Five Predictions for 2021 from Skillsoft Leaders
About This Episode
It’s no question, 2020 was a tough year. The global pandemic caused a complete shift in our day-to-day lives, forcing us to question norms and rethink the ways we used to do things. The past year has taught us that it’s important to look for the silver linings and build upon them. As we look ahead to 2021, we want to build upon those silver linings – in this special five-part series, we bring together five Skillsoft leaders to share their predictions for 2021. Curious how DEI, digital dexterity, compliance and safety, the “Internet of Careers,” and agile will play a role in the year to come? You’ll have to listen to find out.
For more information on the trends that will shape 2021, visit: https://www.skillsoft.com/2021predictions
Interested in hearing more from the resources mentioned in this episode?
Listen to VP of Global Talent Enablement, Elisa Vincent, join Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek as a co-host on The Edge episode, “The Changing Face of CLO,” where they are joined by Dr. Karen Wolf, Chief Learning Officer of ManTech International and Emma Engel, Chief Learning and Inclusion Officer of Unisys to discuss the continuously evolving role of the CLO during transformative times.
The views expressed by guests are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Skillsoft.
Michelle BB00:00:07 Welcome to the edge, a Skillsoft podcast for learners and leaders alike. You know, in every episode we engage in candid thought provoking conversations on the topic of learning and growth in the workplace. Now, in this special episode, you are going to hear from five Skillsoft experts. Each of whom is going to share their predictions for the field of learning and development in 2021. Now, to look at the year ahead, you have to take into account what you've seen and experienced in a year. That's about to end and boy, this one was a doozy. One thing we've witnessed the learning industry looks a whole lot different than it did one year ago. Doesn't it? It felt like 2020 had barely begun before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a transformation, certainly in how people live and work, but also in how they learn develop skills and grow 2020.
Michelle BB 00:01:01 You know, it was a tough year full of challenges, sacrifice stress, but if there's a silver lining to the issues we've faced in the past year, it's this 2020 has prompted so many of us to question norms, to rethink how we've always done things to grow as people and to speak up when events have called for it. So with 2021, just around the corner, it's imperative that as champions for learning and growth that we build upon these silver linings and that we ask the important questions, like what are the key learning trends that will define 20, 21 and how can organizations act upon them? What's more, how can we create inclusive, innovative, and safe environments, ones that allow people to learn, grow, and gain access to opportunities. In this episode, we brought together five conversations with Skillsoft experts that are brief in terms of duration, but powerful when it comes to the implications for 2021 to start things off. We recently spoke with Elisa Vincent vice president of global talent enablement for Skillsoft who shared her 2021 predictions focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion. Here's what Elisa told us. Welcome Elisa. Um, it's so great to have you here, you know, you and I have done the podcast before, so I'm excited for you to share maybe just a little bit about yourself and your role at Skillsoft for those folks who maybe didn't hear our session before.
Elisa00:02:33 Thanks so much, Michelle. I am delighted to be here. So I am vice president of global talent enablement at Skillsoft. And what that means is, um, I work closely with all of you and with my team to empower learners in our organization, um, to help enable our culture and then to help drive business results through our people. And part of that is really about creating that end to end fully integrated experience of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for our employees. So I'm delighted to be here with you today. Excited to talk about this topic. Oh, it was fun to look forward to,
Michelle BB00:03:12 To the future. Oh, and don't, we all really, really, really want to get out of this year and head into 2021. Absolutely. So let's go ahead and dive right in there. Let's share your 20, 21 prediction with our listeners. And look, you can focus on a big theme, one key takeaway, but I do want you to discuss the implications that this prediction has for our leaders and our learners who are listening in, okay.
Elisa00:03:39 I have two predictions for diversity equity and inclusion moving forward. One of them is focused on those core leadership competencies that we hoping to build for our leaders. And the other is looking at the individuals and our employees who are leaving the workforce and who are, we are going to need to invest in and help and support as they return. I believe number one, whenever we think about diversity equity and inclusion, we always talk about leadership competencies, right? I mean, how many times have we talked about inclusive leadership and needing to train all leaders on inclusive leadership, diversity awareness, unconscious bias, but what we're going to see moving forward. And what we've learned through COVID is that our lives have been disrupted and there's both challenge and opportunity there. The challenge is in our digital space. And so when I think about, you know, how we talk about diversity and inclusion, and we include the word equity in there and we were studying, um, anti-racism and belonging and, you know, true cultural transformation, we're going to see leadership competencies such as digital dexterity, um, unconscious bias and awareness of, of, um, implicit bias, right in, um, machine learning through artificial intelligence and how we need to be able to have a common theme and thread of DEI as we've come to call it throughout all of our leadership competencies, strategic planning, digital leadership, not just empathy and EEQ, which we will continue to see on the, on the uprise.
Elisa00:05:12 And we're going to be talking more and more about, and, you know, not just talking about how to build these competencies through training, but how to build awareness and how to build those core learning experiences. So you can talk to me all about my bias, um, and what types of bias I have, but it is through stories of other people it's through access and exposure and having those conversations that I'm really going to start to build my awareness. So we're going to see more and more of that. And the last thing Michelle really is we'd be remissed if we didn't talk about the mass Exodus of women in the workforce, in the United States, um, especially, um, during COVID and our responsibilities to not only help our children learn from home, learn in hybrid models. Um, but in September alone we saw 617,000 women leaving the workplace in the United States and 78,000 men versus 78,000 men.
Elisa00:06:13 And so it is going to be on our organizations moving forward to think about how we can bring those women back, continue to diversify, not only our C-suites, but every structure in our organization and build those re-entry opportunities and programs, um, that help women continue to bring the rigor that they bring to the workplace and to help them continue to advance and grow our concern with these predictions. Right. When we see these numbers is that women are taking a step, a step back and out of the workplace, um, and we're diluting their impact and their potential for career growth. So that is another, um, trend that I think we're going to be continuing to talk about more and more in the coming year. How can we do that effectively?
Michelle BB00:06:59 Elisa, thank you so much for that. And I want to touch on that last one for just one more moment, if we can come back to it, you know, when you think about this Exodus of women or, or the concern that we have, that women are leaving the workplace at, um, more than what almost three times, no more than three times men, um, what guidance would you give organizations, your counterparts out there in terms of how they can, what they can start doing now to help, you know, turn this tide.
Elisa00:07:31 So I think it starts with acknowledging the reality and investing in what many of us are calling, which is extreme listening and helping leaders build that capacity as well. We all need to continue to grow our businesses. We all need to continue to keep up with the pace of all of this change that we're experiencing, but I encourage organizations. I encourage chief learning officers and encourage all of us who work in the human capital space to help leaders in the organization, listen to their employees and ask the right questions. Right? We can see each other now on video, we can see each other's faces. Who's tired. Who's not tired, not making assumptions, but asking questions. How are you doing? How can I help? What is your Workday look like? What are your home responsibilities? And it goes back also to this conversation about bias. What biases do we have ingrained?
Elisa00:08:30 You know, are we talking about our families and our caregiving responsibilities? Are we able to say openly in a conference call, I tested positive for COVID and I'm healing. You know, so it is organizations doing the difficult work of asking questions, listening and creating those safe spaces where employees can talk about how their personal and work and professional lives are coming. I think Michelle gone are the days of work-life balance gone are the days even of work-life integration. I think more and more as organizations, we need to build understanding awareness and structure for this delicate dance that we all have to do on a daily basis. There's also some pure, um, technical and, and human capital HR, um, things that we should be doing. And that is making sure that everybody has equal access to technology, making sure that people are aware of the benefits that they have available to them, that they can take advantage of without stigma and without ramifications, um, and across the organization.
Elisa00:09:37 Um, and also offering wellness programs. We are going to continue to see wellness programs, um, rising in organizations and in, in organizational leaders really needing to invest and provide their employees with the time to be able to do that. And then it is also about when someone has to take a leave when someone feels that they need to take some time off, being able to coach them, we invest millions of dollars, um, in the onboarding and pre-boarding industry as organizations. We just need to flip how we think about that and look at that and think about how we reward those that need to take leave. Okay.
Michelle BB00:10:18 That's great. Thank you so much, Elisa Elisa's insights about what leaders must do to help women reenter the workforce was truly eye-opening. You know, I hope, uh, years from now, we can look back at this time in history and know that we employed bold, innovative programs for helping workers reboard at their organizations, particularly during the pandemic. And so Lisa spoke about core leadership competency. She mentioned the concept of digital dexterity, our next guest, Mike Hendrickson, vice president of technology and developer products for Skillsoft spoke all about digital dexterity. He predicts that it will be a major trend in 2021. Welcome Mike, how are you?
Mike00:11:09 I'm doing well. Thanks, Michelle.
Michelle BB00:11:11 Um, thank you so much for joining us. Can you, uh, maybe briefly share with our audience a little bit about yourself as well as your role here at Skillsoft?
Mike00:11:20 Sure. So I'm the vice president of tech and dev products at Skillsoft where I help define our content roadmap. And this has done mostly through market intelligence, analytics and plenty of customer conversations. We want to make sure we listen to what our customers are looking for throughout my career. I've always kept an eye out for forefront and emerging technologies and trends while balancing that with the everyday needs of large enterprise organizations.
Michelle BB00:11:48 Excellent. And so I think this is going to be one that our listeners are really going to be sitting forward in their seats for when we talk about 21, 2021 predictions, when we talk about emerging technologies and trends, what is on the horizon. And I would imagine that this is probably going to be a little bit different than if we were looking at 2020, um, or even 2019, because in the midst of the pandemic, we become so much more reliant on technology. So what is your prediction for 2021?
Mike00:12:19 Well, to me, um, one thing that really gets all of those emerging texts wrapped up into one thing is digital dexterity. It's increasingly important for individuals and organizations, especially when facing uncertainty market changes or competitive pressures. And this applies to both tech people and non-tech people. So digital dexterity, I think, is the increasingly important thing for most individuals and organizations.
Michelle BB00:12:50 You tell us a little bit about what, what is digital dexterity for those people who might not necessarily understand the concept?
Mike00:12:57 Sure. Let me, let, let me unpack that a little bit. So if we accept the premise that digital dexterity is having both the ability and the desire to use and apply existing and emerging technology for better business outcomes. So to have digital dexterity, there are certain things we can adopt as a mindset, but if we look at this right now in what we're sitting in, we're all participating in something that we can look back at as a historic deployment of remote work and access to digital services across every business domain COVID has accelerated what could have been multi-year digital transformation plans into days or weeks. And those with digital dexterity right now have adapted much more quickly. And the evidence is clear. Gardner just published a research report. This June, that 9% of employees have high digital dexterity. And they also found that those employees with digital dexterity were 3.3 times more likely to quickly and effectively execute digital initiatives in their organizations.
Michelle BB00:14:16 You know, I find that fascinating. I'm sure that my listeners are going to be bored with this, with this particular anecdote. Cause I've probably said it three times, but Peter biotech, my husband works right upstairs. And when we shut down on March 13th, I think it was Mike, he said to me, um, they've just implemented this thing called Microsoft teams. Do you know what it is? And do you know how to use it? And I said, have I got training for you? So I guess my question to you is, you know, this notion of digital dexterity, what is the implication for learners? What is it that we as organizations need to be doing to prepare learners as we head into 2021 to become more dexterous, digitally dexterous?
Mike00:15:05 Yes. Um, great question. Those are mindset oriented things. I look at the there's four really. Um, I think core mindsets that people have to have. One is a technological aptitude where individuals are insatiably curious to adapt new tools, technologies, ways to communicate ways to manage their workloads and having the drive to master their work domain. And that curiosity helps them deconstruct these new technologies and processes in ways that they can see how to best utilize that technology. Number two is an open mind, changes human, but humans tend to resist change, having an open mind to explore new or better ways to do things is really important in helping own your dexterity and awareness of your company vision, to continue to learn as your business changes and adapts to market conditions, having the insights to understand your company and its industry's true business promise will help you develop business agility. You need to see the forest and the trees, and then lastly ambition, a different kind of ambition to continue to learn and keep learning as long as you want to keep your edge.
Michelle BB00:16:33 Okay. So folks, I just want to point out here that you heard it from, um, the head of technology learning here, that what we need in 2021, isn't necessarily just those hard skills, the skills to do our job, but actually what we talk about all the time, which are those power skills, adaptability, agility, right? Not the actual technical skills, those are certainly needed, but it sounds to me, Mike, from what I'm hearing you say that we almost need to pivot a little bit and yes, while we still have to be able to do our jobs, we have to do it in a different environment. We have to do it with new tools, with new technologies and we have to be ready for change. So we have to be adaptive and adaptable. You agree?
Mike00:17:17 Absolutely. 100%. We have no idea what COVID 20, 25 is going to bring. So why not prepare yourself now for what you're going to be confronting in the future. And I look at that as cultivating a culture of curiosity.
Michelle BB00:17:33 Love that. Thank you so much, Mike. Well, I found Mike's insights on digital dexterity, both fascinating and hopeful as learners build the technical skills to succeed in 2021. It's good to know that human elements like keeping an open mind, we're staying agile will play a key role. Our next guest also spoke about the human side of an increasingly digital era with an eye towards helping organizations build safer, more respectful cultures. We spoke with norm Ford, vice president of compliance products for Skillsoft who shared his 20, 21 prediction focusing on emerging compliance trends. Welcome norm, how are you today
Norm00:18:23 Doing well? How about you, Michelle?
Michelle BB00:18:25 You know, I'm good. And you know, it's, it's been a while since we've spoken. But the one thing that I realized is that for us, we've never met in person. So I think we only communicated via video.
Norm00:18:38 Yeah, you're exactly right. In fact, there's a lot of people at Skillsoft that I have not met in person just because of what's going on in the world today with COVID. But I see people, I see their homes, which is kind of new for me, but I've not met them in person, which is kind of strange if you think about it.
Michelle BB00:18:55 I know. I know. So before we dive into predictions, why don't you tell our audience a little bit about yourself and also your role at Skillsoft? I think they're going to find it fascinating.
Norm00:19:05 Sure. Just, just real quick. Um, I have over three decades of experience in compliance in both the government and commercial sectors. I was co-founder of one of the, the first online compliance training companies. It was a go train.net, uh, back in 1998 and here at Skillsoft, I'm the VP of compliance products.
Michelle BB 00:19:26 So when we talk about compliance, it's not just one thing, right? Norm. So maybe you could just give our audience a little bit of insight into what does compliance comprise
Norm 00:19:39 For still software defined compliance in two broad areas. Uh, first of all, it's safety and health. Uh, those, those requirements, uh, governed by OSHA EPA, uh, primary transportation. And then the other side of the house would be our legal compliance. So things you're very familiar with like anti harassment, antitrust business compliance, ethics code of conduct, those kinds of things.
Michelle BB00:20:03 Thank you. I think that's, I think that's really helpful. So I guess the question is when we, when we talk about your 20, 21 predictions, certainly every single one of these areas has been top of mind for organizations, for their leaders, whether it's a chief risk officer, whether it is a chief human resources officer, whether it is the CEO who is thinking about these things, what is it that you are predicting for 2021 in the area of compliance and what do our listeners really need to be thinking about right now?
Norm00:20:35 Great question. I, you know, for compliance people, it really is the most, one of the most important things is predicting risk. That's what we do. We, we try to understand what risks, uh, are, are, are likely to occur to our business, our people and the people in our organization. And for me, um, I can't think of a greater risk to the two people in business in 2021 then continued volatility. Um, a change in volatility will definitely strain our systems and our staff. Um, and, and I think that's probably going to present the greatest risk. Now, what, what drives that change and volatility are some things that probably a lot of folks are familiar with. It's things like, you know, climate change, uh, challenges to our supply chain, uh, emerging technology, believe it or not is, is a huge concern. Uh, that could be a disruptor.
Norm00:21:33 Uh, it could, it could cause, um, definitely concerns with our employees and our, and our talent base. So I think, uh, I think again, uh, volatility is probably the biggest risk to the organization and which is, you know, I'll just say, which is kind of, um, scary when you think about, you know, what 2020 has done to us and, you know, 2020 has redefined the workplace, uh, to, to a great extent. And a lot of people are thinking, well, hopefully 20, 21 is not going to be another 2020, but you know, I, I have to believe that that we're going to continue to see change in, in 2021. And it may not be due to a pandemic, but certainly there are a lot of things on the horizon that are going to, they're going to be a challenge for us.
Michelle BB00:22:19 Well, norm I mean, you know, one of the things that, that we know, so many people are still working in a remote environment, right? So many organizations have not sent their workforces back. And so, I mean, I think of that as just massive change. Yes. Maybe we have, um, maybe we have enough of the population vaccinated. Maybe we are sending people back, but do we expect, for example, that, you know, returning to work, returning to a workplace, um, is actually going to be a good thing. Is it going to pose more challenges? Are we going to see more requirements, particularly as we have to now teach and train people, perhaps new technologies or how to enter the workplace safely?
Norm00:23:03 Well, I think there's two things there. One is, I don't think that, um, in 2021, it's going to be what it was like in 2019, for example, I think there's probably going to be a situation where it's more of a hybrid based approach. I don't think there's going to be this mass, uh, return to the office as we've seen in the past. And it, and even those folks that returned to the office, I think to your point, I think there's going to be a change, uh, with regard to that, I'll mention a few things regarding this, this new hybrid environment, um, because it drives a lot of the risks that we're looking at. Now, two of the big risks that we want are around privacy, uh, and cybersecurity, privacy concerns, cyber secure, cyber security concerns. I think we'll kick into very high gear in 2021.
Norm00:23:58 We're already starting to see, well, we've already seen, you know, new regulations, uh, around the world that impact the way we do business. Uh, the California just recently passed and, and, um, and the recent election prop 24, the California privacy rights act, which is an amendment to the California consumer privacy act, which I think is just the tip of the iceberg. I think what we're going to see across the country, uh, at the very least at the state level, perhaps even at the federal level, increased regulation around privacy and information security. Now, what that does is it is it impacts business in a way that, uh, impacts not only the equipment, but the systems and the processes they use to, to control P uh, PII, uh, uh, important data that the, that the company manages. Uh, and then also making sure that the employees are trained on how to best manage data and to comply with these new and emerging regulations.
Norm00:24:57 So that's one big issue, um, is these new privacy and cybersecurity. And I also think on the cybersecurity side of what we're going to see is, you know, increased cyber threats from around the world. Uh, and, and, and they're getting more and more creative. And I think we need to prepare our employees because that's the weakest link in our, in, in any company is an employee, uh, responding to these threats. The other part of it is, you know, in this new environment, this is kind of semi hydro hybrid environment. What we are seeing just this year is actually a 22% increase in inappropriate communications and conduct on messaging platforms. To me, that's hugely significant.
Michelle BB 00:25:41 Wow. Okay. Hold on. Just say that again. Cause that's actually incredible.
Norm00:25:49 Did a recent study, uh, of, of some organizations. And what we found was 22% of these organizations said that they saw an increase in inappropriate communication or conduct while on messaging platforms. And if you think about it, you know, as I said earlier, you know, you're, you're, you're doing business inside your home and there's a certain level of comfort and informality associated with that type of environment. And a lot of us don't really realize that, you know, we, we are inviting folks into our home to conduct business and the same rules should apply, uh, as in the, is in the workplace, is in the office as they do in this virtual environment. And unfortunately, what we're seeing is a lot of, uh, employees are becoming just a little lax in their communication and being just a little inappropriate. And so that's a concern for a lot of organizations in, in managing that. So norm, are you
Michelle BB00:26:44 Telling me that perhaps we need to rethink and perhaps re-imagine what our anti harassment training looks like now that we are operating in this very different world.
Norm00:26:57 I think it's, you know, the same requirements still apply. The same practices still apply. I, it really is about communication and, and how we communicate expectations to our employees. It's, you know, right now, you know, what the pandemic has shown us is it's caught a lot of folks flat-footed, um, they're not prepared to, to work in this new environment. And, and so things like, you know, you can harass someone just as easily. You can mistreat someone just as easily on a virtual platform as you can in person. Uh, and, and a lot of organizations still realize that it's difficult sometimes to report harassment in a virtual situation, when you're working from home, how do you report harassment? Can you go walk up to your supervisor, shut the door and have a very candid and personal conversation with your supervisor or with HR. That's, that's gone for a lot of folks. So how do they, how do they do that? How do they, how do they get that support? And I think those kinds of things, when we talk about harassment training and re-imagine harassment training, I think it really is about pivoting and adapting more than anything. And making sure that, that, uh, we support our, our employees in this new normal, uh, so that they can best, uh, work comfortably and safely.
Michelle BB00:28:22 So if you were to give organizations leaders right now, one piece of advice as we head into 2021, one thing that they could be doing right now to act upon your prediction, um, what would it be?
Norm00:28:36 It's hard, it's a compliance person. Does that come up with one panacea? I think, I think there's probably three big bullets. One is focusing on your talent, you know, focusing on, um, finding, keeping and growing and nurturing your current talent. Um, I think that's huge because you know, and an area of change, your talent is going to be coming and going, and you need to make sure that you take care of your talent to best put your, your organization in a very, uh, in a very safe place. Communication and training are huge. That's when you know, a lot of people look at training a little differently than I tend to look at training. I look at training as the way that an organization communicates its expectations to its staff. Now, I'm talking about compliance training, of course, right. You know, this is the way that an organization can say, here's, here's my, here's my belief of your expected behavior or here. Here's why I expect your behavior to be like, to be safe, to be healthy and to be respectful of others. And so I think, I think those are
Michelle BB00:29:42 The key things that employers should look at talent communication training. Love it. Love it. Thank you so much norm for joining us. Oh, my pleasure. Thanks for having me, you know, I have to say in speaking with norm, I was floored by the wide range of compliance challenges that we must get right. In 2021, especially when it comes to addressing inappropriate conduct on digital platforms. In my view, if we can help organizations build a safer digital culture, it's going to be a massive win. And when I reflect on culture, I also think about things like how we collaborate, how we learn together and how we improve our next guest spoke about these concepts within the innovative framework of agile. We spoke with APA team <inaudible> or APS he's known, and he's our chief technology officer here at Skillsoft. And he shared his 20, 21 prediction focusing on agility as a core competency, AP welcome. It is a pleasure to have you here. How are you Michelle? You know, I think for our listeners, it would be great. If you could share just a little bit about yourself and your role here at Skillsoft, would you do that for us?
AP 00:31:05 Glad to, um, I have had about a 20 year career in software and technology covering many areas like mobile computing, payments technology, and now learning technologies, uh, for the last four years or so. I'm the chief technology officer of Skillsoft and SumTotal systems.
Michelle BB00:31:22 Thank you. You know, I think this episode is all about predictions, particularly what we see coming in 2021. And I am sure that you have some thoughts or ideas as to what our listeners need to be thinking about. And you can feel free to focus on a big idea or a theme that's at the center of it all. But I also want you to talk about what implications your prediction might have for leaders and learners alike.
AP00:31:49 Thanks for that question. It's a great question. The team that I see emerging loudly and clearly is agility to emerge as a core competency. It's like reading, writing, arithmetic, and agile. What is agile after all? You know, agile is not just trained software development paradigm. It's actually a way of working. It's about continuous planning doing and validating. It's about fundamentally about a team working in specialist roles, but optimized for team goals. It's about planning work in short quantifiable sprints. Um, it's going to be so much more prevalent than it is today in all functions, things like marketing, things like back office operations, uh, things like sales, and go-to-market all be agile much more so than today because at its core, the agile principles manage a hybrid work environment. Much more agile principles will be much more applicable in the near future where we'll have much more remote diversified workforces. And by the way, digital is the fuel of agile and they will actually kind of compliment each other and drive each other forward. So that's how I see 2021 emerge all functions across all businesses, adopting agile as a core principle, much more so than today.
Michelle BB 00:33:18 Well, you know, I mean, it's interesting AP because you know that we have in marketing here at Skillsoft adopted agile and operate entirely in an agile framework. What would you say though, to organizations that may not be fully agile across disciplines might be interested in learning more or adopting the framework? Where do they start?
AP00:33:41 Yep. Uh, first of all, I would say that they are missing out on an opportunity and if the don't become agile sooner, they're actually much more efficient, much will be much less efficient, uh, than they ought to be. Um, I think agile has a few principles. First of all, there's a huge learning opportunity for leaders and learners alike. The core agile principles are important to learn and catch up on. I also think, as I said, data science Fusi was agile as I was all about. Quantification is all about measurement. So learning about data processing data and managing data is actually very important and goes hand in glove with agile, um, all the digital technologies, um, being totally conversant on everything. Digital goes hand in hand with agile. So all of these are pretty pronounced and obvious things that our organization leaders should actually kind of pick up on. Uh, the more subtle thing that actually sometimes is overlooked is the role of inclusion and diversity in agile. What happens in a post pandemic world where this agility will be more applicable is that we'll have globally diverse workforces over the phone with different cultures and different countries and as a leader, or even as a participant being sensitive to different cultures and how people collaborate across the globe, which will be much more important. So I think that aspect of agile is sometimes understated, but it'll be much more important in the coming future.
Michelle BB00:35:16 You know, I love that. And I think that is so important for us to think about because as we build global agile teams, what I'm hearing you say is we've got to be far more mindful of the cultural nuances as well as, you know, it could be ways of working. It could also just be as simple as time zones and making sure that when we do stand ups and, and other meetings that we are aware that not everybody is at their best at 8:00 PM or 10:00 PM at night. So, you know, when you think about building these global agile teams, what are some of the, the core guiding principles that you think of? Cause I know you've got a global agile team. I mean, you, you have people all over the world. What are some of the things that people need to think about as they look to build these teams?
AP00:36:02 I think some of the things that actually cultural, like you just mentioned being sensitive of time zones, being, being actually careful about finding common work times that work for global teams, sometimes it's difficult, but it's actually possible, right? That's a very important part. Uh, being able to understand, and actually have artifacts that are common and shared able to everybody so that having digital artifacts where people can share results and clearly collaborate asynchronously is very important. So synchronous and asynchronous collaboration tools and adoption of them is actually quite important. Uh, and the whole thing that I just mentioned about data, right? Digital and data, and the awareness of all of that and applying it to measurements and progress is actually very important.
Michelle BB00:36:57 Thank you for that. I'm as you know, I'm a huge fan, um, and you know, have been working agile for a while now. I would encourage anybody out there to, to learn and read up. We have a number of, um, books on the topic as well as courses that you can take, uh, on Percipio. And that's not a plug for Percipio, but it is a plug for Percipio. So, um, thank you so much AP for joining me, this was great. And I am sure that we're going to see a lot of people looking at, and I'm interested in learning more about agile.
Michelle BB 00:37:46 It is inspiring to think that in 2021, agility could unlock better ways of learning and collaborating for so many more organizations. What APH has shared with us, what we discussed about agile, being a perfect fit in a hybrid work era. I believe it's true. And I am proud to see it taking place at my organization in real time. Now for our fifth and final 2021 prediction, we have an awesome theme. And in my mind it brings together so much of what our guests have been sharing about learning and growing in a time of non-stop digital transformation. We spoke with Debasis Duda, vice president, and general manager of product and user experience for some total systems who shared his 20, 21 prediction focusing on the internet of careers. Welcome Debasis it is a pleasure to have you here. How are you today?
Debasis 00:38:40 I'm doing excellent. Thank you for having me here.
Michelle BB00:38:44 So let's, let's start by sharing with our listeners a little bit about you and your role at Skillsoft. Would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself?
Debasis00:38:53 Sure. Um, I help organizations to utilize technology solutions and their learning and its investments to solve their business problems. I'm a product evangelist working in a SIM domain for 23 years. My role at Skillsoft is vice-president and general manager for product and user experience teams for the sum total business.
Michelle BB00:39:14 Excellent. And so, you know, I think that this notion of a product evangelist, I love that because it means that your responsibilities are in helping customers understand what it is, you know, the value that we can bring, but also getting insight from customers and bringing it back into the organization. Is that true?
Debasis00:39:37 Exactly. And that's what we all strive towards, right? Uh, the customer pinpoints, what build a product that helps the customers.
Michelle BB 00:39:45 Absolutely. So why don't we get into 20, 21 predictions because this has been a year like no other, so when you think about what can HR executives, what can talent managers, what can chief learning officers expect or, or what should they be thinking about as we head into 2021?
Debasis00:40:08 Yeah, I think 20, 21, like, uh, with all my experiences over the years, it will be a year of the internet of careers. So what is internet of Koreans? Right? Um, it's not a fancy word, right? It's, it's designed to give the individuals the ability to properly showcase the skills they gain and carry them digitally throughout their careers. This can be realized to a self sovereign, secure, trusted digital wallet of verifiable career credentials. And these are all possible to advancement and maturity of blockchain now, which is coming into the same space. This revolution, if I may say, like what's in the works for quite some time, right? But you, as you rightly said, the real progress and digital acceleration took place during the pandemic, the pandemic pushed forward. The adoption of remote work and hybrid work models has become the new standard as a changing workforce and redefinition of the business, right?
Debasis00:41:07 This call for new skills. Like we all learn how to use the collaboration tools effectively, how to work in a virtual environment, how to do like, um, the humans online, completely online, right? And virtual, we have seen that understanding and investment in the value of specific skill development is there. And which is good. How we ever as the approach, a world of work that for future ready employees eager to engage with ongoing learning. Those who have a clear record of both ambition and achievement when it comes to up-skilling will have a leg up when it comes to advancing their own careers and helping their teams achieve organization goals. I know it was a long and winded answer, but that's what I see as a prediction for 2021 around the internet of careers.
Michelle BB00:41:58 So first of all, I love this concept because what it signals to me is ownership. Right. I take ownership of my own career. I'm not reliant on an organization to do it for me. Not that that's not important. I certainly, you know, I'm probably loyal to a company that has provided me with so much, but when I know and own my skills, number one, I become more valuable to that organization, but I also might become a little bit more marketable. Is that right?
Debasis00:42:24 True. Yeah. And, and, and what it, what it helps is actually when you look from a learner's perspective. Absolutely. Yes. Right? All the employees would be marketable, but when you look from an automation perspective, it helps as well. When you allow this to happen, like people are actually very encouraged to get on to ongoing learning, right. Basically to get onto this. Like I will learn because I know my skill will still be trusted and transportable, even if I change a job or go to the next, um, like employment. So that helps overall to build your resilient workforce.
Michelle BB 00:43:01 So can you just maybe describe for our listeners, what is one way that organizations should be acting upon this prediction? What can they do now to prepare?
Debasis00:43:14 Yeah, I think first we need to understand this ecosystem around verifiable Greg Shukria career credentials and internet of careers is inevitable. So the automation just need to embrace and be part of it rather than getting impacted and missing out. Right? So as working skills become much more dynamic organizations need to shift a bit from a top down approach and focus on the needs of individuals. What it does is, as I said, right, it gives more agency for the individual to continue learning and developing new skills by ensuring that these credentials will be transferable and trust it, even if they change their job or employer, this will be the new world of work and pave the way towards more agile, adaptable and resilient workforce. So to answer your question, right, the plan of action would be a embrace and acknowledge that internet of careers is a business imperative. Be we define the talent processes towards being more equitable and C be part of the credential exchange platforms to facilitate this change in the new world of work. So these would be my three, you asked for one, but I think this is, this is a step by step a, B and C towards that.
Michelle BB00:44:21 You know, I love this notion of, you know, it is an imperative and organizations need to embrace it rather than, rather than fear because when we have happier, more motivated, we know that they are number one, probably going to want to stay and, you know, with an organization that is giving them this opportunity to learn continuously, but also they're going to be more fulfilled as individuals. So I think it's tremendous. Thank you so much devastation. Okay,
Michelle BB00:44:55 You know, as Deb, as she spoke, I could almost visualize the puzzle pieces of an internet of careers coming together. The act of learning as a new skill, it creates a connection to digital credentials like badges. And in turn, those digital credentials can lead to new opportunities. It's it's just fascinating. And there you have it, five predictions that will shape and define the field of learning and development. In 2021, I can not wait to see how they unfold. I'd like to thank our Skillsoft guests for taking the time to join us and share their visions and to our listeners. Thank you for tuning into this. And every episode as we unleash our edge together on behalf of the entire Skillsoft team, we encourage you to keep learning and keep growing in light of our conversation. Today, look ahead to 2021. Think about these predictions and make a game plan for how you're going to contribute to a new game changing era for the learning and development field. I'm Michelle BV. This is the edge be well
About Our Guest
Elisa Vincent is Vice President of Global Talent Enablement at Skillsoft where she leads strategic initiatives to foster the individual and collective success of the organization. She has 20+ years of experience leading and transforming human capital management, learning and development, talent management, organizational design, and diversity and inclusion across global enterprises.
About Our Guest
Mike Hendrickson is Vice President of Technology and Development products at Skillsoft. Prior to Skillsoft, Mike spent 15 years at O’Reilly Media, Inc., where he most recently was the VP of content strategy. Mike is a technology strategist with extensive experience establishing, building and maximizing relationships with industry leaders, companies, and partners.
About Our Guest
Norm Ford is VP of Compliance Products at Skillsoft. Mr. Ford has over 30 years’ experience in Conduct of Operations, Nuclear Operations, Training Drills, Qualification, Certification, Training Procedure and Technical Training issues while serving organizations including Lockheed Martin, the US Department of Energy, and the US Department of Defense.
About Our Guest
Apratim Purakayastha is Chief Technology Officer at Skillsoft. He's responsible for engineering, product management, cloud operations, and IT across all products in the Skillsoft group of companies.
About Our Guest
Debasis Dutta is the Vice President and General Manager of Product and User Experience for SumTotal Systems. Debasis joined SumTotal in 2015 as Vice President of Engineering.
About Our Host
As Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle leads a global marketing organization, focused on transforming today’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy. Since joining the company, she has been responsible for Skillsoft’s global marketing strategy, which includes generating awareness, driving preference, and building affinity for Skillsoft. Additionally – and perhaps most importantly – Michelle serves as the company's brand evangelist, helping to build a vibrant community of passionate learners.
With more than 25 years of marketing, branding, and strategy experience, Michelle has made it her personal mission to support the advancement of women in business. Prior to Skillsoft, she served as Chief Marketing Officer of IBM Watson, where she was instrumental in developing the first “Women Leaders in AI” program, which honors women who put AI to work across industries and around the globe. She also served as the global head of marketing for The Weather Company, an IBM Business, helping companies understand how to anticipate, plan for, and ultimately make better decisions – with greater confidence – in the face of weather.
Michelle is a prolific speaker on a range of topics, including the war for talent, digital transformation, and marketing in a post-pandemic world. She covers these topics and more as the host of Skillsoft's podcast, The Edge, now in its second season. She has authored countless papers covering a range of business and marketing topics, was at the center of Skillsoft’s leadership role in DEI through free “Leadercamps,” and has taught two Percipio courses on the Pink Pandemic and Public Speaking.
Michelle is also a founding member of CMO Huddles, a group dedicated to bringing together and empowering highly effective B2B CMOs to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. Michelle holds a Master’s degree from Simmons University and sits on the pro side of the Oxford comma debate.