Talent Management Talk #2 – The skills crunch (Featuring Hannah Jacques-Jones and Con Sotidis)

In this week’s Talent Management Talk I’m joined by Hannah Jacques-Jones from The Faculty and Con Sotidis from LearnKotch to talk about the skills crunch (and all things learning and development).

This is a fascinating discussion about the impending skills crunch from a number of perspectives. Both Hannah and Con give their unique insights into how employers can use training and the right L&D approach to combat the coming skills shortage.

You can watch the discussion and read the full transcript below. If you have any further insights you’d like to share, jump on the comments below or reach me on Twitter at @cognology.

Watch the highlights below (or see the full 30 minute discussion here)

Talent management talk 2

Jon Windust:   
Hi everybody and welcome to Talent Management Talk. I’m Jon Windust CEO of Cognology, and with me here today to talk about skills and capability and development is Hannah Jacques-Jones from The Faculty, and Con Sotidis from LearnKotch. Welcome.

Con Sotidis:              
Thanks.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:    
Thank you. Thank you for having us.

Jon Windust:            
Thank you. Okay, so what I’d like to do is start by exploring who The Faculty is and what their connection with skills and capability and development is.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
Sure. The Faculty is a management consultancy but in a very niche industry. We operate purely in procurement and supply chain. There are three main sections of The Faculty. There’s a networks and round tables element, there’s consulting and there’s the training and capability section which fits in with you at Cognology. Through that we run a lot of skills assessments, capability assessments. We have a long history of doing that over 10 years.

Jon Windust:    
I find it fascinating that you’ve got this organisation that specialises in one space. I wonder if this is actually part of the future. We’re going to hit a skills crunch in maybe 10 years’ time, some might argue we’ve got a skills crunch now, and whether what you’re doing at The Faculty is part of the answer. Tell me about the capability frame works that you guys have developed and how you guys actually use that with your clients?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
One of the things we see a lot of is that technical skills are really important, absolutely, but it’s the softer skills, leadership, the influencing skills that really set people apart from normal.

Jon Windust:     
Right.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:    
Our frameworks are based upon competencies that are made up of those technical skills but also commercial skills and leadership skills. So we’re finding a nice balance, or that sweet spot between all three and we really focus on developing commercial leaders.

Jon Windust:           
Right and how did you actually go about developing this framework? How did it come about?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
So the competencies themselves, we did a lot of research looking at the future and where the future of procurement was heading. Then actually breaking that future down into procurement skills and also commercial and leadership skills.

Jon Windust:     
Con, you’re an expert in learning and development, what do you think of the skills crunch? Is it real now? What’s it going to look like in 10 years’ time?

Con Sotidis:       
Look Jon, what we’re seeing in current research is that there’s definitely going to be a skills crunch in the next 10 years. Employers are already saying that they’re finding it hard to find appropriate employees with the right skills. Mainly it’s because of the digitisation of the economy and also because we’re moving towards social media usage in business like Hannah touched on before.

I think it’s crucial that we get more development happening because the area is still very much lacking, and we find that investment in that area is still not meeting the investment in our technical skills.

Jon Windust:           
Right, and actually if there’s one thing that’s not going to change over the next 10 years, it is that crucial need for leadership, right?

Con Sotidis:         
That’s right.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:    
Absolutely, and it will just become even more necessary.

Jon Windust:       
Yes. We won’t name the clients, but you’re going to work with a particular client’s procurement group, how do you work with them? How does the sort of capability framework fit in there?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
We have a standard framework that we use but in order to make it meaningful and sustainable for the client, we suggest that we actually tailor it to them and what their specific needs are. We run a lot of workshops as well and that really helps with the change in management to any assessment because the people automatically get a bit nervous or scared when they hear about assessments.

If they’ve actually been part of the build and really inputted into it, it helps a lot and we have a great success rate. Even when assessments are non-mandatory, it’s actually getting 100% uptake on that.

Jon Windust:        
Right, okay. So you go in there, you develop these capability frameworks, and then what happens there?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:
Then we have the assessment. We partnered with Cognology to house our assessments. We have a manager assessment and a self-assessment normally, that’s the standard. But we’re also, as part of the round table networks that we’re doing, doing some research this year and we’ve set some benchmarks, across industry benchmarks, for what “good” actually looks like.

Because it’s all well and good having a self-assessment or manager assessment in numbers but what does that relate to and what should you be aiming for and striving towards? So those benchmarks really help to ground those results.

Jon Windust:    
I think what you guys have done with benchmarks is actually really interesting, and how you arrived at those benchmarks. Can you share how that happened?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
One of the difficulties, and this happens in a lot of industries but in procurement especially, is that job roles in one organisation to another look very different, so how do you actually compare one person from one organisation to another, even if they have the same job title.

Jon Windust:          
Right.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:    
The first thing we did was looking at job roles across the procurement industry and what are they actually called… actually defining the responsibilities and forming a description of that role. Then based upon those descriptions, those outputs, getting our round table members to say what level of capability is required based on the outputs only for those different competencies. That’s how we set about producing that benchmark.

Con Sotidis:          
And in the learning world we visualise that, or we call that a know-do-be framework. So it’s what you need to know, what do you need to be able to do, and what are you aiming to be like?

What you do is you go in there, Jon, and you set up a conversation with the business about that know-do-be perspective, and then you find what the minimum is that people need to know, and then you build on that for different levels. Say if you’re a leader in that procurement area, you also need some soft skills. If you’re a more technical operative, you probably don’t need those same soft skills but you need some other skills about business acumen or something like that.

The other thing, just quickly Jon, that Hannah talked about is that collaboration, that co-design. When you co-design with business you get a lot more buy-in, and when you get a business involved and is part of that process which The Faculty is doing, you’ll find that when you roll out, people are very much able to adapt and also embrace the learning because they know they’ve been part of the process That’s what The Faculty is doing.

Jon Windust:         
Okay, so we’ll do this assessment process, and then what happens with that information then?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:   
Well, good question. What should happen is that the manager should sit down and have a very good conversation with their employees, sit down and discuss the report and the outputs because it’s all based upon development and what they need, then coming up with some development options to actually meet those gaps.

Another thing I think is really important, especially in the skills crunch, is to do the succession planning, because gone are the days where people are invested in their organisation and their waiting for their 40 year gold watch. It just doesn’t happen anymore.

People are invested in their careers, their development, and as an employer, if you’re able to show them a career path in your organisation and make it clear and transparent, people are more likely to want to stay and invest back into the organisation as much as you’re investing in them.

Jon Windust:     
Yes, this is one of the things I really like about your capability framework, you can see a clear path.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:   
Absolutely.

Jon Windust:      
So you’re at this level here, you can see what’s required there.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
And then it’s empowering. It’s up to you to drive that forward.

Jon Windust:    
Right, yes.

Con Sotidis:          
That’s what we find with the skills crunch. What businesses are finding is that because people are leaving because of better options, then they haven’t got the right people to come up to that level.

Jon Windust:  
Right.

Con Sotidis:        
So identifying that talent via the capability framework or via management observations, by other processes, is very key to business sustainability going forward.

Jon Windust:     
Right, all right, let’s move on to now the learning development side of things. We’ve done assessment. We’ve worked out that, “Okay, these are the gaps that we’ve got and we need to develop.” Perhaps Con, can you talk about what are best practices …

Con Sotidis:  
I think just quickly there, what Hannah said is “people perceive assessment in different ways”. I think you’re right. I think we all come from that traditional learning environment. We went to school and we did our exam, we got assessed.

There is a perception with our probably more mature workforce that, “I’m going to be assessed. If I’m not good enough I’ve got to go back and get retrained,” this or that. How we position assessment is part of the ongoing development. That’s why you find these days we don’t have the traditional pass or fail, it’s about competent, not yet competent and so forth, moving up to that next level.

Assessment is important, like Hannah said, sit down with your manager and frame a learning plan about a process, “that I am currently here. I need to get to here. What are we going to do about it?” And not just the formal stuff. There’s a lot of informal stuff, the coaching, the mentoring on the job, but also support the individual to undertake some of their own learning.

In the previous organisation I was with, the graduates, they were keen to do their learning outside normal hours. They would say to me, “Con, where’s my tablet? Where’s my iPad? I want to be able to do this,” We don’t support that at the moment. So we’ve also got to be in tune with our workforce and how they want to learn, and support them in that learning journey.

Jon Windust:    
Yes, I kind of have this sense that coaching, mentoring, and something more akin to what an apprenticeship is going to start becoming the norm in organisations.

Con Sotidis:     
Yes, that’s a big thing. Coaching and mentoring is becoming more effective because it’s got the experiential aspect too, so it’s about learning on the job. We find in that formal classroom, it’ll give you that knowledge and also might give you a bit of that what we want you to do, but if you want to start bettering the behaviours, it’s that coach, that mentor that works with you on a day to day basis.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
We’re finding that trend as well. I mean everything that we recommend is through that 70/20/10 framework. So 70% on the job, 20% in coaching and mentoring, and then 10% in the classroom. We really see that coaching and mentoring is the trend moving forward but what it requires is some training to begin with because you have to have a base level because otherwise the coaching and mentoring is just almost one-on-one training. You’re not going to get the return on investment then, so you need to make sure that …

Con Sotidis:              
That’s where a framework that Hannah talks about, gives you that benchmark about what is the minimum knowledge you need to have.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:   
Yes.

Con Sotidis:  
So develop a program which gives that and whether it’s formal, it could be an E-learning product that gives you that knowledge, it could be a quick guide, something like that, maybe a two or three page document. There’s a variety of ways we can do it. We don’t always think about a formal classroom. As you know, there’s a variety of ways to get that knowledge.

Jon Windust:  
Yes, that’s one of the things I like about a good quality capability framework, is that it actually first tells you what you need to know but also in a sense it teaches you if it’s a good quality framework.

Con Sotidis:     
True.

Jon Windust:      
So we were talking just a moment ago about baseline development. How do you actually go about doing it? What is the baseline development?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
In terms of training, is that what you’re referring to?

Jon Windust:  
Yes.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
We develop a lot of tailored training for organisations and again a lot of those going in and workshopping it to see what their needs actually are. And then making sure that whatever training it is that we are building for them, aligns in some way back to the business objectives and their overall strategies. It’s helping the business and the organisation move forward as well.

Jon Windust:     
Yes, we mentioned before 70/20/10. Con, what is 70/20/10?

Con Sotidis:
Okay, well 70/20/10 has been around for a while. I probably don’t know the author’s name off the top of my head but it’s… basically like Hannah said, it’s about how we find learning is most effective and how we find that the knowledge transfer occurs. So we find that as individuals we get 10% of our learning from formal scenario, it could be online, it could be a classroom.

Jon Windust:  
So is this the training course?

Con Sotidis:     
Yes, the training course. The other 20% occurs from other activities. So it could be …

Hannah Jacques-Jones:  
Coaching or mentoring.

Con Sotidis: 
Coaching, mentoring, all that sort of stuff.

Then the 70% is the actual on the job. It’s actually learning on the job. More and more we find that’s more that sort of social interaction, the social media, we become more and more play in the space, the enterprise social networking, the Yammers, the SharePoints are playing a major role in that sort of learning on the job.

Jon Windust:   
Why does that work? Why does social learning work?

Con Sotidis:      
Because, again, it’s basically the way our DNA works, Jon. It’s how we’re made up. As individuals, as human beings and as a race we learn better by talking actively to each other. The water cooler conversations, “Did you know blah, blah, blah?” You think, “Oh, I never thought of it that way.”

Hannah Jacques-Jones:    
It’s also spoken so it resonates with you, to kind of really embed in the thinking.

Con Sotidis:   
Plus because it’s stayed in a social atmosphere where there’s no fear of observation or there’s no fear of being assessed. You are, I suppose, more prone and able to acquire that knowledge and learn from someone. I know, for example, when I go to the training course, you do the training course and then once you’ve finished the training course you go back to the work and when you get stuck, what do you do? You don’t go to the manual. I’ll tell you what I do, “Hey George, did you remember that at the course?” That’s what we all do.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:    
That goes right back to why the coaching and mentoring we’re seeing is a real trend, because that’s the bit that embeds the training you learnt in the classroom. It’s like, “Okay, I’ve come back and here’s my manual, what do I do with this?” It’s, “Okay, let’s workshop how that would work in reality and let’s work through some real examples.”

Jon Windust:    
I think it goes back as well … it’s something you said earlier that was pretty important though that the whole coaching and mentoring picture cannot work unless we’ve got the leaders there.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:   
Absolutely.

Jon Windust:       
So how do we develop leaders to actually be able to do that?

Con Sotidis:      
It’s skilling those leaders to be able to play that role. When I found the organisation we were at, we put a lot of … you’ve got to put effort into that. It’s the old “feed a man a fish, you feed him for the day, teach him how to fish” …

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
Feed him for his life.

Jon Windust:        
Feed him for life, yes.

Con Sotidis:              
So it’s teaching those managers how to be able to undertake that process. You need to invest and the holy grail of any learning in an organisation is a middle manager.

Jon Windust:  
Right.

Con Sotidis:      
The holy grail of any learning event is not the senior manager, the senior manager is for buying. But it’s that middle manager who actually interacts with the individuals, the staff, that play a major role in how a good organisation progresses, because they’re the ones that are going to influence the subordinates and also up.

So invest in your middle managers as much as possible in relation to leadership training, coaching skills, mentoring skills, workshops.

Jon Windust:     
How are you guys doing it at The Faculty? How are you training the leaders to actually do this coaching?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
Well, one of the training programmes that we’re running at the moment, I mentioned earlier that it’s technical and leadership skills, we’re actually partnering with known business schools and the executive school. We do the more technical side and they’re really upskilling the leaders in those softer skills.

Jon Windust:   
Right, that makes a lot of sense.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
A lot of what we do is around stakeholder engagement. Whether that’s within the business or whether it’s external, its suppliers, and how you actually get them on board and sell the value that you can offer, a lot of that is to do with personality profiling, understanding what makes people tick and how you’re actually going to connect with them and communicate with them. We’ve found that that partnership with MBS has been really successful.

Con Sotidis:   
Can I add here that we also find it’s maybe more about the L&D space. We find that if we can invest in in that space, that coaching and mentoring space, us as L&D professionals need to also be aware of what we need to do. So we find that a distribution L&D practitioner needs to now expand their suite of offerings to be able to undertake that role, to be able to coach a leader on how to mentor, how to be a coach.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
Yes.

Con Sotidis:         
We find that L&D people need broader business acumen skills, and need broader communication relationship manager skills, because traditional L&D people are now meant to move out of their just purely structural design.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:  
Another thing that we’re finding helps is with the coaching and mentoring is “train the trainer”. So in terms of embedding something and making it sustainable for an organisation, we go in and maybe do the first few workshops. We’ll get people along and that we’re actually mentoring in delivering the training, and then they take that forward.

Jon Windust:    
Yes, and what we were talking about before about social learning, I actually think that’s a sort of fact there as well.

Con Sotidis:    
It is. It’s a big factor.

Jon Windust:     
You’re teaching someone else what you’ve actually learned yourself.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:    
Yes.

Con Sotidis:           
There’s a lot of power, Jon, in what I call the user generated learning. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest now that we, as learning professionals, we’ve moved more from the creation to the curation.

Jon Windust:       
Right.

Con Sotidis:    
And what curation means is by supporting individuals to be able to have a conversation, and us as learning professionals facilitating that and curating the gems in a way where we can then offer them to the broader cohort of learners. Does that make sense?

Jon Windust:   
Yes.

Con Sotidis:      
So it’s about taking what the gems out of the conversation and curating and providing them as part and parcel of a more, I suppose, formal offering or whatever the case may be.

Jon Windust:      
Yes.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:   
It’s come from a meaningful background. It’s come from real life.

Con Sotidis:  
Exactly, people that have got their eye on the job.

Jon Windust:       
There are some big changes, isn’t there at the moment, happening in the L&D space? The roles are changing a lot.

Con Sotidis:  
The role is changing enormously. We’re finding now that … and I’ll just read you the recent ASTD, they do an industry report every year. We find that somehow or other, classroom learning is still number one, which is good. I always say to people, “We’re not going to see the end of classroom learning. We are humans. We need interaction. We need to be able to have a coffee and a biscuit and learn from people.” But we also find that there is a lot more invested in self-paced learning but unfortunately the thing we all thought was going to be big: the e-learning part, the mobile learning, we’re not seeing much take up.

Jon Windust:         
Right, interesting.

Con Sotidis:              
I think about 1.7% … 1.7% from memory reported that they were using m-learning, as in tablet, mobile. We find that there’s a lot invested in e-learning and I’ve been able to say that I think we need a bit of an e-learning craze. That’s okay but unfortunately that’s not expanded down to m-learning. T

he other thing we’re finding, Jon, is things like MOOCs are very popular. MOOCs are massive open online courses for those who are not aware.

Basically they’ve come from places like Harvard University and Stanford got into certain various arrangements and partnered up with Ed-Ex and Udacity, Coursera. So they are massive, they’re big, they’re open, they’re free, they’re online and you learn.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:  
Is it just like tuning into a lecture?

Con Sotidis:   
Yes but it’s more structured, it’s more modularised. You’ll have a video, you’ll have some content, you’ll have assignments, you can actually study towards a certificate saying you’ve done this course. And that can lead to some sort of RPL or recognition for a degree or course with Stanford or with Harvard or something like that.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:  
Do you think they’re effective?

Con Sotidis:         
Well look, there are two sides to this story. I think with MOOCs, I think in the higher education sector yes they can play a major role. I know someone like my son who is at Uni, never went to any lectures, just podcasted everything. These days they don’t go to any lectures. So a similar MOOC would have been really good for him to have but I think in a corporate environment, I think we still need to assess what role they can play.

There’s been some traction and that with certain organisations where they’ve done some trials of it. I’ve not yet seen any major evidence around effectiveness of MOOCs in a corporate environment. I think there’s a role for them to play as supporting some of the learning, maybe even supporting some of the coaching and mentoring. I just don’t think they’re the fad that was sold to us as one of the solutions we really had to have… So Jon, do you have a view on that?

Jon Windust:   
Well, I do have a view on that. The thing I like about MOOCs is … I think there’s a long way to go. I think there’s a lot of development that’s going to occur with them but the thing I do like about them is that you get the best quality teachers and they’re the ones doing the teaching. So it improves the quality of the presentation of the learning. There’s still the question about coaching and tutoring but I think that’s probably where the old role of teachers changes.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
Sorry, is there any interaction between the lecturer or the teacher and those that are tuning in?

Jon Windust:    
I think the way they try and do it, perhaps you can talk about this Con, is to get people to peer up and work with each other, which is the other thing that I think is great about it.

Con Sotidis:   
There are things called C-MOOCs they interact with each other on social networks and they interact with each other on assignments and things like that. One of my friends, a plug in for Helen Blunden, she’s a real firm believer of the C-MOOCs. I can see why because it’s about connecting. It’s about not only learning but also tapping to people …

Jon Windust:   
Just tell us about the C-MOOCs…

Con Sotidis:  
C-MOOCS are about, they’re called connectedness MOOCs. It’s more the connected MOOCs where you’re connected with individuals while you’re also learning.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:
It gets back to the social …

Con Sotidis:  
Exactly. It’s not just a course you do and, “Thank you, see you later.” You’re also connecting, interacting, continue to learn, post events on what’s been presented. So they are, I suppose, more effective, and probably that’s where I think it’s going to move into the connected MOOCs rather than the stable MOOCs. But again, on MOOC, I think they’re finding there’s research there. We hear a lot about the dropout rates. Thousands of people join these MOOCs, I mean you can’t follow them down to completion.

Jon Windust: 
I actually heard one of the courses had over 300,000 people sign up for it.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
Wow, how many are tuning in but are actually busy typing doing something else.

Con Sotidis:      
That’s what I find too. There’s more offline. So you get the lectures there, you can do it offline.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:
Okay.

Jon Windust:        
Is that actually an issue though, people dropping out? If 300,000 people that sign up for a course, if only 50,000 finish, is that actually an issue? Is it a case of try before you buy, “I don’t like it, I’m going to drop out and do something else?”

Con Sotidis:      
Look, you make a very good point Jon and it’s a point that’s made quite a bit. The way I approach this is like any new intervention, we need some sort of measure. Every intervention is a measure in relation to completion.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
A measure of success.

Con Sotidis:     
Yes, assessments, transfer the learning and all that. Unfortunately, one of the measures that’s been associated with MOOCs is the sign-up rate and the completion rate. Look, it’s gone through a number of iterations with people and the conclusion we’ve all reached is, “Look, success is not really based on completion.” I’m okay with that but what happens with MOOCs is we find that the majority of people that are signing up have already got one or two or three degrees.

The vision for the MOOCs was to teach those people in Africa, Uganda, give them a chance to learn. Although there is signup from them, we find the majority of the signup is the people that already know this stuff, and to find that people already have one or two or three degree.

As one author quoted, “We are teaching people how to do something which they probably already know and are just looking to make some additional connections online.”

The other development that’s happening around learning is gamification. Gamification, I don’t know if you’re using it yet but gamification is really going big guns. Honestly, unlike e-learning which hasn’t picked up, I think gamification will continue to pick up. Gamification is about … we’ve all probably seen our teenage kids of friends or nephews and nieces, they play these games and they really get excited. It’s because they get to what? They get to move up. They get recognition.

Jon Windust:     
It’s instant feedback.

Con Sotidis:     
Exactly. They get recognition by peer. They get instant feedback. So things like badges, things like … even via LMS courses completing a course you get a little stamp on your little record. I can go in and say, “George has done that.” It gives me to go and do it too. It also creates motivation they say in most people to continue to develop, to keep up with the Joneses.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
We have an online procurement based industry networking site called Procurious and we have online learning there. Once you’ve completed the learning it goes on your profile so then people can see you’ve completed X module or what have you.

Con Sotidis:        
They get the recognition, credibility.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:   
Yes, it’s like creating your CV as well.

Con Sotidis:  
That’s right. So if you think about things like badges which is part of the gamification, and things like getting stars or unlocking a particular part of the next part of the learning process, really very popular. I think it’s going to be an area that’s going to take off.

Jon Windust:          
Yes.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:  
People like recognition. They like those gold stars.

Con Sotidis:  
We all do. We all like to be recognised, and Jon hit the nail on the head, Jon said instant feedback.

Jon Windust:    
Instant feedback, yes. I think that’s a large part of it.

Con Sotidis:      
It is.

Jon Windust:   
Let’s talk about Procurious because this fascinates me. What is Procurious and why did you guys actually create it?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
Procurious is an online social network specifically for the procurement industry. The Faculty mantra, if you like, is empowering procurement and actually bringing the procurement profession together. We see this really culminate in social media or social networking.

Jon Windust:    
Right.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
So it’s a place you can go and connect with likeminded people. You can ask questions that are specific to the industry. You can filter out all the noise that might be in LinkedIn or somewhere else.

Jon Windust:        
So it’s like LinkedIn but it’s sort of learning and development as well?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
It’s LinkedIn plus learning and development but specifically for procurement. So everything that goes on there is relevant to you as opposed to scrolling and scrolling to find something that means something.

Jon Windust:      
Yes.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:    
And yes, a part of that is online learning as well.

Jon Windust:            
Right, is recruitment part of the picture there as well?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
It isn’t at the moment. We’re trying to keep recruitment separate to that but you never know how things will evolve. We’re building it for the profession so if people want that, we’re very open to it …

Con Sotidis:              
Sorry Jon, you said earlier on in the piece about the skills crunch, I see what Hannah is doing in the Procurious sphere is developing specific areas for particular areas and specialisations, to be able to interact with each other, is going to be a way to go forward in relation to developing that particular skill set.

Not only to develop the particular skills but also their soft skills. Having separate little areas where individuals feel safe because they know the other people on there, they know these people are likeminded, they know what they’re talking about. I might throw a few acronyms out there and they know what that means.

Jon Windust:      
Yes.

Con Sotidis:            
It gives me that confidence to interact with these people and I feel comfortable.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:   
It’s also people are far more comfortable with recommendations as opposed to marketing or media. They trust what a peer says versus what an advert says.

Jon Windust:        
Yes.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:   
So that’s another thing.

Jon Windust:   
That’s right.

Con Sotidis:       
We’re finding also that at the moment through tweet chats, where people get together with a common purpose and have a conversation online via Twitter. In the conversation, you might have some experts on there too, you’re learning, what people do is archive that and have it as a resource to go back in later and tap into it.

So it’s, again, specialised little areas, like I run one around L&D and we have people that contribute to that. We talk on a variety of issues, then we archive it and you’ve got a little bit of a thread that people can tap in later on. And also make connections with people they trust, people they know. So that’s the way I think learning … it’s about that network, and that’s going to occur a lot more.

Jon Windust:            
Let’s switch gears and talk about 10 years’ time. What do you think the skills crunch is going to look like in 10 years’ time because on one hand we’ve got this aging workforce and then on the other hand we’ve got all these jobs that are expected to be automated. What do you think it’s going to look like?

Hannah Jacques-Jones:   
I think first of all we need to be worried about it now, not in 10 years’ time.

Jon Windust:          
Right.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
Absolutely prepare for it. I think, yes, the aging workforce, I think the workforce becoming ever more transient, the world becoming smaller. We’re going to have a lot more cultural issues and so cultural awareness, emotional intelligence become critical.

Con Sotidis:      
Remote working in Australia, teleworking, catering for work life balance…

Jon Windust:    
Right.

Con Sotidis:  
I’ll give you an example. We’re finding already Telecom New Zealand already allows their people, certain people to work from home in different shifts, so people are able to pick up their kids. Where I see that going Jon is that we’ll have a lot more ability for people to work when they want to work, how they want to work, and tap into their skills in that way, and organisations will change in that way.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:    
I totally agree. I think at the moment with work life balance, we’re already at 24/7, so how much can it increase by?

Jon Windust:     
Not by much.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
But I think that 9 to 5 will change. I think that’s the aspect, so those eight hours in a day might be two hours here and four hours there, depending on which time zone you’re in or you’re communicating with.

Jon Windust:       
Another thing I think might be part of this as well is we’ve just recently, in the last week, hired a retired guy and he wants to do 10 hours a week of work. Beautiful, perfect, we’ve got an experienced person that we can bring on board for those 10 hours of the week.

Con Sotidis:      
I think you’re right. Tap into the mature workforce. Also I believe that also if we tap into the disabled workforce, there is opportunity for those people who can continue to add to the workforce, who are available and got the skills we can tap into. I think that’s also important; that untapped workforce that’s out there.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
Yes.

Jon Windust:         
Yes, okay. Actually, that makes me think about freelancing sites as well. When you’re actually recruiting someone from a freelancing site, all you’re really concerned about is what skills does that person have and how well have they actually been rated against those skills, what their previous feedback is, and nothing else actually matters.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
It’s all the rating, back to the rating again.

Con Sotidis:     
If you’ve got a capability framework, you can put them through that and get an assessment on them, and straight away you’re laughing because you’re already there. You know what they need to know, what they need to do, what they need to have and need to be.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
I think those technical skills, those core skills that are required, are almost your license to come to the party.

Jon Windust:    
Right.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
Then it’s those recruiting on those softer skills, the kind of cultural fit is where I see HR and recruitment heading as well.

Con Sotidis:     
You’re right, we’re going to see a lot more of the freelancing occur. I think, like Hannah said earlier on, the relationship of individuals within the organisation is not going to be as strong in the years to come. It’s going to be more about me rather than the organisation. But having said that, they’ll committed and dedicated to what they’re doing.

Jon Windust:        
I think so and particularly if there’s a rating or reputation badge or something like that at stake, feedback.

Con Sotidis:  
Yes, reputation.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
I think employers can really invest, really invest with their staff and their development. They can earn the employer of choice status, then that will give them a competitive advantage.

John Windust:   
Well I think as the workforce is aging, there won’t be any choice. I mean you’ll die if you don’t make that investment, advancing … helping people advance their careers.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:     
They’ll just go to somebody else.

Jon Windust: 
Yes. All right, well look, thank you very much Con and thank you Hannah. It’s been an absolutely fascinating discussion.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:  
No problem, thank you.

Con Sotidis:      
Thanks for having us Jon.

Hannah Jacques-Jones:   
Yes, thank you.

Jon Windust:    
Thank you.

Cognology announces strategic partnership with e3Learning

An easy way to switch on eLearning for your people

This month Cognology has teamed up with e3Learning to give its clients instant access to a full range of cost effective online learning course content.

e3Learning library screenshot

e3Learning’s library

e3Learning’s content is designed to be highly accessible. It combines quality information with an easy and responsive user experience. The library caters to a range of industries with courses including:

  • Compliance training such as Privacy Laws and Bullying and Harassment
  • Technology skills such as Microsoft Excel
  • Workplace safety including Warehouse Staff Manual Handling and First Aid.

Online content can also be tailored to suit individual clients.

Just a flick of a switch

The e3Learning library integrates seamlessly with Cognology’s Learning Management System. Accessing content is just a flick of a switch. For clients wanting to manage compliance, courses can be scheduled for re-certification on a periodic basis.

e3Learning’s pedigree

e3Learning logo
e3Learning started out in 2001 with a number of core compliance courses and a small team of expert web developers. Since its humble beginnings, e3Learning has experienced substantial growth and are now a leader in commercial eLearning. In 2013, they were named as one of Australia’s fastest growing companies in BRW’s Fast 100 List. In the same year, e3Learning became part of Open Universities Australia (OUA), owned by seven of Australia’s premier universities, and the national leader in quality online tertiary education.

On top of that, e3Learning has worked with some of the biggest names around the country; including Amcor, Cadbury and Rio Tinto, just to name a few.

For further information

Further information can be obtained by emailing service@cognology.com.au or by visiting our Contact Us page.