Brandon Carson, Director of Learning, Delta Air Lines is a strategic business leader with a proven record in learning and organizational development, instructional design, leadership training, curriculum development, orientation programs, sales training, and performance consulting. As Director of Learning at Delta Air Lines, he is responsible for learning and development for the company's global airport operations. As a practitioner, educator, and business leader, Brandon has developed extensive expertise in the areas of talent management, leadership development, technical and compliance training, influence and change management, and innovative pedagogical design.
At the People Matters L&D SEA Conference 2021, Brandon is joining us for an exclusive session on L&D's playbook for the digital age. In an exclusive interaction with us, Brandon shares his insights on reimagining learning and what are some of the non-negotiables for improving learning culture in their organizations.
The pandemic has also brought back the importance of reskilling and upskilling of resources as part of the larger business transformation in the wake of the crisis. What do you think are some of the trends around reskilling and upskilling post-COVID-19?
We are in a crisis when it comes to the widening skills gap. As we navigate the largest-scale job transformation in human history, we need to accelerate our strategies as it applies to reskilling and cross-skilling the workforce. According to the World Economic Forum, the top skills for successful employment include critical thinking, analysis, problem-solving, active learning, resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility.
On average, companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require reskilling of six months or less and 94% of business leaders report that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job, a sharp uptake from 65% in 2018.
Because of the deficiencies in the public education system too many people are beginning their careers requiring further development by companies which places a significant burden on corporate learning functions that are still starved for resources and themselves are suffering capability gaps with their own staffing models.
How is the role of L&D professionals changing?
The typical corporate L&D function has consistently evolved with the business and workforce it supports and we've seen major changes in how training is designed, developed, and delivered over the years. Since the rise of the Internet, the corporate L&D function has successfully embraced the use of technology to deliver training at scale and to deliver amazing results for the business. The rapid pace of technology integration since the beginning of the digital age has accelerated the need for training and requires us to rethink, re-scope, and in many instances, reset our expectations of L&D's overall operating model. As a practice, we are now leveraging data analytics to democratize our decisions and gain deeper insight into the impact our learning solutions have.
Data also helps with setting priorities and focusing on where we truly add value.
We need more data expertise in our practice, we need more performance consulting, learning engineering (marries the art and science of how humans learn), and consumer-grade quality when it comes to media design. Additionally, we need to allow our instructional designers to spend more time actually designing relevant and meaningful instructional messaging. Too often, we place the burden of complete development on the instructional designer diluting their ability to focus on designing actual learning.
Companies that continue to invest in training and offer learning opportunities for their talent will emerge as winners on the other side of this crisis. What are some of the L&D initiatives initiated at your organization in this pandemic?
We are focusing more on our employee's health and wellbeing throughout the pandemic, making sure there are resources available to assist people through the crisis with a strong emphasis on safety (both physical and psychological). We are also providing training in diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure we intentionally provide an inclusive workplace that values what each unique individual brings to the enterprise. Additionally, we have offered each employee curated learning plans designed to provide them opportunities to build their capabilities in essential business skills such as communication, innovation, financial acumen, and use of business productivity software.
The pandemic also highlights the need to reskill and upskill workers towards stronger data science skills, a better understanding of artificial intelligence, and to expand digital literacy overall. What is your organization doing in that direction?
Digital literacy is a must for every level of worker in every line of business. It's no longer a "technical skill."
We have partnered with IBM to create a Skilling Program Office that will adaptively align training to individuals based on their digital maturity and provide customized on-demand learning opportunities for them.
As talent leaders reimagine workplace learning, what are some of the non-negotiables for improving the learning culture in their organizations?
It's vitally important for learning leaders to ensure the humanity of work remains the top priority as more technology is integrated into every aspect of how the work gets done. We are uniquely positioned to ensure that technology is leveraged as a means to an end -- helping the worker get their job done in the most productive manner possible. We must keep our eyes on the prize -- providing a work environment that provides every worker a meaningful, relevant, and satisfactory career regardless of their level in the organization.
By default, the digital age is enabling us to redefine the very meaning of work and to automate away the drudgery and meaningless parts of a job so that humans can find deeper enjoyment in their labor.