Daniela: Absolutely. It’s a total driver for innovation and it’s also a driver for creating something like a corporate memory of expertise and knowledge. Because you can bring together through a single entry point a universe of learning opportunities for people.
You have so many great people and organizations that can contribute with the latest ideas, topics that they want to position and bring to people. We haven’t had that in the past. Imagine a company like Siemens, a huge technology company active in many industries. This means that we have to bring learning opportunities together, let’s say, from a functional point of view. So if you’re in finance or supply chain, we also need to complement that with, we call it cross-functional learning opportunities, which are topics relevant to everyone like languages or communication. We also have a whole learning landscape available on technology topics, on product-specific topics, on market-specific topics. It’s a vast landscape of learning opportunities, and everyone needs a subset, and everyone needs a very individual, specialized subset. It’s a huge advantage to be able to adapt it to that. And by having such an approach, I must also say that it is much more efficient and productive because it saves time and money. People can have access to a whole universe. They don’t have to travel, they don’t have to meet programs of which only a certain percentage concerns them. It is also really helpful in driving the overall success of the business.
Laurel: And part of that business success is digital transformation, right? Adopt and deploy new technologies like automation and artificial intelligence. This will create a new division of labor between humans and machines, which will disrupt jobs globally. But as these jobs evolve, new roles will be created with people with specific advantages over machines and AI, like management and decision-making, communication and interaction – all of these things for which humans are really good at. How can business people prepare and prepare their employees for this change in automation?
Daniela: Yeah, I think it’s something that’s been with us for quite a few years already. But then again, the speed and also the level of skill needed has increased significantly. I would say it’s almost like a bunch of things you can and should do. You have to, as a company, create an identity and first of all say that you really think that individual learning and growth is super important. It’s a priority for the company and you need to put a positive spin on it. She’s there for you, she’s there to support you, she starts with you. That’s why we launched a company-wide campaign that we call MyGrowth.
It’s more than a campaign, it’s a concept and a global approach. But it’s really meant to inspire and inspire people to try out the different experiences we offer and help them navigate and give direction to what they should and can use. Then we also initiated a goal on learning hours because we really wanted to nudge people and say, “Listen, it’s important that you take the time and make it a priority.”
Regarding the specific skills you mentioned around automation and digitization, we can then include specific strategic topics that we offer to our employees. We conduct awareness campaigns through learning opportunities. These can be targeted for certain audiences as people also need different skill levels. Or we can push it to scale. It is a very flexible system. If I can give you an example, we have a pocket in our companies called Digital Industries Software. This fits very well with what you were talking about. Last year the CEO of this company said that we are in a software company, so AI is a major driver for everything we do. Therefore, my whole organization needs to understand what AI is first and foremost, let’s say at a very generic level. But also, people need to understand how we use it as a technology internally, but also as a driver of our business and software solutions. And then we created different learning paths for different layers of expertise, so we were able to bring the whole subject very comprehensively to thousands of people in our Digital Industries business.
Laurel: So you do two things. First, you highlight what you think everyone needs to know and learn, with artificial intelligence being an important topic. But then, how do you also conduct people and skills assessments to identify skills gaps, and then align learning programs with business strategy so you don’t just get a return on investment? Of course, it all comes down to profit, but also the return on investment of the employee’s time and expertise. Because it’s also something you cultivate.
Daniela: Yes. And the subject of skills is very hot, I can tell you. It’s everywhere and comes from very different purposes and use cases. Technology plays a major role. A platform-based learning ecosystem with a learning experience platform at its core allows you to gain insights we never had in the past. You can see what interests people. We can see why and what do they engage in learning, what do they then actually learn or what do they not learn, and therefore, leave. If you then multiply that and see that across the workforce, you also see what the hot topics are, what skills are on the horizon. You can see this in some communities. We have certain communities that are, for example, we call them digital talent, like tech talent. And there you can already see what the next topics will be on the horizon. And then we can match as a function of learning, do we already have the right learning opportunities for the topics that are being researched? It’s a thing. But it’s more the ascending part that is super important.