2018 is almost over. It was a very significant year for Skillsoft as we celebrated our 20th anniversary. Our industry is always evolving as the needs and demands of our learners change. So what are the significant changes, the trends I see happening in 2019?
1. Privacy will continue to be a significant focus
The global trend of more regulation, more new laws and increased oversight will continue. New privacy and information security laws similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be enacted resulting in new training requirements to address the operational challenges of privacy and data management.
2. A renewed focus on a harassment-free workplace
Harassment prevention training will continue to be a primary focus of organizations around the world with new statutes being enacted in the US and internationally. These new statutes will contain unique requirements by jurisdiction, increasing training program complexity for global organizations.
3. Leadership training for all
Leadership development will become democratized, focusing on new digital competencies, oriented toward mind-set development and L&D professionals will find they are held more accountable to spend. Today’s organizations are flattening. We execute work in the team context, yet many individuals are leading without the formal designation. We can no longer restrict leadership development to senior leader cohorts. Through the greater use of technology, we can cost-effectively scale broad and deep leadership development.
4. Digital transformation will go mainstream
To lead in a digital economy, leaders need different competencies including how to lead innovatively, how to lead virtually, how to use digital technology and how to embrace diversity. Becoming a more effective leader requires a willingness to adopt new mind-sets, such as agility and resilience, which are key to success in the digital economy.
5. The technology skills gap will reshape learning methods
Training and retraining tech employees will be one of the most important activities an organization can undertake with the looming talent shortage. Overcoming the enterprise technology and software developer skills gap will require more robust training than ever before. To be truly effective, it must consist of multi- and mixed-modalities and provide learners the ability to learn in the flow of work. To upskill the technology workforce in a meaningful way training will become an immersive experience, not just an activity. Organizations that do not provide ongoing learning opportunities run the risk of watching talent leave. Why would someone stay at a company that does not provide training that challenges people to learn new skills and knowledge? Do you want complacent workers at the helm steering your organization into the future?
6. Data training will become an imperative
Companies continue to struggle with the promise of data and effectively utilizing data throughout an organization. Organizations will need to identify if staff have the right tools, and the right talent to deploy data in their organization effectively. Data governance will remain paramount as organizations must ensure that they are providing safe, governed, real-time, accurate, fast and valuable data that provides the right insights. Companies that do not take advantage of data to derive real business insights will be left behind in our ever-changing and fast-moving digital economy. Companies that leverage data to get closer to customers will gain the upper hand, becoming the success model other organizations seek to emulate.
7. Security will be everyone’s responsibility
Security is perhaps the most critical technology-driven aspect of a company’s future. As organizations increasingly use data, capture more user demographics, credit-card numbers and identifying information, companies cannot afford to have this valuable information compromised, exposed or stolen. One single point of entry is all it takes to unleash a reputation-damaging attack that will cost an organization millions of dollars to fix. Closing an organization’s security-specific skills gap is a business imperative to boost protection and reduce risk. While security remains top of mind, organizations must truly grasp and deploy effective measures to mitigate risks. Organization-wide, staff must be educated on security risks and resulting policies surrounding BYOD, printing, third-party software, remote workers, legacy equipment, vendor management, social engineering, outdated-training and security policies and public or poorly protected WiFi. The consequences are real and put your company at risk for attack, lost revenues and a bad reputation.
8. Agility will continue to be an organizational mission
Similar to Sears, which had a presence in virtually every community yet is on its way to becoming extinct because it could not adapt to change caused by digital competition fast enough, organizations that cannot become more agile will perish. Virtually every industry has examples of companies that are struggling to hold onto their command and control of business due to a lack of agility.
9. Credentialing becomes the norm
2019 will be the year where credentialing goes mainstream. We already see it with our customers – people want to engage in continuous learning and showcase their learning with credentials. Learners will continue to add to their credentials which validate the actual skills that someone has, and they will be portable as they move through their career.
10. Specialized talent will become increasingly scarce
As organizations leverage their data in new and innovative ways to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) driven growth platforms, qualified talent to both build these solutions and monetize them to their fullest potential will become increasingly scarce. Simultaneously, as consumers embrace the automation of front-line work processes, lesser-skilled business processes take root and, displacing the people who perform these functions from their current professions. We see this already with automation of administrative roles, such as cashiers and the like. Given this dynamic, there will be a need for “durable-reskilling” so that those displaced by the digital disruption, can participate in the growth opportunity of the future.
2019 will see a lot of transformation within our industry and present some challenges to HR and L&D professionals, but I also think it will be an exciting year. What other changes do you see happening in our industry over the next twelve months? Post a comment below and let’s get the conversation started.
Mark Onisk is the Chief Content Officer for Skillsoft.