014) 2,718 executives and 2,872 employees demonstrated that most of the companies, however, are not prepared for the challenges. Common problems of the companies can be seen in the field of developing a leadership- and learning-culture.

The most important trends and their effects on personal management are mentioned in the study:

  1. Difficulties in finding employees with fundamental qualifications
  2. Globalization of the labor market
  3. Aging workforce
  4. Changing expectations of employees

Challenges in building up a workforce which is able to meet the company’s future requirements are the following:

  • Shortage of qualified executives
  • Missing technologies
  • Not enough qualified employees

A lot of contradictory surveys and statements existing regarding the future of work. According to the Oxford study, there are discrepancies between the employees’ expectations and the company HR offerings. For German employees the most important benefits and incentives are a competitive compensation (76%) – wich are offered according to employees not by even 40%.

30 % of employees mention that a higher compensation is an incentive for a higher loyalty and a stronger commitment within their actual job. We see that companies are not always aligned towards the needs of their employees.

Digital Transformation is one of the most important drivers for changes in the future, therefore we will examine this further.

 

  1. Influence through the Digital Transformation

The following six trends are promoted by new digital technologies:

  • Hyperconnectivity: Everything is connected. Consumers and companies, companies among each other, people, communities and even things such as machines, devices, and sensors are now interlinked to through the Internet. This level of interconnectedness is radically changing established rules and business processes and shaping the management of goods, services, people, and knowledge.

 

  • Supercomputing: Tremendous strides have been made in the ability of servers to process large amounts of data in short order. Combined with hyperconnectivity and in-memory computing, this is giving rise to all-new business models and real-time business processes that dramatically increase organizational productivity and agility. Consider what is now possible with Amazon Cloud, Google, or the in-memory SAP HANA® database, for example.

 

  • Cloud-Computing: As time passes, the process of implementing new technologies and business innovations continues to gain both speed and simplicity. Amazon and other providers now make it possible to quickly lease infrastructure at a fixed cost to roll out new services faster. Meanwhile, collaborative business networks involving customers, suppliers, and partners are emerging along the entire value chain. All of this is made possible by the integration of cutting-edge user interfaces, mobile access, and software from the cloud.

 

  • Smarter World: Sensors, robotics, 3D printers, wearables, and artificial intelligence are growing more and more prevalent. In the future, technologies such as these will enable companies to increasingly manage their goods remotely as they evolve from product sellers to service providers. More intelligent products such as self-driving cars, intelligent recomendations or chatbots are only the beginning.

 

  • Cybersecurity: With increased interconnectivity comes a range of security risks, from espionage to online fraud. Companies need to make a greater effort to protect their data, transactions, and intellectual property.

As time passes, a lot of jobs and tasks will be eliminated by the influence of the digital transformation, but also new ones will evolve. Tasks which can be automated will get lost. However, this is not the manual work, like in the last stages of the industrialization and automatization. In this new digital transformation routine-tasks, so called knowledge work, like those of controllers, analysts or administrators will be more and more automated. The main issue for this automatization of routine tasks is the so called “Machine-Learning”.  Above named developments like supercomputing, Cloud,  availability of big data – and also new developments in the self learning of Software – so called deep learning – are bringing Artificial Intelligence to a new level – striving for higher productivity and many new business opportunities.

Other statements are of a more dystopic nature, for example through pioneer Jeremy Rifkin. In 1995 he already postulated in his bookThe End of Workthat we will run out of work like we know it today.

Thereof, in Silicon Valley, the center of IT-Innovations, new social concepts like the basic income are discussed. Reason for this discussion is the expectation, that the digitalization will solve many challenges, nevertheless it will come along with a loss of jobs.

Beside changes by industry, digitalization influences the work of companies of any size. Let’s take a closer look at an example of one of the most successful sectors in Germany: the Engineering sector.

At the company Thyssenkruppp (Facts4workers, 2016) maintenance work has been controlled with a huge amount of paper documentation processes. With the help of a pilot project, they digitalized the maintenance process and as a result at the end of the pilot project, no one of the employees liked to work the way they did before. The quote of failure was reduced and furthermore the efficiency of the maintenance process also increased.

Another example is the medium-sized machine builder Thermolympic, who had time delays in maintenance. In some cases, it was not clear where the machines were located around the world and furthermore in which condition they were. Shortly said, Thermolympic had a reactive maintenance process. Connecting them through the Internet led to faster reaction times, transparency and also cost savings. Of course, at this point it has to be mentioned that a connection of machines via the internet is not that easy as it seems, to be and it isn’t always cost-effective.

Digitalization does not only influence the production industry, but rather every industry sector. For example, also the finance and banking industry, where the so called Fintecs compete with traditional companies due to their new business models and with new technologies.

Disruptive developments can often be noticed, such as in the Telecommunication sector. Chat Apps like the well-known App WhatsApp replaced the lucrative SMS business.  On the other side, many developments and changes develop just slowly and evolutionary, until they reach a tipping-point and the disruption starts. Another example is the company Netflix, which exists since 1997. The continuous development of Netflix’s online video library changed the way how many people watch TV. Furthermore it also pushed a new business model – the subscription approach. And most video-library employees lot their jobs.

The trend “Smart Working” was described by Wolfgang Jäger and Peter Körner. It means that work equipment is going to be more intuitive and intelligent. We know this already from software design and modern user-experience. However the fact that also machines and devices are connected by the internet we see new challenges. Not only repetitive manual work will be replaced –  we might see a competition between machines and humans.

The main focus of the Digitalization isn’t always an increasing productivity. Also safety at work and an enhanced service-quality can be in the focus. For example a warehouse worker is able to work more safely and with both hands free, if he’s using a Smart Glass guiding him to collect orders. Or a drone is able to perform service work or tests without putting service technicians at risk, especially in dangerous work areas.

Companies and the workforce have to work in a more agile way, to be able to meet the challenges like higher complexity – but also be competitive with machines. It becomes obvious that the trend of more agility will impact most types of work

  • The relatively high task-reliability, including standards and process instructions, will decline.
  • Due to the fact above, more empowerment is necessary to support autonomy and self-determined action.
  • Cooperation and networking become increasingly important. To solve complex problems in a faster and better way, knowledge and experience of various persons is needed. The so called WeQ gets importance than the IQ.
  • The role of managers also changes. A hierarchical boss is not appropriate, managers need to act more like a partner, moderator and coach for their employees.
  • The workplace design is going to be more flexible and open to offer various working modes. For example, either a place to retreat for individual work or a place which allows working in a group. Open-cubicle-offices, like we know them so far, will no longer exist in this way. They are just a relic from the industrialization.
  • Further components in the future working environment will be working time and organization. Recent newer models are part-time-work, temporary work, home-office or trust-based working hours without time recording. Co-creation and shareconomy are also recent models.

To develop complex software more quickly and effectively, agile project management approaches were developed in the IT-sector, for example SCRUM. These approaches support companies in various areas. Long-time planning- and design phases in an ivory tower aren’t necessary anymore.

The agile manifest tries to describe this new model:

  • People and interactions are more important than processes and tools
  • A working software (or process) is more important than a comprehensive documentation
  • Cooperation with the customer is also more important than an original wording of specifications
  • Reacting to changes is more important than being focused on one straight plan.

The Design-Thinking Method has become widespread in the sector of design and innovation – but more and more as a general agile toolkit to solve problems and to foster an agile and innovative culture. It’s a method which works with various creativity- and moderation methods on the one hand, and uses new elements like for example fast prototyping or creation of personas on the other hand.

So how can a corporate culture support more agility?  First of all, an implementation of recent methods like Design-Thinking or SCRUM is a good way to support agility. These methods foster a change to values like more trust, networking and focus on the customer. As mentioned before, “knowledge work” is going to be optimized through technologies. Robotics paired with artificial intelligence will create challenges for various job groups. The following questions may help to foster the digital transformation of your work:

  • Which kind of manual tasks can be automated. For example, payment or invoice processes?
  • Which area of business could be supported by forecasting analyzes and self-learning software?
  • Where to improve and simplify user experience including voice recognition, visualization or gamification
  • With which technologies, on-demand learning offerings or access to information should employees be equipped with, to be more productive?
  • How to support new working models like virtual work or home office?
  • How to improve collaboration and networking through the usage of social media?
  • How to positively use digital transformation in personnel decisions? For example, to avoid bias and an unequal treatment of different genders, religions or nations? Or to take fairer decisions regarding talent development.

Managers have to deal with a lot of new challenges due to the digital transformation. On the one hand, depending on the function, various areas have to be transformed regarding business models, processes or the way work has to be done. It has to be mentioned that the transition to a digitalized business is always a transformation process, which has to be supported. Communication, involvement, transparency, interface management, moderation, coaching are helpful components. Also the adapting of management styles depending on situations and contexts to consider employees emotions and cognitions are important. Furthermore, the role of the manager will also change. Communication, collaboration, strategy development, team- and employee development and performance measurement are going to change due to the influence of Digitalization. Openness, trust, participation and agility are more and more important values during the ongoing transformation.

Digitalization also requires an extended media competence of all employees according to skills and application of relevant digital tools.

Furthermore technology is not the goal in itself. It is necessary to question and to transform the business model of the organization as well as the way of working. The culture of teams and companies is a context which has to be considered and developed in addition to the market and industry issues.

  1. Change of Values

Corporate cultures are shaped by values, they can be seen as guidelines and if they are exemplified clearly and consistently, they are able to align employees and they act like drivers and motivators of behaviors.

A prerequisite is a balance between the corporate values and the employee’s values as well. Once the employee’s values are truly lived within an organization, the employer is more attractive and motivating. In the further course of change in social values, companies should analyze changes, check their values and also adjust their work models, HR Policies and organization within the company. This also applies for Public Relations and customer strategies.

The below index shows the preferred values in Germany for 2016. (TNS Infratest)

  1. Health
  2. Freedom
  3. Success
  4. Nature
  5. Community
  6. Family
  7. Safety
  8. Recognition
  9. Justice
  10. Sustainability

As you can see above, health is one of the most important values in Germany. This also demonstrates that it is useful for companies to extend their occupational health management. Freedom, the second important value, shows that independence and a self-determined way of work is important for German employees as well. Therefore, companies should promote empowerment and flexible work models.

Besides the traditional values which have been mentioned above, other implicit values and needs are important, especially for the younger generations. A good wireless network availability is one of the basic requirements of young generations. To set a second example, usage of smartphones are no longer a status gadget, they can be seen as the tool to communicate with the peer group and almost like an additional part of the body. As younger generations are going to be the company’s future employees, the following paragraph will take a closer look at their expectations.

  1. Future of Working – Affected by the Demographic Change

The so called Millennials or Generation Y are the ones which were born between 1980 and 1999. Depending on qualification or vocational training, a lot of them arrive in various companies now. SAP estimates that 75% of the workforce will consist of Millennials in 2025. It is mandatory to get a general understanding of the needs and values of this age group. This understanding enables companies to be an attractive employer, to recruit the best of the young talents and also to promote loyalty amongst the employees.

It is true that Millennials are different, but not as different as many companies expected, as shown in the following Workforce 2020 study (Oxford Economics, 2014).

Importance  of… Millennials Other generations
Influence the world positively 24 % 17 %
Compensation 77 % 76 %
Work-Life-Balance 28 % 30 %
Meaningful Work 14 % 7 %
Achievement of target income 29 % 28 %

The results show that some assumptions are not that true as expected. A good Work-Life-Balance motivates the Millennials in almost the same manner as the other generations before. These values are rather a general part of the value change in our society. Just “Influencing the world positively” and a “meaningful work” are more important for the Millennials than for other generations.

However, the Millennials have definitely different expectations regarding feedback and their future development. One third expects more feedback than they presently receive. Furthermore, as they do not have a big network within their organization, Millennials also need mentoring and development at work.

54% of the German managers mention that they prefer younger employees and graduates to fill the entry-level-positions. On the other side, just 41% of the executives think that the entry of Millennials   affects the human resources strategy of the company.

In Germany, there is often a general misunderstanding between the managers and the Millennials. To set an example, 71% of the German executives believe that Millennials are frustrated due to the deficient leadership quality of their supervisor. However, only 16% of the Millennials confirm this estimation.

Another example demonstrates that 56% of employees in leading positions also mention that Millennials think business procedures are too buerocratic, but only 31% of the Millennials think in that way.

To meet Millennial’s expectations and to clear up the misunderstanding between the assumptions can help the Millennials, and furthermore it helps companies to prepare their workforce for the future. Digital Transformation should also start here.

Compensation or appreciation could be made more flexible and motivating with a supportive service for employees and managers. For example, colleague of mine recently used a service for “Motivation, Recognition and Rewards” to say “Thank You” on my birthday.

Concepts from the field of Gamification can also help to create a more motivating work environment. It is important to pay attention on intrinsic motivators as they promote a more sustainable effect than the extrinsic motivators and use not only use PBL (Points, Badges, Leaderboards).

 

  1. Which competences are going to be more important?

Inspired by the „Competencies 4.0“ model from Ellen Trude (2016) and own experience, the following competences are going to be very important for the future of working.

Self-competence and social competencies

  • Entrepreneurship – not only in management positions, but by every employee
  • Creativity in problem solving, design and implementation
  • Agility – which means reactivity, proactivity, speed, flexibility, competency in building up relationships
  • Self-Management – particularly in dealing with complexity and dynamic volatility. This includes Cognitive Load Management – like filtering and priorizing the many information streams
  • Self-regulated and continuous learning
  • Risk taking

Technical and methodological expertise

  • Technical skills like App development
  • Internet of things – like management of connected assets, machines and tools
  • Dealing with (big) Data and interpretation (Data Scientists), incl. Analytics and predictive analytics
  • Everything around Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deeplearning
  • Social software usage for collaboration, individual work or community set-up and moderation
  • Curation: To research, edit, summarize and spread external contents. For example, open educational resources, videos or blogs

Generic competencies like self-management are going to be essential in the future. Mindfulness, Working Out Loud or Getting Things Done are new helpful approaches.

Fixed qualification catalogs are no longer part of a dynamic working environment. They only make sense in the area of compliance and high regulation. A newer interesting approach is the Peer Recognition, as seen on LinkedIn or in corporate social software like SAP Jam. Employees can exchange experiences and they are able to confirm or offer other proposals to their peers. Due to the decentral approach, the experiences are more valid, fact based and integrated in the context of collaboration – no separated skills databases. The outdated concept of “Yellow Sites”, searching company internal experts, is coming back just easier to use.

  1. Trends for Learning and Competency Development

The rapid change and increasing complexity enhances the importance of continuous lifelong learning. Therefore, the term “Knowledge Workers” can be renamed in “Learning Worker”. Whether relearning, new learning or just informing about something new like a new project, new context or a newly used technology. An initial vocational training or university degree is by far not sufficient enough any more to be successful in the world of business. What we also see more and more, that effective leaning with a social aspect should be executed next to making learning as close to working and concrete actions.  Many companies use the 70/20/10 model a guiding principle to into that direction. The following 6 paragraphs show, how the various elements of learning in the future can look like.

Contents are used already today often in a Blended Learning approach, where learning methods are  mixed up depending on the target group, the objective and the context. Microlearning for example is definitely a recent trend, where learning happens in short learning units – from 5-20 minutes each. Due to the motivating effect, the usage of Gamification elements is also a popular approach of designing learning. Companies can access better and much more learning contents if they use the wisdom from other experts, specialists or open educational resources. It is necessary to research and to select suitable contents from MOOCs (Coursera, Udacity, EdX, Iversity, openSAP) or other open, free learning contents (TED, iTunes, MIT etc.) and to provide the employees with access to the selected learning resources. So companies do not have to develop all learning contents in-house. Of course curation is a necessary part to ensure the quality of the content, to check that it is right for the demands of employees and to save time as well. At SAP we for example integrate open content in the “Open Content Network”. If a company decides to build up learning contents in-house, tools with a high automation level and an easy use make most sense, for example SAP Workforce Performance Builder.

The focus shifts from tutors towards learners, experts which share knowledge and experience decentral, as well as learning from each other within communities. Either in communities of practice or social software like blogs, wikis or similar, which connects and updates users with own or joint reflections. Also possible are open formats of networking like Barcamps or Worldcafes, which allow a collective reflection. Individual “Peer-to-Peer” learning possibilities like coaching, mentoring or shadowing are even more important – perhaps more supported digital.

The learning process is going to be more agile and demand-orientated. Experiential learning becomes more important, i.e. in form of projects or rotations especially regarding competence development. Supporting the knowledge transfer in the moment of need with the help of Apps, job-aids or virtual assistants, known as Performance Support, becomes also more important.

The learning path is not as strict as in the past due to the help of new technologies in the area of artificial intelligence and adaptive learning approaches. Relevant learning contents are offered through self-learning algorithms depending on user information. Probably learners are going to be supported by intelligent aps like Chatbots more and more in the future like via individual tutors.

Self-regulated learning gets more important due to the increased need for informal and needs based learning. Learners have to motivate and structure themselves and they need to know which tools and sources are the best ones for them.

Performance Measurement with a focus on satisfaction surveys, strongly inspired by the 4-level-model of Kirkpatrick, will shift more towards Learning Analytics. Therefore, it gets easier to identify goal achievements and expectations of stakeholders to optimize learning. To manage the increased amount of data this of course demands also modern data analytics skills like predictive analytics and further data scientist models.

Where we see currently certificates through exams as success criteria for learning and education, achievements will become smaller and more experience focused in the future. Small degrees on MOOC platforms, so called Nanodegrees or Open Badges, which describe granular qualifications could be either a part of the competence portfolio or in the individual social network profile. In my opinion, tests and assessments are outdated approaches based on the control-focused way of learning. If we want to promote new values such as self-regulation, agility, openness and trust to foster innovation and productivity, we definitely have to let go the control and assessment-based way of thinking. Further alternatives to measurement of success in the future could be co-innovated artefacts or reflected experiences.

Software and technology is getting much easier to handle. Role-models are well known applications, seen in private areas like Google, Facebook and modern Apps displayed on the Smartphone. Authoring systems and learning management systems also stay important, if they going to extend the mentioned approaches above. Partially they will get pushed in the background, as teachers will operate with an App, Chatbot or Social Software. In sum, we can see a diversification of software tools like Social Software, Apps, Analytics, Performance Support, Open Education Resources, Cloud Based Authoring Tools. The hottest technology is currently artificial intelligence. Chatbots as individual tutors, automated community moderators, recommendation aps, or entire new user interfaces like smart assistants for learning (similar to Apple’s SIRI) are also going to change the way of learning. See for example the developments at SAP about digital assistants (SAP CoPilot).

Another hot trend is using virtual or augmented reality to make learning more immersive and connected to the behavior which is learned. Cost savings or risk avoidance have led to use such technologies in the military or aviation since years – however as now more cost-effective technology is available via use in the gaming industry (e.g. VR Head over displays) we see it also being used in training for softskills or products. We see here again working and learning coming closer together. E.G. a doctor or a service engineer might be guided via an augmented reality display (e.g. MS Holo-Lens) similar like drivers in cars use today in head over displays.

Coworking, learning and collaboration can get supported with entirely different approaches. To set two examples, SAP uses internally an App that promotes SAP employees to carpool (www.twogo.com). Another one is the Networking-lunch, which means that employees get proposals for lunch partners depending on similar interests and the location.

The fast dynamics of digital transformation show, that there will be always new technologies which sooner or later can be used for learning & education. So there definitely will be also use-cases for the use of blockchain – a technology used currently in finance

Looking at the actual status in companies shows that there is definitely a need for action (Oxford Economics, 2014).

  • Required technology- competencies will increase. Nevertheless, only a few employees think that they will achieve deep skills in that area. More than one half of them expects to be specialists in the field of data analytics within 3 years but less than one third believes to gain sufficient experience in the field of Cloud and mobile solutions.
  • Only 53 % of German managers mention that their company offers training programs to build up new qualifications. Just 48% of the employees mention that their employer provides them the right tools they need, either for their further development or their increase in performance.
  • 39% of employees say that their employer promotes training activities to support their career development.
  • Only 6% of the employees report that the main part of their professional development has been achieved through formal trainings, showing the importance of on-the job and social learning.
  • Only 59% of executives mention that their company is promoting a culture of continuous learning.

If companies want to create a learning future like characterized above, a continuous further development of the learning culture is necessary. It could be helpful to take the 4C model as a guiding principle. Of course every company first needs to assess the status quo and then needs to develop a transformation roadmap to an aspired culture in the future.

  • Collective: Ideas, experiences and knowledge have to leverage all relevant sources and talents – this enables a high productivity, high innovativeness and is motivating.
  • Collaborative: Collaboration creates new knowledge and innovations – social learning thrives on learning from and with others.
  • Continuous: We do not learn one or two times a year in a classroom –learn happens every day.
  • Connected: regardless of location or device and learning needs to happen connected, depending on individual and business needs.

According to E. Schein’s model of organizational culture, it is important to further develop beliefs, collective values as well as general (implicit) basic assumptions in addition to the observable artefacts like policies or designs.

Also agile values should be a part of the learning culture’s target vision. These values include for example courage, focus, respect, openness, commitment and trust. A development of the learning culture means that freedom to act as well as trust have to be available. Otherwise self-organized agile learning is not really possible. The change of a learning culture has to be a part of a general cultural transformation. Networking, trust, openness, participation, agility are general values which need to be strongly promoted. They also help to reduce the complexity – which brings us back to the start.

  1. Summary or „Between exploitation and self-realization: “How will learning and working look in the future?

The situation is schizophrenic: On the one hand, everyone is living a digital lifestyle in their private life using smartphones, social media etc. On the other hand, the same digital pros are employees in companies, which have mainly a lack in this area and not a real digital workstyle. Although this issue is discussed in many conferences, the own use of digital media or the development of new learning cultures still has not arrived.

Learning and competency development is a typical HR task, but usually HR is not always the driver of innovations. In many companies, HR is a static and hierarchical department, driven by administrative work with a high focus on HR itself and its processes.

During the discussion about the special demographical characteristics like for example the Millennials, we risk stereotyping and spending too much focus only on this one group. Other groups like e.g. people without education, with unemployment or chronically sickness are often out of our focus, although we also have to take these ones into account. Especially for ethical and humanistic reasons – but also for reasons of social peace.

Right-wing populism and mobilization of hate, jealousy or hostility should not be fed by frustrations of people who feel left behind. Unfortunately, digital innovations prefer to promote quiet often “First World Problems”. Startups or disruptors seldom pay attention to social or political challenges like migration, environmental pollution, shortage of natural resources or severe illnesses.

However, everyone just wants good leadership and good working conditions. This can be particularly seen through the current change of values. That is why our debate is definitely helpful. Also studies demonstrate that the development of employees and managers are going to be the most important differentiators for employers.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will influence work in the future pretty much. Repetitive knowledge work will become more and more obsolete – and it will definitely impact how we learn & educate in the future. So when operational knowledge work for jobs like for call-center agents, data-typists, insurance clerks just to name a few will be automated – this needs to be compensated via other jobs like around the individual local customer interface or in the development of new innovations. Otherwise we will face severe social problems. So re-skilling and collaboration through different formats and platforms will be key. Especially the balance between collaboration /social learning and automation / AI needs to be further balanced. I believe that creative constructive and human tasks can only be done by humans (at least in the near future), besides all the hype around AI. So everyone needs to challenge him or herself with the question: how can I develop myself in order what I do is can not be automated.

All organizations, who want to change their work environment can find helpful tips below. Best is to start with a self-assessment and to describe where you want to go with the help of a Roadmap.

  • Promote networking and feedback – online, offline, internal, external and mixed
  • Facilitate the access to selected external content sources. Why create learning contents on your own? It’s much easier and also cost-effective to use external open educational resources
  • Promote the On-the-Job competence development with the help of learning projects, rotation programs, job-aids or knowledge transfer with Apps
  • Try out new methods like Design Thinking, Working-out-lout or SCRUM and offer learning possibilities for them
  • Simplify your processes
  • Foster the transformation of your learning culture and the general corporate culture
  • Support a diverse workforce
  • Be brave and experiment. There is no magic formula – You have to adjust new approaches on your own, specific context.

The digital transformation should be seen as an opportunity to rethink business models, processes and to rethink how we work and learn. If it is seen only technical or mechanical like to automate and save costs it will not only use its potential – it will also fail in the long-term. Focusing on empowerment and autonomy it can foster employee engagement, which furthermore promotes more freedom, health, and individual success.

 

Literature

Oxford Economics (2014): Workforce 2020 studies

Facts4Workers (2016): Requirements of workers and organisations

Jäger, W., Körner, P. (2016): New Work, New Leadership. In: Digital Leadership – Erfolgreiches Führen in Zeiten der Digital Economy. Haufe, Freiburg.

Jenewein, 2016: The Impact of the Digital (R)evolution on Management

Jenewein, 2013: Social Media in Learning and Talent Development

 

More information about Thomas Jenewein: Linkedln I XING I Twitter I Slideshare I Blog

 

Thomas Jenewein is Education Business Development Manager at SAP. He has studied organizational psychology and since 1998 he works in various positions at SAP in the area of learning and talent management. Starting as a consultant, program manager or manager at SAP’s internal learning & people development areas up to a product manager for learning software.

#Hashtags are: Gamification, digital transformation, learning technology, social software, learning and development, coaching, talent management, product management.

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4 Comments

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  1. Stefan Weisenberger

    Hello Thomas,

    impressive collection of thoughs – this is rather a small book than a blog.

    One topic that keeps me thinking is the intersection of “aging workforce” and all the change we see in the work environment with regards to needed skills and qualifications.

    As information technology founds its way into most industries, we see the same pace of chance happen also in rather traditional segments.

    What I observed with some companies is that they introduce talent from a neighbouring industry, e.g. hire a consumer products expert for a sales and marketing position in traditional manufacturing industries – to accelerate the change through new ideas, new way of thinking – and to build a more heterogenuous team. My non-representative observation: this accelerates innovation and boosts digital transformation readiness.

    Fellowships, exchange programs, or freedom to explore in side project may provide similar enrichment – being exposed to outside ideas.

    I am not a psychologist. Therefore a rather “edutain-ish” addition: I found the motivational insights of D.Pink (https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/05/09/daniel-pink-drive-rsa-motivation/) quite helpful:
    Self-directed learning and innovation brings significantly better results. That’s pretty clear.
    The mastery piece is more tricky, as it requires time to acchieve mastery in new skills – which is tricky given the speed of change. How can you get employees to the level of mastery in new skills. I do not really have a good answer. Probably not by training but on the job applying it constantly?

    Anyhow, thanks a lot for this great blog.

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    1. Thomas Jenewein Post author

      thanks for the feedback. Yes, Dan Pink is helpful as he reflects on the topic of motivation – which is something we need to consider more – not only as part of gamification.

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  2. Diane Bradley

    Hello Thomas,

    Very engaging article. A lot of information to process. Would you consider a presentation and discussion with SAP colleagues?

    Thank you!

     

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