Building the necessary skills for digital transformation


Daniela: Absolutely. It’s a total driver for innovation and it is also a driver to create something like a company memory of expertise and knowledge. Because you can bring together through one single point of entry, a universe of learning opportunities to the people.

You have so many great people and organizations that can contribute with latest insights, topics that they want to position and bring to the people. We haven’t had that in the past. Imagine a company like Siemens, a huge technology company active in so many industries. It means that we need to bring together learning opportunities from, let’s say, a functional perspective. So, if you are in finance or in supply chain, we need to then also complete it by, we call it cross-functional learning opportunities, which are topics that are relevant for everybody 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 huge landscape of learning opportunities, and everybody needs a subset, and everybody needs a very individual specialized subset. That is a huge benefit to be able to tailor it to that. And by having such an approach, I must also say it’s 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, don’t have to then encounter programs where maybe only a certain percentage of it is relevant to them. It’s really helpful also to drive the overall business success.

Laurel: And part of that business success is digital transformation, right? Adopting and rolling out 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 having specific advantages over machines and AI like managing and decision making and communicating and interacting — all of those things that humans are really good at. How can business people prepare and prepare their employees for this shift from automation?

Daniela: Yeah, I think it is something that accompanied us already since quite a few years. But there, again, the speed and also the level of skills needed has increased so significantly. I would say it’s almost like a bouquet of things that you can do and should do. You need to, as a company, create an identity and first of all, say that you really think learning and individual growth is super important. It is a priority for the company, and you need to give it a positive spin. It is there for you, it is there to support you, it starts with you. That is why we have initiated a company-wide campaign that we call MyGrowth.

It’s much more than a campaign, it’s an overall concept and approach. But it is really meant to inspire and engage people to try out the different experiences that we provide and help them to navigate and give orientation what they should and can use. Then we have also initiated a target on learning hours because we really wanted to nudge people and say, “Look, it’s important that you take the time and that you take it as a priority.”

With regard to the specific skills that you were mentioning around automation and digitalization, we then can include specific strategic topics that we push to our people. We drive awareness campaigns through learning opportunities. Those can be targeted for certain audiences because people also need different skill levels. Or we can push it at scale. This is a highly flexible system. If I may give you an example, we have one pocket in our businesses that is called Digital Industries Software. It fits very nicely to what you were mentioning. The CEO of that business last year said we are in a software business, so AI is a major driver for everything that we are doing. Therefore, my whole organization needs to understand what first of all, artificial intelligence is, let’s say on a very generic level. But also, people need to understand how we are using it as a technology internally, but also as a driver for our business and software solutions. And then we created different learning paths for different expertise layers, and could therefore, bring the whole topic in a very comprehensive manner to thousands of people of our Digital Industries business.

Laurel: So, you are doing two things. One, you’re pushing out what you think that everyone needs to know and learn, artificial intelligence being a big topic. But then how do you then also do assessments of people and their skills to identify skill gaps and then align learning programs with the business strategy to basically not just get a return on investment? Of course, everything does come back to profit, but also return on investment on the employee’s time and expertise. Because that is also something you’re growing.

Daniela: Yes. And the skills topic is a very hot one, I can tell you. It’s all over the place and coming from very different lenses and use cases. Technology plays a major role. A platform-based learning ecosystem with a learning experience platform at the core enables you to gain insights that we never had in the past. We can see what interests people. We can see why and for what are they engaging in learning, what are they then actually learning or what are they not learning, and then therefore, leaving. If you then multiply that and you see that over the overall workforce, you see also what are hot topics, what are skills that are coming on the horizon. You can see that in certain communities. We have certain communities that are, for instance, we call them digital talents, like tech talents. And there, you already see what the next topics are that will come on the horizon. And then we can match as a learning function, do we already have the right learning opportunities for the topics that are being searched for? That is one thing. But that is more the bottom-up part of it that is super important.



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