Going into 2021, it is becoming increasingly evident that the triad of people, processes and technology has become a compounded potential force to reckon with in the new world.

Business leaders will need to invest in all three to be productive, which means learning to skill people, learning new processes, and choosing the right technology required in the post-COVID world as a foundational step towards future organizational growth.

Careers are radically evolving, and hybrid workers, remote working, ability to work with robots on the shop floor, or living in artificial intelligence-fueled homes is no longer a distant reality, but a part of our everyday work and professional lives.

Likewise, digital is here to stay and emerging skills related to big data, analytics, cyber security, robotic process automation (RPA), digital marketing and creativity will be highly sought after by employers.

But this is only the beginning of the era of ‘continuous learning’. The fourth industrial revolution is forcing people to become quick adapters, interconnected learners, and self-managers of emotions. Finding a balance of living in the now and in the future is a pre-requisite for surviving and thriving.

In the times to come, L&D professionals will don multiple hats. While the primary role of capability building through upskilling or cross skilling will continue, focus on supplementary roles will keep evolving.

From being learning engagement anchors for employees on one hand to being learning design architects, innovation capability champions who enable businesses, the shift to the other end of the spectrum will see L&D professionals as learning culture nurturers and brand champions for the organization. While organizational capability is a focus, the momentum will be big on self-development.

With the future of work, workers, workplaces, products and customers shifting, the learning direction will align to what some internal organizational data point towards analytics-based learning, skills that equip employees to work with robots or emotional intelligence as a skill, given the changes that we are experiencing every day. That means learning to skill people and learning new processes required post-COVID is a natural extension of organizational changes.

While addressing skills gap, and developing talent and capability has always been a highly strategic priority for L&D, more so in times of unprecedented disruptions and tech advancements, constant innovations in the workplace and the rising attrition rate have also resulted in a constant demand for talented employees; calling on L&D to be more proactive in their approach to optimize available talent and focus on capability development in order to address the skills gap.

And, as the success of any business is driven by the talent and capabilities of its employees, it is evident nowadays why more and more organizations are taking to online training and upskilling and reskilling of their employees. Also, because hiring from outside is not always a practical solution to every skill gap challenge that crops up in a certain business function.

There are myriad ways of training and developing your employees, new or existing, so that they truly understand their role and develop their capabilities to improve their performance and productivity as they progress in their career. And, as the digital world calls for digital learning, L&D and employees alike stand to gain lots of benefits from leveraging the right tools and the most relevant and curated learning content to meet the very unique learning needs of the future.

With inflections in every industry, the question is not about whether you want to learn, it is about what and how quickly you can from a plethora of learning possibilities. The crest of the learning wave is here to stay.