Learning technology

HR trends and insights for 2019

From HR Inspiration London

HR Inspiration was 2 weeks ago in London and we had such a nice experience and exchanges with fellow participants that we wanted to share it with you. The quality of the interactions made it a really worthwhile experience and we are very appreciative to all those who participated in contributed into such an enriching discussion.

Here are some ideas and insights from HR Inspiration London:

Fit for the future: key skills your workforce needs

With many processes being automated and the progressing digitalisation of HR, soft skills are the core skills your workforce will need to stay fit for the future. Soft skills become the differentiating factor.

89% of HR professionals, including recruiters, say it is difficult to find people with optimal soft skills. And futurologist Jacob Morga n mentions a transition between hard to soft skills.

With the increase in technology use, such as phones, tablets and computers, many people struggle to acquire basic communication skills that are necessary to work with others and to be successful in their work. In comparison to other generations, younger generations have been more used to technology and although this brings as an advantage that they are much more tech-savvy, they have been less exposed to social interactions.

Millennials find learning an increasingly important component to their work, especially when compared with non-millennials. And it’s important to notice that Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025 (Deloitte).

The most important key skills your workforce should have, according to reports ( LinkedIn Report and futurologists) are:

Leadership: 65%

Communication: 64%

Collaboration: 55%

These are topics that are closely tied together: an effective communication is needed so that an active collaboration between people, teams and departments can happen. True leadership takes place when leaders can articulate (communicate) their vision and strategy, and involve others (collaboration) in accomplishing it.

These are all about building a connection, about building relationships. These skills can be trained, and are especially valuable in a working context. To train these skills the ideal is have a face to face format, and an active, practice-oriented methodology.

Examples of the most needed, crucial soft skills training is:

Leadership: Strategic thinking, Leading without formal authority, Leading through change.

Communication: Communicating with confidence, Influencing others, Giving & Receiving feedback

Collaboration: building relationships, effective listening, change management

There is currently a war on talent, with many companies actively recruiting staff from its competitors. Retention is a key issue for most organisations, and that is very much connected with the fast-pace changing world and workplace. Providing learning opportunities and soft skills to its staff becomes vital to companies. 94% of staff say they would stay longer in the company if the company invested more in their training and career development.


Learning in the digital age: or getting digital

HR is getting hands on with tech, and some organisations are doing this better and are at more advanced stages than others – companies are in very different stages of digitalisation. Tech use is rising and will continue to influence the design and use of learning.

Most people check content (websites, email, training) on their phones, and it is now the preferred way to access content online.  Training will need to adapt to this reality and to become more and more digital.

During the HR Inspiration London there was quite a lot of discussion around how automation and digitalisation are changing the workplace, as well as on the perceived impact of this. Some participants mentioned people fear losing their jobs and be replaced by automated processes. One thing that everyone agreed was that automation has its limits. The benefits are that it frees time for other tasks that are more strategic and need human attention.

In overall, Tech is an enabler. It’s complimentary to human action but cannot replace it entirely. One example that was brought up referred to HR systems. HR systems can nowadays anticipate when a staff member is to leave a company, signal it to HR and recommend candidates for the replacement, candidates that are already on a succession list. Despite the fact that a technological system can predict a departure, its human action that can prevent it. Therefore, the future of HR includes both Tech and Human components, all equally important.

Some of the trends highlighted during the discussions will have a direct influence in learning and in how HR positions itself in organisations:

Learning strategy aligned with business strategy – training and development will be more and more connected with the organisational goals. Operations and HR will be working together and influencing each other mutually. Operations do not run without people, and people cannot achieve operational goals without an adequate training strategy.

Measuring training will become crucial and take place at a deeper level – As there will be a stronger connection with organisational objectives, companies will seek proof of applicability of learning. Decisions will be further based on expected return on investment, as well impact of training on strategic objectives.

Personalised learning experiences – Training is to become more individualised and personalised with the use of chatbots and AI (Machine learning). Learners will receive content based on their searches automatically (‘saw you were looking for this – just found you a new article on it’), with training content being updated much more frequently. With the advance of AI, training experiences will start including human-like conversations and engagements, as well as smarter on-screen interactions.

Constant challenges require constant flow of info/learning – HR will seek immediacy in answering to their learners needs. This will include using eLearning and micro-learning. Organisations who cannot keep up and offer this to their staff will fall behind. HR has a huge responsibility in this, in ensuring staff is equipped with the right skills at the right moment.

Advancing learning with technology – AR, VR and mixed reality are to start progressing within companies. They present huge benefits such as better retention, applicability and impact because they take place in an immersive environment and focus on learning experiences.

Traditional approaches to learning will (gradually) disappear – companies focus on thinking differently, on bringing innovation into play: it is only natural that this happens with traditional approaches as well. Companies will invest (even) more in blended learning, using gamification and real case scenarios. A one-size-fits-all training approach does not bring enough value compared to the innovation companies expect.

And well, this sums up our HR Inspiration London discussions and the insights that came from it. We are looking forward to more HR Inspirations editions and to meeting many more inspiring people!


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