In the fourth of five industry reports following Learning Technologies 2022, we turn our attention to the tech sector. Following a huge expansion of the industry post-COVID 19, this blog looks at the impact of the 'Great Resignation' and digital skills gaps, developing a soft skills learning strategy, and why a robust data analytics platform will help to protect your learning strategy from failure.
Setting the scene.
From the need to ‘track and trace’ the virus, work remotely, and respond to supply chain disruptions, it is no surprise that McKinsey has found that COVID-19 sped up the adoption of digital technologies by several years. Two years later, the growth of the global tech sector shows no signs of slowing, with market watchdog Forrester predicting 6% growth in 2022 and 2023.
However, despite this good news, there is a sense that the tech sector could fall victim to its own success. 2022 has seen several reports of the tech bubble ‘bursting’, and the industry is facing unprecedented skills gaps. In the UK alone, 66% of digital leaders are unable to keep up due to talent shortages.
Against this backdrop, L&D practitioners must play a key role in supporting talent transformation strategies within tech. By delivering practical solutions and people-focused learning, they can help meet organisations’ present and future needs head-on.
Across the following three insights, gathered from critical conversations at Learning Technologies 2022, we assess how L&D can help the tech sector by closing skills gaps, aiding the development of soft skills, and implementing a robust analytics solution to make sense of learner data.
These insights are summarised in the following blog and explored in more detail in the downloadable insights report, below.
Insight One: The ‘Great Resignation’ and digital skills gaps pose an existential threat to talent retention and continued sector growth.
Technological advancements before, during and after COVID-19, and the recent ‘Great Resignation’, have created a talent shortage across the tech industry. Put simply, tech has a talent pipeline that can’t keep up with the speed of technological change.
In response to this, L&D practitioners need to look to upskilling existing talent – a cheaper and less risky alternative to hiring externally. Rather than leaning on a HR department that might have limited tech knowledge, L&D should also work with experts within the organisation to ensure this process is as streamlined as possible.
Upskilling is essential; however, it should not be the only policy employed by a tech organisation to close its skills gaps. With innovation being essential to the industry, L&D should encourage organisations to broaden their search for employees beyond their traditional talent pools. Practitioners can lead the charge in diversifying tech, which is still lagging behind other industries, to bring in additional talent, plug skills gaps, and boost innovation.
Insight Two: Developing a soft skills learning strategy is essential to attracting new talent, and creating more inclusive and resilient teams.
As stressed in Deloitte’s 2020 post-COVID-19 report, ‘build[ing] a resilient, emotionally intelligent, and empathetic workforce’ is ‘the new mandate of L&D’. Traditionally, soft skills have been neglected within tech, however the rapid pace of change requires a change of tact. Resilience is essential to weathering the sector’s disruptions, adaptability is needed for any employee to be upskilled, and leadership and management are must-haves so that knowledge is transferred.
However, L&D faces a challenge in delivering this – the complex nature of tech has led to siloed cultures in many organisations. Practitioners must demonstrate the vital importance of soft skills in supporting an organisation’s present and future needs, including talent retention.
It is important to consider the personalised nature of soft skills. To support this, organisations should look to give employees considerable autonomy in deciding the ‘what, where, when, and how’ of their learning. They should also look to how micro-learning can be used to teach soft skills, especially following COVID-19, which has seen learning become more digital, shorter, and more varied.
Sponge’s Skill Pill micro-learning can be an excellent addition to any strategy to boost soft skills within the tech sector, with a library of over 500 titles covering emotional resilience, adaptability, and leadership and management. At the same time, L&D practitioners should also look beyond off-the-shelf content and incorporate mentoring and user-generated material into their service offering.
Insight Three: Without a robust analytics platform that makes sense of learner data, your learning strategy will fail.
L&D practitioners must lead the charge in persuading decision makers in tech organisations to invest in learning analytics. Put simply, analytics will allow you to get to know your learners.
Data can bring learning together and uncover correlations between activities. Being able to demonstrate this will not only show the value being added by the learning but will also reveal future opportunities.
Sponge’s data processing technology can be inlaid during the build of custom learning programmes. It provides a single, collated view of risk, behavioural change and culture, allowing for quick iterations and improvements. Within tech, L&D practitioners can rapidly make sense of critical data and take evasive actions where needed.
How can Sponge help?
Sponge has over ten years’ experience delivering quality learning programmes to a range of global tech organisations. We are experts in upskilling, soft skills, and understand the vital role data plays in any learning initiative. We follow the latest developments within tech to remain ahead of the curve and support the industry’s ongoing digital transformation with cutting-edge content.
Author: Tom Griffiths, Learning Experience Consultant, Sponge