The Future of Work: Preparing Today's Workforce for Tomorrow

Length: 60 minutes
Category: Creativity & Innovation, Recorded Webinars, Topics
ID: WR-1069


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The Fourth Industrial Revolution has begun and the stakes are high for businesses, workers and society as a whole. The very concept of work is being redefined as different generations enter and exit the workforce. Digital technologies demand that employees acquire new skills to adapt to new ways of working – otherwise, they’ll get left behind. HR and learning and development leaders now have a call to action: ensure employees are relevant and adaptable so they can rise to the challenge of this new revolution.

The task may seem daunting but here’s the good news: drawing on insights from the disruptive technology landscape over the past 20 years, we can proactively address the complex workforce challenges we face. There never has been a better opportunity to get ahead of this issue. And never a greater risk of inaction. Our directive is clear – create the future workforce. Now.

Drawing on theory and research, this webinar will focus on helping you prepare and take action for the future workforce development. Keith Keating will discuss the concept of building the connected learner, share actionable advice on ways you can identify the skills needed for the future in your organization, and how to foster a learning culture that will motivate employees to develop those skills.

Participants will learn:

  • Insight into the state of the human capital industry and ways learning and development needs to evolve to meet the needs of the future workforce learner
  • Strategies human capital leaders should consider following to enable future workforce learners for success
  • Key core competencies and skills to cultivate in our future workforce
  • Three strategies for building effective learning habits
  • Understanding how AI will impact our workforce

Who should attend:

  • Leaders and managers
  • HR and learning and development personnel
  • Those looking to keep up with the digital workforce

Sarah Cirone: Hi everyone and welcome to today’s webinar, The Future Of Work:
Preparing Today’s Workforce For Tomorrow, hosted by HRDQ‐U and
presented by Keith Keating. My name is Sarah and I will moderate
today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any
questions, just type them into the question area on your GoToWebinar
control panel and we’ll answer them as we can or after the session by
email. I’m excited to introduce our presenter today, Keith Keating.
Sarah Cirone: Keith has had a career spanning over 20 years in L&D. He holds a
master’s degree in leadership and is currently pursuing his doctorate
and the chief learning officer program at the University of Pennsylvania.
He has experience in a myriad of areas ranging from performance
improvement, instructional design, leadership coaching, operations
management and process transformation. More recently, he has been
leading clients on the design and execution of their global learning
strategies and future workforce needs. It’s wonderful to have you with
us today, Keith.
Keith Keating: Thank you. Thank you Sarah. And hello and thank you all for taking time
out of your busy schedule to be joining. So I’m really excited to be
talking with you today about this topic. It’s something that I’m
particularly passionate about. In fact, the future of work is my focus of
research in my doctoral studies. And so for those of you just joining, I’m
actually at school this week at the University of Pennsylvania, stepping
out for a little bit to have this conversation, this dialogue and share this
information with you.
Keith Keating: And what’s really beautiful about what I’m sharing with you today is
these are discussions that we’re having in these institutions at this exact
moment. So I’ve actually been updating a little bit of the content from
conversations we’ve been having as recently as yesterday. And so here’s
why this is really exciting for me, is that the future is not yet written and
the future of work isn’t something that’s just going to happen. We, all of
us, all of us on this call, we get the opportunity to create that.
Keith Keating: So how exciting is that to be on the cusp of something so important and
so credible that you truly can be part of the creation and the design
behind that? So I’ve got a lot of information I want to be sharing with
you today. Probably too much information, so some points I’m going to
go a little faster. But I will be stopping periodically to check in with Sarah
to see what questions that you might have along the way. We’ll also
have a live Q&A at the end of the session depending on how much time
we have. But feel free to ask questions along the way, I will be stopping
Keith Keating: So I’m going to be sharing some insights today into the current state of
our industry, the changes that are happening and strategies for you to
consider to help prepare our workforce for the future. But before we
start talking about the future, or even we start talking about today, I
want to take a step back and I want to talk about yesterday. And for
most of us it would be many, many yesterdays ago. So take a minute,
well less than a minute. Take a moment and think back to when you
were younger, maybe four or five years old.
Keith Keating: And think about the first time that you remembered that you wanted to
be something that there was something that you wanted to become.
And what’s beautiful about this is that we all have this in common. At
one point, early in our life, we all wanted to be something. And so
maybe you wanted to be a pilot or maybe you wanted to be a ballerina.
How about a chef or a doctor, a baker? Maybe you were like me and
you wanted to be Superman or Superwoman, some sort of superhero.
Keith Keating: I imagine that the career that you’re in now was not your childhood
dream. And unfortunately, I did not end up becoming Superman, so
same exists with me. I would go as far as suggesting that you weren’t
dreaming of being in HR or being in learning and development, being a
trainer. Now, not that these aren’t great choices. I love my career
choice. I’m very passionate about it, I’m happy to be doing what I’m
doing. But it was because our initial exposure to what we could become
was pretty limited.
Keith Keating: We didn’t know what options were going to be available to us in the
future. We just knew what was right in front of us, what we were
learning about. And so I can remember that time when I realized after
many years that I didn’t have the skills to become Superman rather and I
had this fear that I didn’t know what else I could be. And where we are
right now in our industry is that many of us have experienced this fear,
that moment where you didn’t know what that future was going to hold
for you. And that’s happening a lot right now and we’re not alone.
Keith Keating: When we think about the workforce of the future or the future of work,
one of the first challenges that we have is people don’t know what
opportunities are going to be available to them. They don’t know what
else they can become because they don’t know what’s going to exist,
what type of skills are going to be required and the age of automation
and robotics. And the reality is the current state of our workforce,
they’re fearful, they’re scared. According to research by PWC, an
estimated 40% of our workforce is worrying about the future of their
jobs as a result of automation and robotics, 40%.
Keith Keating: Now, when I first heard about this statistics and I started doing a little
bit of research on it, it was pretty obvious to understand why they’re
worried. When you just do a quick search on the internet, what you see
are these seeds of fear being planted that make us wonder, will robots
take our children’s jobs or are we prepared for when robots take our
jobs or claims being made like robots will destroy our jobs and we’re not
ready for it. And then there’s these estimates that the research firms are
throwing out, like automation could kill 73 million us jobs by 2030 or
robots may steal as many as 800 million jobs in the next 13 years.
Keith Keating: Those are vastly different statistics. And then my favorite one, you will
lose your job to a robot, and sooner than you think. These headlines are
scary. If this is all that I was seeing, I would absolutely be scared too. So I
understand why 40% of the workforce are worried. And then there’s
these other statistics that are being thrown around. If you just do a little
bit of a deeper search, like McKinsey says that five out of 10 jobs today
are already automatable by technology that exists right now.
Keith Keating: So five out of 10 jobs could be automated right now by technology that
currently exists, or two out of 10 are in occupations that are at risk of
shrinking, and only one in 10 are in occupations that are likely to grow.
This is scary. McKinsey also estimates that approximately 30 million jobs
in the US are at risk by automation and robotics. But it’s not just the US
that’s going to be impacted, globally, it’s much bigger. They’re
estimating it could be 400 million workers displaced. And of those 400
million, the US represents 23%.
Keith Keating: Now, I’m not a mathematician, but when I saw this, I did a quick
calculation because 23% of 400 million didn’t seem like 30 million to me.
That’s actually not, it’s 92 million. So exactly how many jobs are going to
be at risk? So I started doing even more research to find out what other
institutions are saying and here’s what I came up with. PWC estimates
that it’s actually going to be 38 million. Now the Organization for
Economic Development estimates, it’s only 9 million, don’t worry so
Keith Keating: But then Forrester Research says it’s actually 24 million, and
ScienceAlert magazine says, “No, it’s only 3 million. Calm down.” Oxford
University rounds off all of our research and says, “All of you are wrong.
It’s actually 47 million people who may be at risk.” So what does all of
this tell us? When we take a step back and we look at all of this data, we
see one thing, we don’t know. We simply don’t know how big or how
small the impact will be to our workforce. And I’ll tell you, I’ve had
conversations as recently as yesterday with professors focusing on this
field and they’re all saying the exact same thing, “We don’t know.”
Keith Keating: But what we do know is whether it’s 3 million or whether it’s 47 million,
people will be impacted. That’s what we have to remember. Now, our
workforce knows this. They’re hearing this same information, they’re
seeing these same statistics, and this is where our job kicks in. It is our
responsibility as HR leaders, as learning and development practitioners
to help them be prepared. So what can we do? We can focus on what
we do know. And what we do know is that automation has a global
reach that’s transforming in economies and the workforce today. This is
happening right now.
Keith Keating: These types of global changes are not new. This is not the first time that
humans are going through this. In fact, technology has been evolving for
at least eight centuries, since the horse collar became universal in
Europe in the 12th century. Now, technology reached a new stage with
the industrial revolution starting around the 19th century and roughly
once a generation, we’ve got people in a near panic because technology
is destroying jobs. And that is true.
Keith Keating: But if we look back at the agricultural, the industrial revolution, what we
see is that, yes, jobs were in decline, they did get depleted, but yet the
rest of the economy continued to grow. So if history is any indicator, our
economy will also continue to grow. And that’s what we need to focus
on. And it is true that new technology often destroys existing jobs, but
that is not the end of the story. We have to change that narrative. We
know that new technology also creates new jobs. So think of the
introduction of the automobile in the early 20th century.
Keith Keating: So before automobiles, we had carriages and the horses that pulled
them. Enter the automobile and it absolutely destroys that industry.
Tons of jobs that were lost as a result of this new technology. But more
importantly, new jobs were created and jobs changed. Like the streetcar
changed to buses and automobiles created new jobs and new industries
like gas stations and repair shops. And indirectly automobiles addressed
other latent needs by creating the possibility of living further away from
work, creating new towns, creating the opportunity to travel and
vacation and vacation industries.
Keith Keating: But maybe a more recent in our lifetime is the introduction of the
personal computer. So when it really started to take off, it destroyed it
about three and a half million jobs. But what we do know is over 19
million jobs were created. That’s an initial 15 million jobs surplus and
this grows every single day. And many of the jobs that are created by
technology are ones that you couldn’t have ever imagined existing
before that technology. Think about this, our children right now are
aspiring to be these types of jobs that we couldn’t even fathom existing.
Keith Keating: So today you could be a professional video game player, you can be a
Kardashian, an Instagram social media influencer or a YouTube cat video
analyzer, all of which are real jobs. Now, I don’t know about you, but I
remember as a kid, those jobs lists that we would pick from, these were
not jobs that we had the opportunity to choose because they didn’t
exist. And so jobs in five, 10, 15 years, they’re going to be new that we
couldn’t even fathom existing right now. And so we need to focus on
what we do know, and what we do know is that there’s going to be a
shift in the way that we work.
Keith Keating: Now, research firms like McKinsey & Company have been analyzing job
activities. So they take occupations, they break them down into the
activities that are occurring in those occupations by the capability
requirements and then they look at which of those can be automated.
So what they’ve actually come up with by analyzing over 2000 work
activities across 800 occupations is trying to identify what are the
activities that are most highly going to be automated. And this is a great
insight into the near future for us because it helps us figure out where
we need to focus on in terms of work activities that are going to be
Keith Keating: So what they’ve been able to identify is that there are a number of
activities that we will see a reduction in hours as a result of automation.
Here’s the positive side of automation that we don’t often talk about.
When we’ve got technology or robots that are doing these activities for
us, it frees us up so that we can use our expertise and our human skills
which help us be even more productive in areas that we excel in. And so
here’s the important part. There is a subset of activities where the net
loss of hours as a result of automation is greater than the net gain,
collecting data, processing data, and predictable physical activities.
Keith Keating: We know right now automation does that better than us. Humans
cannot compete in the long run. So what we do is we take that
information and we map it against data compared to occupations and
we’re able to come up with two distinct categories: jobs that have the
highest probability of demand increase like teachers, social workers,
engineers and jobs that have the highest probability and future demand
of decrease, retail sales, logistics managers, financial clerks, vehicle
operators. And this is where we need to pay special attention because in
the US right now, we currently have over 25 million people employed in
just these five categories.
Keith Keating: So thinking back to the information that McKinsey has identified, they
may not be too far off with their estimation that 30 million people could
be impacted. Emphasis on could, of course. Now when we think about
automation and technology, we tend to think that it’s something that’s
not going to happen until tomorrow. So we don’t really need to worry
about it today, but the reality is it is impacting us today. The work of
tool and die makers are being replaced by 3D printers. Customer service
agents are being replaced today by chat bots and IBM’s Watson.
Keith Keating: Forklift drivers are being replaced by robots. Autonomous vehicles are
being tested on the road today. One of my favorite ones, you no longer
have to go into a bank to deposit a check. I was just showing my father
how to do this recently. You can do it right from your phone, but as a
result, we’re seeing less need for financial service clerks. And then if you
remember R2‐D2, his cousin is now replacing stock clerks. Walmart is
starting to roll this out nationally. And while this might sound scary, it
doesn’t have to be because we do have time to prepare our workforce,
but we must start now.
Keith Keating: And so thinking back to what we do know, we know that there will be
jobs lost. Absolutely. We have to be transparent and honest about this
fact. It could be as great as 15% of the workforce as McKinsey has
estimated. We don’t know, but it could be as great as that. We also
know that jobs will be changed just like we saw with the automobile.
We know that technology and automation robotics are going to be
working beside us. They’re going to allow us to be more productive. So
we need to start embracing this technology. But most importantly, as
history has shown us, we do know that jobs will be gained, including
new jobs that we can’t even fathom existing right now.
Keith Keating: And the jobs gained could be as high as 20 to 30% significantly offsetting
those that we lose. But we’re not hearing about these types of statistics.
We don’t hear about the hopeful side of automation. And there’s a
reason for that. Fear sells, click bait works. It’s there for a reason. It
makes money. It’s much more interesting to see a headline that tells us
robots are going to take over the world and we’re going to lose 800
million jobs in the next 13 years than it is for us to talk about the
positive side, how robots and automation are going to work beside us,
helping us focus on other areas, allowing us to be more productive. Fear
Keith Keating: And this is where we need to step in as learning and development
leaders, as HR practitioners to change the narrative and start planning
because planning and action are what drive change and are what is
going to be creating the future. And so we’ve got to start this. We have
the opportunity now today. So I want to tell you a quick story about
Mary, but before I do Sarah, let me just stop for a minute and see if
there’s a couple of questions that we should address before we move
Sarah Cirone: So everyone, if you have any questions, you can just type them along in
your questions box on the GoToWebinar control panel while we’re
moving through this presentation. Keith, we haven’t had anything pop in
yet, but‐
Keith Keating: Perfect just wanted to check in.
Sarah Cirone: I’ll let you know if that changes.
Keith Keating: Okay, sounds good. So I want to kind of divert a little bit and tell you
about my friend Mary. So Mary is a 40 year old single mother of two
without a college education. Now she’s been working in retail for most
of her adult life and she considers it a content job. She also considers it
stable. Now Mary is dedicated, she’s dependable, she’s a team player,
she’s trustworthy. She’s somebody that I would want to hire to be part
of my team. She is at risk today. Her job is at risk.
Keith Keating: Now most people think, “Yeah, the job is at risk because of automation
technology.” And it just recently started to become at risk. But I want to
just share with you this concept that this type of job actually became at
risk many years ago with the introduction of the concept of self service.
And self‐service is actually not new. So in the early 1900s, grocery
shopping consisted of walking into the store and you gave your list of
items to the clerk who would then go find the items, bag them, or
actually put them in a box and bring them back to you.
Keith Keating: Now this sounds like a pretty sweet system to me, but that all changed
in the early 1920s when the Piggly Wiggly, and for those of you not
familiar, this is actually a real store that’s still around today. The Piggly
Wiggly introduced the concept of self service. And what they did is they
advertised it as a way for women to have more freedom while shopping,
to be able to pick up their own items. Now this is really a general ploy
for cost savings, reducing the number of clerks that were required. And
so that was the introduction of really self‐service.
Keith Keating: This idea began and really evolved even more in the last, I’d say 15, 20
years with the introduction of the self checkout lanes. And again, it’s
been advertised as an opportunity for customers to save time. Now, I
don’t know about you, but every time I get in one of these lanes, it
actually does not save me time because if the machine, doesn’t work,
my item won’t scan, the person in front of me doesn’t know how to use
it. So we’re waiting for a human to come back over and to work with us
on this.
Keith Keating: And so then at this point you kind of regret not getting over into the
other human assisted line. So I think we actually have a little bit of time
left before this truly replaces cashiers. But that’s the direction that we
are headed in. Home Depot is launching in a number of stores across
California, Home Depot cashier less stores. We’ve got the Amazon Go
store. So we know what direction it’s headed in, but it is going to be a
bit slower to adoption, I think, than we hear in advertising the press. But
the reality is the retail sales consultant, retail sales clerk, their job is at
Keith Keating: Now, Mary isn’t alone. She’s just one of over 8 million people currently
employed in the US retail sales sector who are relying on us, HR, L&D
professionals to help them prepare to navigate the ambiguity and the
uncertainty of their job future. They see those self checkout lanes being
added. So whether or not somebody is telling them, they’re seeing this
and it does make them nervous, they’re part of the workforce that’s
worried. But here’s the thing, they don’t know what else to do
necessarily, and that’s where our job kicks in because we’ve got to help
them prepare.
Keith Keating: So the question is how can we help them? The first is that we need to
start by looking at ourselves, at our industry, HR, learning and
development, and we need to identify how we need to evolve to meet
their needs. Today we’re known as encouraging on the job learning,
teaching knowledge, producing content, producing job related content.
We’re known as the providers of learning. Some even call us the owners
of learning. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that
responsibility and accountability on my shoulders. I don’t want to be
somebody’s owner of learning.
Keith Keating: So what if we flip that? What if instead of being the providers of
learning, we became known as learning enablers and we created
connected learners that empower and enable them to take control over
their future? And so to create the connected learner, there are three
key components. We need to first focus on skills instead of jobs. We
need to identify the skills that our talent have today. We work with the
business, with customers, with the organization to identify what skills
will be needed for tomorrow. And then we architect those
developmental opportunities to bridge the gap between those skill
Keith Keating: We give learners the opportunity to develop those skills while we also
teach them effective learning habits, identifying the skill, developing our
talent, and building effective learning habits is how we will be able to
create the connected learner and it’s how we can prepare today’s
workforce for tomorrow. So I want to talk more about each three of
these areas. And I want to start first with this concept of skills. And I
want to start with the skill difference between artificial intelligence and
our own because there is a significant difference, but there’s also value.
Keith Keating: So we do need to celebrate artificial intelligence. So AI excels in linear
and repetitive tasks, we excel in the creative. AI is strong in problem
identification and that’s okay because we’re stronger in solving those
complex problems. AI provides information, we find meaning in that
information. And here’s what’s important. In the future, AI will lead the
machine industries. But that’s okay because we will be leading the
people. And although robots are becoming more human like and
Hollywood and the media might like us to think that someday they’re
going to take over the world or replace us.
Keith Keating: The reality is robots are not human and cannot become human. And so
we know that in the future we will be spending less time on those
predictable functions that I talked about earlier. Like those physical
activities, collecting data, processing data. Machines already exceed our
performance. So we focus on the skills that separate artificial
intelligence from our own, those skills that make us human are higher
order cognitive skills. It’s the skills that give us the ability to connect with
our patients, our customers, our employees, through empathy and
interpersonal skills, or… sorry, hit the wrong button.
Keith Keating: Or our complex problem solving skillset that allow us to think beyond
linear as robots do or our creativity, our originality, our emotion, our
logic. These are the skills that we have. These are human skills,
otherwise known as the skills of the future. Of course, we need these
skills today and we should be embracing them and focusing on them
now, which we are, but we’re also calling them the skills of the future.
So we’ve talked about our higher order cognitive skills. We know the
difference between AI and human skills in the future and today.
Keith Keating: It’s important to preface that because I’m seeing a big trend that we’re
talking about all these future skills and in the future, in the future, well,
we need empathy today. We need problem solving today, originality,
these are all skills we need to be focusing on right now. But they’re
going to continue to grow in their relevance, in their important as AI
robotics technology begin to augment these other skill sets that they do
well. So one of the first actions that we need to take in identifying
current skills is we need to start having conversations with our talent
today to help them identify their current cognitive skillset.
Keith Keating: We can use a tool like a skills barometer that helps us capture and chart
these results of the skills they have today, while at the same time we’re
capturing the skills that they’re interested in developing further. Now
here’s the great part of this. You can turn that into a skills heat map and
that helps us identify where the gaps are so that we can use this as a
short term developmental plan to close those gaps within our
organization or our business unit. So a skills barometer helps to identify
the current skillset.
Keith Keating: Now another output of identifying current skills is an extremely
important concept I want to share with you that we don’t talk enough
about. And this concept was something that was one of the most
valuable concepts for me to grasp early in my career and it’s continued
to support me. And that is the concept of transferable skills. So for those
of you not familiar, transferable skills are a core set of skills and abilities
that can be applied to a wide range of different jobs and industries.
They’re also known as our portable skills.
Keith Keating: So when we think about the fact that we’ve got a workforce that are
worried about their future, what a great way to help motivate them by
helping them recognize the transferable skill sets that they have that are
going to follow them regardless of the job, the industry, the role that
they play. I mentioned I was fortunate enough to uncover this idea early
in my career and it’s never left me. It’s helped me recognize that I can
and will continue to be a valuable employee regardless of the company I
work for, regardless of the industry that I’m in.
Keith Keating: So when I was transitioning early in my career from a fast food worker
into a more stable career, if you will, I came across this ad for a
Microsoft Office 2000 trainer. And of course I’m dating myself by
admitting that. But yes, it was a Microsoft Office 2000 trainer. So I
looked at the skills that were listed in the requirements and then I
matched them to what I knew how to do. The job title itself was a bit
intimidating, which I have a whole different viewpoint on job titles and
how we need to kind of evolve from the way that we use them to create
barriers of entry for our workforce. But that’s for a different topic.
Keith Keating: So the job title to me was a bit intimidating and I didn’t know what it
meant necessarily to be a trainer, but I knew how to use Office 2000, I
had used it in school. So I thought, how hard could it be to really teach
it? Well, it turns out that teaching was not as easy as I thought it would
be, but I was adaptable and I was able to grasp the concept of the skills
and eventually I became good. In fact, I would say that I owe a great bit
of my success in my career to this concept of transferable skills in not
letting the job titles intimidate me.
Keith Keating: So when we focus on jobs or job titles, we’re potentially alienating a
whole host of qualified talent who aren’t aware that they have the skills
necessary to perform those job functions. And so luckily for me, when
that Microsoft Office trainer title did intimidate me, I didn’t let it deter
me. In fact, it happened many years later when I came across this job
title of change management, I had heard a lot about it in the industry
and I thought it was a really exciting concept, but I didn’t have that job
title in my experience. But it turned out that I was fully qualified for that
role and I excelled in it even though I didn’t have that job title as change
Keith Keating: And so that’s why the concept of transferable skills is so important to
grasp just for us, but also for our talent, for our workforce, that they
understand that regardless of the role, they’ve got a skill set that’s going
to follow them. And so for me, I don’t focus on my functional job title.
What I am is a problem solver. That is my core skillset and it’s
transferable regardless of the company or the industry. The freedom
and security that along with that awareness, that’s what we should want
all of our talent to feel. And the same applies for Mary. She’s not just a
retail sales clerk.
Keith Keating: Mary has customer service skills, she’s got self‐awareness, she’s
creative, she has interpersonal skills, those are transferable to a number
of different functions or industries. And she’s just not aware yet of what
those options are or even of that concept of transferable skills. And so
we can help her and the rest of our workforce by starting to identify the
skills that they need for tomorrow and helping them understand the
concept of transferable skills. So when we think about the skills needed
for tomorrow, there are a couple of ways that we can identify these
Keith Keating: The first is by capturing ongoing market data that helps us predict and
prepare for these emerging skill needs. And there’s a lot of work that’s
happening in this area. So there’s one approach that you could take
that’s being used by DXC Technology. And so they gather predictive data
through supervised machine learning and then they analyze job boards
and publications and they combine that with keyword business
parameters. And then they’ve got brilliant DXC scientists, data scientists
that use statistical analysis and probability theory to help make future
skills predictions from that data.
Keith Keating: Now I don’t have access to data scientists, I don’t have access to
supervised machine learning or predictive data analytics. So I’m just
sharing that that is something that’s happening in the industry and it’s a
beautiful case study, but the majority of us don’t have access to this
data. What we do have access to is research on these emerging skills
that is free, that is fully available. It’s credible and it’s again, free. World
Economic Forum, Forrester, Bersin, McKinsey Global Institute. This
information is out there now.
Keith Keating: So going back to our responsibility, our responsibility as HR
professionals, learning and development professionals, practitioners,
we need to be curators of this information to help our workforce
understand and prepare for these future skill needs. So start researching
this information today. And if I were to give you one recommendation,
start with the World Economic Forum. Most brilliant people involved in
helping to shape the future of work, the future of the world are a part of
that initiative so start looking at that data today. Lots of phenomenal
information out there and it’s free.
Keith Keating: So while external research is very valuable, so is internal research. And
one of the most important opportunities for future insight is directly
through your business and your customers, gathering input on their
future skill needs. Just having conversations with them, ask them what
gaps are they seeing, what are their strategies for the near future? How
is their business evolving and how can we help support them? One way
to get that engagement with them could be by creating a skills advisory
board. And this is something that I use within my organization, within
our partners.
Keith Keating: And in this skills advisory board, it consists of learning and development
and HR. It consists of customers, key customers, business partners,
external subject matter experts, learning experts, industry experts. And
the concept is you meet on a reoccurring basis and you have these
facilitated conversations to look at the information from World
Economic Forum, to look at the information from McKinsey, to map that
back to your industry because that research is broken down by industry.
It’s broken down by job roles. I’m telling you the research is beautiful,
it’s out there.
Keith Keating: Look at that research, have curated, facilitated conversations with your
skill advisory board to stay ahead of these future skill needs so that
together you can find solutions and proactively develop these skills in
your workforce today. We don’t want to wait until the gap is so big
that’s impacting our business. It’s our job to be workforce futurists, to
be thinking ahead about identifying these skill gaps so that we can help
our workforce be agile, flexible, and ready to fill those needs.
Keith Keating: So we’ve talked about identifying their current skills, looked at some
ways to identify skills for the future. So now what we’re going to do is
look at how do we overlay this information? So what’s in it for our
employees? Why do they care? Yes, they see this information, but it
sounds like it’s so far in the future, it’s not going to impact me. My job’s
not at risk. So we have got to create a personal and organizational
message here that’s combined. It needs to have that personal
connection so it’s inspiring and motivational and helps them recognize
that there’s a personal benefit and there’s a future gain to having them
start thinking about developing these future skills.
Keith Keating: Otherwise, what’s in it for them? Where’s the with them? Citigroup has
a beautiful example I want to share with you that you can research as a
case study in the future. They had this #BeMore campaign and the idea
was it enabled and empowered employees to become better learners
and contribute directly to making Citi the best bank by demonstrating
the personal value and enabling employees to find motivation and
learning. And here’s the key output from this. It takes it away from us
pushing messages on them as HR or as their leaders or as L&D and it
makes the messages resonate.
Keith Keating: It makes it more contextualized because it’s coming from their peers, it’s
coming from other employees. And so they use this campaign based
focus to understand employee perspectives. And so what they did was
they had these ideas of employee idea jams or they had brainstorming
sessions. They had personal growth messages that were shared
throughout the campaign and they had these daily challenges. It was
daily self improvement, specific challenges, and they shared all of that
out. And so it’s each other sharing these motivational messages about
how they’re preparing, how they’re continuing to grow and develop and
the value that’s coming out of that.
Keith Keating: And again, the point here is that it’s from a personal contextualized,
relevant message from each other, rather from us telling them, “Here’s
what you need to do, here’s why you need to do it.” So it’s a really great
case study. Just Google, the #BeMore campaign. There’s a lot of great
information out there on that. Now we can’t expect your employees just
to develop these skills completely on their own. This is where we need
to architect and create those developmental opportunities and those
experiences for them. So one approach could be creating stretch
Keith Keating: Now this is not a new concept. The concept of stretch assignments have
been around for a long time, but I’m particularly passionate about this
because we don’t talk enough about it. Yeah, we all might know, sure, a
stretch assignment. But who’s actually doing it? Not a lot of
organizations. A stretch assignment is a project or a task that’s just
outside of the employee’s comfort zone. It pushes them outside of that
comfortability, but not so far that they burn out. It challenges them. And
so it’s not part of their merits.
Keith Keating: And this is an important concept because when I talk to organizations,
they put it in that evaluation system. And no, we don’t want to make it
part of that merits because then our employees are going to be nervous.
They’re not going to want to participate in this. And in my opinion, it’s
not really a stretch assignment if we’re evaluating them on a pass or fail.
We need to create these safe environments so that they can have the
opportunity to fail, to fail fast forward and learn from that experience in
that safe environment.
Keith Keating: And so there’s a lot of different examples for stretch assignments. It
could be an internship, it could be create an internship, it could be
running a new meeting. It could be spending time in another
organization, in another job role just to see what somebody else does to
help them grow and stretch. In fact, we should all be giving ourselves
stretch assignments. My team, I ask them every six months, give
yourself a significant stretch assignment that makes you grow. It doesn’t
have to be at work, but keep that gray matter in your brain growing and
Keith Keating: Pick up a new hobby, learn a new language, just travel someplace. Get
exposure to other areas. For someone like Mary, it could be a role swap
with a self checkout lane attendant. We know there always needs to be
a lane attendant there to help us. It could be managing an intern or a
volunteer. It could be coordinating an in‐store event. It’s just something
that challenges them outside of their job where it gives them the
opportunity to grow in that safe environment. Now another opportunity
to architect these developmental experiences could be creating an
infrastructure that houses stretch assignments or skill sharing
opportunities, and it provides visibility into where these skills exist
through the organization or these opportunities.
Keith Keating: And so the concept is like a digital skills exchange platform. Now it
doesn’t have to be anything too technologically complicated, SharePoint
site, intranet page. For lack of funding, that could just be an Excel file
that’s shared or a Microsoft Teams site, whatever you want to use, the
concept is simple. It’s a database that has all the possible professions or
occupations. It has a course calendar showing when, where or how
these skills are delivered. It has an index of employability within these
occupations. It’s got a course calendar showing… sorry I talked about
that one. Course calendar, index of employability and the skills required
to move into these types of professions.
Keith Keating: So I want to share with you an example of this actually in practice. Intel
has created what they call a DOT, a development opportunity tool. This
is an internal platform that they use where managers can post short‐
term developmental opportunities that any employee can access. Again,
it’s an internal tool that they use, they don’t sell this externally. But the
value is that it creates two way skill visibility between managers and
employees into what skills are going to be gained and brought back. It
offers best fit development because it gives you the opportunity to find
talent in areas that can meet those specific developmental needs.
Keith Keating: Maybe it’s based on the work that you have done in the skills heat map,
we talked about earlier. It also makes the manager benefit more clear.
So it illustrates the skills that your employee is going to be bringing back
into your organization but it also gives you access to identifying
nontraditional candidates that you may not have otherwise known
existed in the organization. So developmental opportunity tool, one idea
for housing these types of skill building developmental opportunities.
Now something else to consider.
Keith Keating: Oftentimes when we have employees that are looking to transition into
a new role or an occupation, they’re going to be more successful if they
have really that career path helped to be defined for them. Now in some
cases we may have areas or skill gaps within the organization where we
don’t have current talent, internal that has those skill needs. So often
the first thought is we should go out and hire a new resource to fill that
skill gap. What if we flip that? Instead of immediately jumping to, “Let’s
go external to hire somebody,” what if we created external
developmental opportunities for our current talent to gain those new
skills and bring them back to the organization?
Keith Keating: Like allowing our employees to participate in an internship program
elsewhere, or maybe we partner with a similar organization or we work
with a trade organization or a trade school. One example of this in
practice is with Procter & Gamble. So Procter & Gamble created a
partnership. It was a digital marketing talent exchange. It was a month
long job swap where it was 10 employees from each organization
swapped for about a month and they up skilled in a new organization
some new skills. And then they brought those back and it helped them
be stronger employees. Both organizations shared that this was a really
positive experience for everybody involved.
Keith Keating: Now I don’t hear a lot about this. This is really the biggest use case that
I’ve seen across the industry, but I think it’s important to continue
talking about this as an option for us to develop our talent. Working
with our partner organizations, working with in trade organizations,
even internships, giving them the opportunity to develop these skills
before we just go outside and hire new talent. Another option is using
platforms like [Top Tow 00:47:03] who can identify the talent maybe
with that skill set and bring them in for a specific time period and maybe
they help to fill that skill gap on a temporary basis.
Keith Keating: They help bring those skills into the organization for the talent that
you’re looking to up skill that already exist and look to augment from
that perspective instead of just going out and hiring that FTE. So there
are options that are available to us. At the end of the day, what we need
to focus on is whether it’s through stretch assignments, digital skills
platforms, or external partnerships, we want to be creating
opportunities for our employees to practice second skilling. And if
you’re not familiar with this concept, start using it.
Keith Keating: Second skilling is the ability to develop new skills while they’re in their
current jobs. We don’t want to wait until they’re at risk, until they’re
already made redundant or until they’re so fearful about the future that
they’re not willing to learn. We need to start working with them today
to help developing their skills. Now to round off, are connected learners.
We need to help them build effective learning habits. So the concept of
being a learner has shifted.
Keith Keating: No more is the concept where you go to school, you learn a trade or a
profession, and you are in your job and then you retire. That concept of
learn, do, retire no longer exists. In order to be agile and adaptable, we
have got to learn, unlearn and relearn, learn, unlearn, relearn. And this
is a continued cycle. This is the cycle of a life long learner. As Toffler
once said, the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot
read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.
Keith Keating: Here’s the reality. Modern careers are like a nonstop conveyor belt.
You’ve got to keep moving and learning no matter what stage of your
career that you’re in. Being content is a mindset that puts us at risk. If
we take into account how quickly industries, business, technology
evolve, this is how our employees get left behind. We need to instill the
concept of being a lifelong learner, which will help them be agile,
adaptable, and ready to fill that next organizational gap. And so what we
need to do is include the concepts and of emphasizing the importance
of being a lifelong learner.
Keith Keating: We also need to include context for our learners. I think this is a big gap
that we have in the L&D industry from the learning, the training that
we’ve been creating, there’s not enough context. Context shapes the
learning experience. It helps our learners construct meaning based on
their own experience and it brings that learning as close to their real
world work environment as possible. Not ours, not the ISD, not who’s
ever creating that training. It’s got to have the context for the learners.
That is what leads to stronger performance support.
Keith Keating: We also need to help our talent recognize the need and importance for
practicing reflection. There is not enough reflection in learning and
development. We don’t build in enough time to have these
conversations. We need to reinforce that idea of learning is more about
engagement and discussion than just the provision and consumption of
content. And so we have to build in opportunities for those reflection
exercises in ways to apply the learning in their context. This is what
gives them the opportunity to change their behaviors and to build habits
in that work environment.
Keith Keating: Learning doesn’t stop. Once that learning experience, that engagement
ends, there’s a sustainment factor. And it’s that reflection of the context
and their real world work environment that helps to change their
behaviors and drive performance support. Building effective learning
habits, lifelong learning, context and reflection. Now equally as
important, we’ve got to help our learners analyze information. More
employees are collecting and analyzing information and making
decisions as part of their primary roles.
Keith Keating: Now it’s estimated right now that less than 40% actually are able to
effectively analyze information and that leads to poor performance and
greater organizational risk. And it’s no wonder with the amount of
information overload. On average in the US, we’re consuming almost 10
hours a day on multimedia devices. No wonder the overload. Now, I
didn’t believe that at first on my iPhone, I turned that on and just on my
iPhone I consume around five to six hours per day, which is a little bit
embarrassing, but I’m willing to share that with you to say this data is
actually valid. So that’s just on my iPhone, doesn’t include laptop, iPad,
computer, television.
Keith Keating: So we need to help them with this information overload. Now, the way
that we do that is first by addressing a question that I hear a lot. And the
question is how can we build training materials rapidly enough to catch
up with the pace of organizational change? The answer is we can’t build
it rapidly enough and we shouldn’t be. We should be focusing on being
curators rather than content creators. With all of the information that’s
already available, curating the content and allowing easy access to that
right information and transforming it into a usable format will help our
learners analyze the information and help them build effective learning
Keith Keating: So it’s a lot of information I’ve been sharing with you, told you at the
beginning. We’ve got a lot I want to cover, but I think these are all
important concepts. And when we think back to when I started at the
beginning and I was asking, thinking back to what you wanted to be
ballerina, maybe a doctor or a superhero, again, I doubt any of us
thought that what we wanted to be was in L&D and HR. I never thought
I wanted to be an HR director or I want to design learning because I
didn’t know that it was a possibility.
Keith Keating: And I certainly didn’t know what skills were required. By creating our
connected learners, we can help Mary and the other millions of people
who may be at risk, who are not aware of the transferable skills that
they already possess, who aren’t aware of the possibilities of what they
can be. We can give them the opportunity to build experiences in those
new skills so they do not have to continue to live in fear about the
future of their jobs. No one should be living in fear. Today, our call to
action is to evolve from being learning providers to learning enablers.
Keith Keating: We need to help our employees help themselves. The truth is there is
work for people today and there will be work for people tomorrow,
even in the future of automation. And so as Malcolm X once said,
tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. This is our call to
action to start today. And rather than thinking that it’s humans versus
the machines and this is a big threat and we’re all at risk, we should be
embracing this. It’s humans and the machines, our future blended
workforce. So we’ll stop now. I’m going to open it up, Sarah. We’ve got a
few minutes left for some Q&A.
Sarah Cirone: Yes. Thank you so much Keith. That was great. We appreciate you
looking to HRDQ for your training needs. We publish researched based
experiential learning products that you can deliver in your organization.
Check out our online or print self assessments, our up out of your seat
games, our reproducible workshops that you can customize and more
either at our website or give our customer service team a call. And if you
needed help learning a training program or you’d like one of our trainers
to do it for you, we also provide those services.
Sarah Cirone: We look forward to being your soft skills training resource. So we do
have some time for questions. You can type your questions in the
question area on your GoToWebinar control panel and we can answer
those for you. Keith, we did have a couple questions come in earlier that
we can answer here. Xavier wants to know what about the shifting
capabilities considering that not all clerks have the skills to move to a
non‐automated job.
Keith Keating: What about the shift in capabilities? So I am assuming the capabilities
you’re talking about skillsets. And again, that’s where our role comes in
in helping… And I know this question maybe I had answered along the
way, but the reality is we have to help first of all identify what those
future skill needs are so we can start developing those employees to
help fill those gaps. So I’m not a hundred percent clear on the question.
Sarah Cirone: This question popped up when you were talking about Mary at Target.
Keith Keating: Yeah. So I would hope that I would have addressed it when we went
through the three phases around building the connected learner. But if I
didn’t, what I would say is pop the question back in and maybe ask it a
little bit differently.
Sarah Cirone: Carol was asking, what are we doing about better synergy between
education and schools and future workforce needs? Where does
investment in training of today’s workers come from? Who pays? How
does pay get increased for teachers and social workers who you showed
as needing more of in the future? These are currently poorly paid. That’s
what she said.
Keith Keating: That is a really great question. So I’m going to address a couple of those.
There absolutely needs to be a balance between, I think that there’s a
multiple approach. So there’s government, there is private, there is
public, there is corporate, there’s our own individual aspect. I don’t
want to get too political. What I can say is that there are countries that
are doing this right. What I would recommend is take a look at UNESCO
lifelong learning cities, Google that.
Keith Keating: It is a great initiative that UNESCO is doing where it’s almost a public
approach where cities can identify how they are creating future skills,
free future skills initiatives, how they’re working to address this need
and then they can nominate themselves to be part of the UNESCO
lifelong learning cities. And so that’s one great example to take a look at
who’s doing it well. Singapore is doing a beautiful job. They have funding
for every a Singaporean that goes toward the future skill needs.
Keith Keating: I’m starting to see more in the US, not quickly enough based on the
population size that we have, but there are some cities that are doing it.
Take a look at General Assembly. General Assembly has some key
training centers in cities across the country where they’re starting to
focus on this. There absolutely is more need for more emphasis on
teachers. That unfortunately is really controlled by, I think, the
government. We’re looking at public schools. So there’s much I can talk
about on that. But I would say just in summary, checkout UNESCO
lifelong cities as an example of a model that we should be following
more often that merges the public and private sector.
Keith Keating: We are seeing more in the private sector of large company, Amazon,
Microsoft, the big players saying, “Hey, we’re investing 700 million into
up skilling our workforce.” The irony of that in my opinion is they’re also
the disruptors. So absolutely they should be up skilling their workforce.
But it’s the other areas that I don’t think we have enough focus on. For
example, truck drivers. I would love to see initiative set up with,
assuming there’s a union or just truck driver associations where we start
to help them up skill as automation becomes more popular, as Tesla’s
trucks begin their automation across country, that’s a huge, huge risk for
them longterm.
Keith Keating: Retail sales sector, cashiers are absolutely going to be risk. So there’s
ownership all around. I think right now we’re just at the beginning of it
where we’re having these discussions. We need to continue having the
discussions and evolve them from just being discussion‐based to action
oriented. So I revert back to General Assembly, UNESCO lifelong
learning cities, World Economic Forum. Those are three players that are
more action oriented and less about the financial aspect of it and more
about the open source.
Keith Keating: I think we also should talk more about MOOCs, massive open online
courses. There’s a lot of free training that’s out there and I think that
what we can do is we can continue to talk about the importance of
being lifelong learners. I think that’s a concept that every one of us need
to embrace because once we recognize it… First of all, learning happens
every day. We need to be evolving past this learning as such a
structured format that either is on an LMS or in a classroom and accept
that there’s informal as a key component of that and we need to
continue learning and turning to things like… I’m totally drawing a blank.
I think it’s edX which is the Harvard and Yale and MIT open MOOC
platform, which is a great way to go and learn new skills. So I know it
was a really long winded answer, but hopefully I’ve given you some
additional information to take a look at.
Sarah Cirone: Great. And that brings us here to the hour. So this is all the time that we
have for today. Thank you so much, Keith. This was wonderful.
Keith Keating: Absolutely. It’s been a pleasure. And what I would ask is let’s continue
this conversation. Please add me on LinkedIn, I’m very active there. I
would love to hear more from you, understand what you’re doing in this
space or what you’re interested in this space. As I mentioned earlier, my
dissertation, my body of research is around the future of work, and it’s
all of us together that are going to make this change. It’s not one
organization, it’s not one government so we really need to work
together and continue to grow our community. So again, please add me
on LinkedIn. Let’s continue the conversation there
Sarah Cirone: And thank you all for participating in today’s webinar. Happy training.


Necktie - Entrepreneur

Keith Keating has had a career spanning over 20 years in L&D. He holds a master’s degree in leadership and is currently pursuing his doctorate in the Chief Learning Officer program at the University of Pennsylvania. Keating has experience in a myriad of areas ranging from performance improvement, instructional design, leadership coaching, operations management, and process transformation.

More recently, he has been leading clients on the design and execution of their global learning strategies. Keating studied design thinking at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and found design thinking was a perfect tool to add to his problem-solving “toolkit.” Since then, he has utilized design thinking to help clients tap into understanding and resolving unmet customer and future workforce needs.


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