The Future of Work is Now: Kristi Hummel

Episode 36 February 24, 2022 00:33:19
The Future of Work is Now: Kristi Hummel
The Edge: A Skillsoft Podcast
The Future of Work is Now: Kristi Hummel

Feb 24 2022 | 00:33:19


Hosted By

Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek

Show Notes

On this special season finale of The Edge, we invite two insightful leaders to discuss Skillsoft’s 2nd Annual Lean into Learning Report – uncovering learning trends and lessons from 2021, and what else is to come in 2022. In part one, we sit down with Skillsoft’s Chief People Officer Kristi Hummel who shares her perspective on key findings from this year’s report related to building a culture of learning, maintaining and retaining talent, and upskilling employees. 

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:07 The views expressed by guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Skillsoft. Welcome to the edge, a Skillsoft podcast for learners and leaders alike. In every episode, we engage in candid thought provoking conversations on the topic of learning and growth in the workplace. And as I sit here recording a very special two-part episode of the edge, I really need to say this, oh my gosh, what a ride it has been today marks the final chapter of season two. Don't you worry. We are already working on season three, growing and expanding this platform, bringing to you our listeners, even bigger, bolder and braver stories in 2022. Now on this theme of reflection, if there has one thing that we've learned in 2021, it's that we never stop learning. And this is a mantra that we live and breathe here at Skillsoft, which is why I am thrilled that this episode is focused on our recently released annual learning report, lean into learning, which illuminates the latest trends and learning based on proprietary and third-party research as well as our own learning consumption data. Speaker 1 00:01:18 Now, these trends along with inspiring customer stories, with contributions, from members of our Skillsoft leadership team perspectives from top analysts and more that's what makes up this year's report. And it offers insight into the current state of learning the organizational social and cultural changes that are happening in the workforce today. And of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't add our predictions for the future. And look, if there's one key message, this report tells us it's this, the future of work is now when we published last year's learning to learning report. We wrote about the eye of the storm because that's where we suddenly found ourselves. It was the height of the pandemic work. As we knew had changed irrevocably, we were seeing workforce transformation happened in real time, massive, massive shifts in the way people work. But over this past year, while there's still tremendous uncertainty, we have begun to ease out of this crisis mode. Speaker 1 00:02:17 And so many organizations have had to rethink reimagine and reinvent the way that work gets done, the ways in which they retain their people and the ways in which they transform their talent. And that's what we're going to be discussing today. And I am so honored to be joined by two very special guests, Christie Hummel, Skillsoft's chief people, officer and Sheree Hicks, a leadership development strategist and learning manager at train technologies. Now Christie recently joined Skillsoft as chief people, officer bringing with her more than 25 years of experience leading people's strategies for global technology companies, including building and leading best practice programs for talent, acquisition, retention, and development, workforce planning comp and benefits and performance management. And prior to Skillsoft, Christy, most recently served as senior vice president of human resources at Dell technologies where she led the talent and culture organization. Needless to say, we are so fortunate to have a leader like Christie, as part of our executive leadership team, Sherry Hicks brings more than 15 years of experience in leadership development and program management to her role at Trane, they are, she manages globally diverse high potential cohort programs and leadership development courses with a center of excellence per participants from across all of train's enterprise brands. Speaker 1 00:03:42 And these programs include a women's leadership program, gender equity in leadership learning path and the women in action leadership development program. Something we are going to learn more about today. Shari considers herself a learning technology champion, and that is something we love to hear at Skillsoft. And she's got experience developing and implementing virtual learning strategies, using a variety of different platforms, but I'm going to start today's conversation with my colleague Christie, Hummel, Christie, thank you so much for joining us on the edge. Speaker 2 00:04:16 So excited to be here. And I, you know, the love goes right back to you and be big. Speaker 1 00:04:22 This is going to be a love Fest. Everyone. I look Chrissy, I have already talked about your professional experience, just so you know, so we don't have to rehash that, but I do want to give our listeners a little bit more insight into who you are. So we are introducing something we call the quick lightning round. Are you ready? Speaker 2 00:04:38 I think so. Okay. Speaker 1 00:04:42 In the spirit of the time that we are recording this Olympics, winter or summer Speaker 2 00:04:48 Winter, I love to watch the skiing sometimes watch the skating, depending upon who's in it. Any of the watching this year though. So I've got two behind, Speaker 1 00:05:00 You have some catch-up to do on peacock. Yeah. All right. Favorite movie genre and movie. Speaker 2 00:05:07 Um, favorite movie John rhe would be a, I have a ten-year-old I'm working mom. And so one of the things I love is watching movies that I grew up with with her and seeing it all through her eyes. So home alone, the parent trap night at the museum that now is my new favorite genre. I don't know if I really have a favorite out of all of them. Uh, but, uh, it is a favorite pastime of mine right now. Speaker 1 00:05:35 Oh my God. I love that. All right. Tick, tick or no tick tock. Speaker 2 00:05:40 A little bit of both. So, um, I love Tik TOK videos. I love watching Tik TOK videos. I will never, ever, ever do a Tik TOK video, Speaker 1 00:05:52 Famous last words, Christy trusts coming in one day and we're doing a tick to out together. All right. And then the last one, one subject you'd like to learn more about, because of course we're a learning company. Yeah, Speaker 2 00:06:05 It's a really good, good question. Um, Michelle, I think about, you know, as the world becomes more technical, you know, one of the things that I've even been reflecting on is, I don't know whether I've kept up my own technical skills as fast as I should be. And I, and I'm starting to, uh, I don't know whether it's, I'm creeping into kind of bolder age, but I'm starting to feel like, you know, again, my ten-year-old is more comfortable with some technology than even I am. And so this is something that I really want to, uh, go refocus on this year and reprioritize, Speaker 1 00:06:39 All right, we can do that together. Cause you know what I've been feeling quite the same way. And by the way, I love this. I, I learned something new about you even in just that short period of time, but let's move on to this topic at hand, which, which kind of goes back to that last question. We want to talk about our lean into learning report, which revealed a lot. I think about the learning landscape and its role in workforce transformation over the past year. And I think we, we recognize these are critical times for businesses, right? A recent study from Deloitte published in fortune found that nearly three out of four corporate CEOs view the labor shortage as the top external issue they're facing. And additionally, that same study found that the U S is down approximately 5 million workers from pre pandemic levels. So Christie in an age where we might be seeing a new type of worker, where is where there might be less a sense of duty, more of a need for opportunity and fulfillment, what are we going to do to attract and retain our best talent? Speaker 2 00:07:44 Oh wow. Michelle, that's a, it's a, that's a big question. I think if I started with, you know, let's look at kind of where employees are today, you know, we know employees are reassessing their priorities when it comes to their career. You know, we hear kind of over and over again, the tag phrase of the great resignation and you know, I know other people are interpreting that different with the great contemplation or, you know, kind of the great kind of career of awakening, but there's these taglines out in the media. And I think it just kind of is a reflection of the way today's employees are thinking, you know, we've got, you know, we're, we're coming kind of out of a pandemic. Hopefully the economy has been fantastic. We see digital transformation happening kind of faster and faster than ever creating jobs that didn't exist 10 years ago. Speaker 2 00:08:32 And so we see kind of, you know, and we see the next generation coming into the workforce, really focused on mission and purpose. And I think all of these dynamics are coming together and starting to redefine how we think about work, how we think about careers and the skills that we need in order to go move forward with that. So, and we also see kind of team, not even team members, but employees kind of in any company, you know, starting to make moves based upon that focus. So, you know, we know that, um, manpower has told us the 69% of employers, employers are struggling to fill positions and leaders across industries are feeling that pinch. So IDC tells us that digital transformation is it relates to the skill for digital transformation will affect 90% of organizations by 2025 skills gaps will cost more than 6.5 trillion globally. Speaker 2 00:09:31 Deloitte tells us that the skills gap in manufacturing can leave as many as 2.1 million jobs unfulfilled. We know from the national association of home builders and the survey that they just conducted, that 85% of construction firms expect their future cost and availability to be problematic due to the lack of skilled workers. So you have kind of like two different things going on. You've got the police thinking about what they want out of their careers in a different way. And then you have employers with these gaps on skills. And so I think as it becomes more challenging for employers to, to go hire those skills in the market, there's going to be a renewed focus on developing those skills in the employees that they have today. And I think that's where kind of, you know, the, what, when an employee wants out of an employer and what an employer needs can come together in a new way. Speaker 2 00:10:29 When we start to go articulate what is the skills that we need in our company and how do we go get employer employees, those skills. And for me, that strategy piece, and sorry if I'm going off too much on a tangent it's, it's no different to me than kind of the conversation that companies have been having about DEI in the last 10 years. Everybody knows it's a problem. Everybody is focused on solving that problem, but yet the progress has just been incremental. And I know what our DEI experts tell us. They tell us, you know, point solutions aren't going to work. There's going to be kind of a kind of systemic kind of end-to-end way companies have to approach this in order to go kind of create more diverse and more inclusive environments. It is no different than the skill, the skill issue everyone is talking about. Speaker 2 00:11:22 Re-skilling everyone is talking about moving from a, from two, a two state to state, but employers are still kind of stuck in the old paradigm of, well, I'm just going to go get someone the skill and, you know, the business result will be different. That is not happening. We've got to go think about skills in a totally different way. And I think, you know, when we do that, businesses will be more successful. And, and the, the team members who work for those kinds of companies will also continue to see growth and thus be more likely to be retained. So I think that's kind of the, the next part of the dialogue we've got to have across the HR community and, um, and you know, the, the leader community. Speaker 1 00:12:08 So I found that really interesting. Um, and in, in all of that, there was kind of an aha for me, Christie, which is if organizations want to attract and retain their best talent, which they do, they have to direct their attention to supporting their employees career growth and talent development. And that's something around career pathing, right? How do I ensure that not only you have the skills, but you know, that those skills are going to be valuable here and you want to stay here and, and in doing so, how do I, as an HR leader, as a line of business leader, become a champion of learning and make sure that the things you need to re skill and up-skill are available accessible, and, and that you have the ability as an employee to avail yourselves of all of that. That's not easy. That's an enterprise wide learning agenda. That prioritizes skill building. I can't imagine that's an easy lift. Speaker 2 00:13:09 No, it's not. It's not Michelle. And I think there's two parts to the way our business leaders need to approach this. The first is understanding kind of what is the skill and capability they need in the organization, not only for today, but for tomorrow, and what's the roadmap to go get there. And then there's a second part, which I think is emerging now more than ever in the workforce of today, but it's wonderful. Our people aspire to be. So I think for too long, you know, there was an assumption of every software engineer level. One wants to be a software engineer, level two, and, you know, nowhere was there a dialogue of what happens if that software engineer actually wants to be the COO of one day and how do we actually go help that person stay within our company, uh, but develop skills to meet their own aspiration. And so for me, that's an important new part of the dialogue that needs to happen in the employer employee relationship is to really kind of understand what are your, the aspirations of your team member. Because if you can't give them a path to how they can start to make progress against those aspirations, someone else will. And that's why we see, you know, some of this, this great resignation happening. Speaker 1 00:14:22 Yeah. You know, you, you reminded me of just like this amazing story. And I feel like I need to tell it. And I don't think she'll mind that I'm telling her story, but we have a woman on my team. They'll ward, she's been here over seven years here at Skillsoft. And when I started at the company, she ran graphic design. That's what she did. She was the creative director. And, you know, I think we, we realized and she realized that she wanted something different in her career. And fast forward two and a half years later, she is now a certified master running our PMO and like crushing it Kristy. Right? So, so when I think about what you just said, it's not just this abstract, theoretical thing. This can really happen. We can move people. We can give them new skills and upskill them to take on new careers that are exciting. Speaker 1 00:15:13 And, and that's where I get like super pumped. And, you know, when we look at this particular year's report, I think the urgency for this idea of upskilling is underscored by not just, you know, organizations like us, but bodies like the world economic forum and in their 2021 insight report upskilling for shared prosperity, they found that wide-scale scale investment in upskilling has the potential to boost GDP by 6.5 trillion with a T and lead to the net creation of millions of new jobs. Now I think though, this is all well and good, but it's going to move us into a new theme or the next theme as we talk about this year's report, which is really the future of work, because you can't talk about re-skilling and up-skilling, if you don't talk about where the workforce is moving and the model that is becoming more prevalent, which is hybrid the days of clocking and five days a week heading to an office and staying there eight plus hours, it's not a reality and it's not going to be making a return anytime soon. Speaker 1 00:16:22 And rather we've seen over the past year. And, and I think we've heard from our own customers that lots of companies either plan to shift to hybrid or fully remote, right. To meet employee demands for things that you talked about before, which are personal flexibility and autonomy, which means that companies have to help their workforce not only build the skills for success, but do so in a hybrid model. And I don't know if you know this, but in this particular report, the lean and learning report the second year in a row, our top Skillsoft aspire journey was virtual work in the new normal. So Christie, I want to hear your perspective on what you think organizations need to consider as they build out these hybrid work models to keep people connected, as well as the hybrid learning models to ensure that we can skill everyone. Speaker 2 00:17:11 The question one down I T I S now struggle with the word hybrid and what it actually means in, um, in this new world. And, you know, to me, you know, I think we've actually moved past hybrid. And we're now in this place where we understand, you know, employees want flexibility and flexibility is it's not like it's a better word. It's another kind of like big word subject to a lot of interpretation, but we know that, you know, as it relates to workplace, you know, many employees, uh, you know, the workplace, they have defined their workplace over the last two years. You know, we know many employees are looking for more control over kind of where work gets done. And we know when we see employers really moving towards this whole concept of, you know, work as an outcome and the workplace, you know, can be, can be more flexible depending upon the industry and the environment. Speaker 2 00:18:14 Um, and I would say that, you know, we know that not all jobs, you know, is it easy to go change workplace? You think about manufacturing, you think about kind of medical workers or, you know, police or fire, and those jobs where, you know, the workplace is, is tied to, or work is tied to a workplace. Um, but I think even in those types of roles, we're starting to see this concept of flexibility. And I was talking to a colleague of mine who leads HR for a manufacturing company. And, you know, though kind of many of their team members and employees are, are, you know, still kind of coming into the traditional workplace. They have started to think about flexibility in a new way. And so, you know, part of, one of the things that they've done is, you know, for, I think there's about 25 hours of training that's required for their team members, you know, as opposed to kind of having their, their manufacturing team members come in and sit in a room and, you know, go through, you know, digital training together. Speaker 2 00:19:16 They've given those, those team members, the ability for, for flexibility to do that 25 hours of training on their own time, you know, when, uh, when makes sense for them. So I think there's this whole concept of flexibility, even in those traditional roles where workplace and work are, are tied to each other. Um, so think about kind of what the hybrid learning model looks like. I'm reflecting on a conversation. I had a few weeks ago with, um, Katie Tynan, who's brilliant principal analyst from Forrester really specializing in the future of work. And, and she was part of, uh, of a speaking series that Skillsoft had, uh, had hosted. And so during that conversation, she brought out a few trends that they're seeing at Forrester that I thought were really interesting. You know, the first is this whole kind of concept around humanizing and personalizing the learning experience. Speaker 2 00:20:13 And, and for me kind of personalization is across a few, a few dimensions, and it goes back to some, you know, my earlier comments around, you know, not making an assumption that every team member's aspiration is the job that's immediately in front of them on the career ladder. It could be, you know, I always talk about kind of, you know, the career ladder has gone away now, it's almost like a bowl of spaghetti and you can go kind of follow that, that piece of spaghetti anywhere you want to go. But I think in the personalization of learning, I think there's another aspect to it, which is this assumption that, you know, all team members need the same exact, uh, learning, and they're all coming in with the same base level knowledge, uh, piece. And so I think the personalization is not just about the modality of learning or kind of translating and aspiration into a career path, but it's all about kind of, you know, where is the, where's the, the baseline of learning today within that individual and how do you actually go, go continue to grow that? Speaker 2 00:21:14 So I thought that part of the conversation was really interesting. The second thing that, that she said that, uh, you know, is, uh, is influencing learning methods. And we even see this within, within Skillsoft and the work that we're doing for our own clients, but you know, this whole reimagination of the classroom experience, I mean, think about kind of digital learning 10 years ago, it was, you know, a voice over PowerPoint, uh, you know, who is at the end. And I mean, it was painful and, and what the pandemic taught us as well, as, you know, it's not easy to go take kind of those traditional classroom learning experiences and just kind of pivot that into a digital learning experience, right? It's, it comes across kind of, you know, very different in a digital, digital learning and digital learning gives you the ability to go kind of put in a whole bunch of kind of new new media, you know, for, you know, really customized to the learner themselves. Speaker 2 00:22:14 Some people are visual learners, some people are, you know, more audio learners, some people, you know, like kind of mixed media and that really keeps interest levels. So, you know, I think the, the, the technology advances in digital learning from those days of voiceover IP, you know, have really like lended themselves to more personalized learning, meeting the learner where they are, uh, as well. And the final piece that she talked about was, um, this whole kind of concept of kind of agile and team-based, uh, collaborative learning experiences. And I'm going to go off on my, my, um, my soap box here, Michelle, I know you've heard this before, but as we kind of move into this new error as companies are, um, is companies are starting to kind of adopt flexibility and team members aren't together the way they used to be around the ping pong table or the water cooler, you know, every company is really kind of starting to think about what does collaboration look like? Speaker 2 00:23:19 What does connection look like? How do we stay connected to each other? And how do we stay connected to our company in a virtual world, in a digital world. And, you know, one of the ways to go do that in a really effective, impactful way is through social learning and putting team members on learning journeys together. And I think that's going to be a really important way that companies can really create those connection points with employees and help and help employees build relationships with each other. You have a relationship with someone when you have a relationship with your peers, with your manager, with your, you know, when you are embedded kind of in kind of your, your company. You're not going to go take that phone call that comes, you know, uh, you know, offering you a hundred dollars more to, you know, to move to a different company because you're loyal. And so it's all about building these relationships and finding ways to do that into the digital world. And I think development is going to be a great part of that conversation and way to do that. Speaker 1 00:24:19 Yeah. And as we, as we talk about this need to w what I'm hearing is, you know, invest in our people, build this culture of learning in the hybrid flexible workforce. Um, let's, let's talk for a moment about the skills themselves, because while we've discussed so far or what we've discussed, it, it demonstrates the mission critical need for up-skilling and re-skilling to prepare organizations for the future of work. I think the challenge still really lies in determining which roles require which skills, and then what competencies people need to develop to ensure that we are evolving our organizations, that we are thinking about what skills we need now, but also in the future. And so, as we looked at learning consumption data from this year's report, Christy, I guess maybe I'd ask you, what do you see as the top skills that organizations need to make an investment in? And, and then the second part, cause you know, I don't make this easy on anyone. How do organizations strive to stay ahead of what is really a rapidly evolving, shifting environment in which skills are constantly evolving? Speaker 2 00:25:42 Yeah, I guess I'd start kind of my answer with, with a few things. You know, we know that organizations are shifting their mindset towards learning because we see technology outpacing skills. We've talked about this for 10 years, technology outpacing skills, but like, you know, kind of the, uh, the future is here. The future is now we see technology outpacing skills. We see skills that were in the mans five years ago, six years ago are not in demand today. You know, we see kind of, um, roles that didn't exist 10 years ago. And if, you know, not only existing today, but, um, you know, but kind of continuing to kind of change even the, um, the skills needed within the roles themselves. So I'm thinking about things like, I don't know, social media, influencer, cloud architect, you know, telemedicine, uh, drone operator. I have, you know, technology has really changed and evolved and introduced, uh, these new, these new roles. Speaker 2 00:26:44 And we, we know what our customers are consuming in Percipio. So, you know, if we look at kind of what are our most consumed topics and what topics are most in demand, we know that it and technology related topics are most in demand. We know security is, is, uh, is something that we see our, our customers consuming agile development, but, you know, and, and, and there's also the kind of the soft skills that go along with that of, you know, what does unconscious bias look like? How do you build trust? So we kind of see these skills being consumed. We know roles are going to change, and we see that, you know, th the pace is, is fast. And so for me, it's going to be really confusing to be an employee and not, you know, if you don't understand this, if your company kind of, hasn't shared what evolution looks like in skill and is putting you on a path to go, actually be able to take advantage of that, you're going to be left behind, who wants to no one wants to be left behind. Speaker 2 00:27:48 So for me, the best employers out there are the ones that are communicating to their employees, making it really clear what the vision looks like even to the, to the best of knowledge that they know it, you know, no one can predict the future. Um, and really contextualizes life, certain skills are, are something that, you know, need to be built up for the capability of tomorrow and then providing the avenues and the opportunities for employees to go with elect and practice and put those skills to work. And so I think that's kind of the, uh, I guess the word of advice, word of advice, and the word of warning. I, you know, but like, that's kind of where this, this is all headed. And so, you know, the more thoughtful I think an employer is around the future and the more, the more that dialogue is happening internally, the better off the team members are going to be. Speaker 1 00:28:39 I think that's, I think that's great. And, you know, look, I've, I've loved our conversation. I love every one of our conversations. And, and I'm sorry, this one's going to be coming to an end shortly before we get to my favorite question, which is a question I ask everyone, um, I'm going to introduce something new into this particular episode, because I feel like it's really important that we share what we're learning. And I, I want to share with everyone out there, uh, Percipio course that I just took that I'm telling you mindblowing. And I know you're all gonna say, oh my gosh, what was it? What amazing course did you take? Michelle planning, meetings fit for purpose? And if I walk away with nothing else, it is that the one question I have to ask is, is this a meeting or is it an email? Speaker 1 00:29:25 And I will tell you that this particular course has shifted the way I think about meetings. And I am so grateful for it. And, you know, I think it's that kind of thing. When we can learn something that we can apply and it has value, oh my gosh, changer. So that's my one go out. Percipio planning, meetings fit for purpose. All right, Christie, I've got one final question for you. And it is one that I have asked every single one of my guests since we started the edge, but in the spirit of talking about the year 2021, we're going to adjust it a little bit for today's episode. Oh, and it's a three parter. So get ready. As we reflect on the past year, we have all had incredibly different experiences when it comes to the impact that 2021 has had on our lives. So in the spirit of this three parter first, what have you learned about yourself in 2021 second? How are you going to apply what you've learned in the flow of your work or life as we kick off 2022? And finally, what advice might you share with others based on what you've personally been learning and applying? So learned, applied and advice go, Speaker 2 00:30:43 Oh, Michelle. Okay. So here's what I would say. You know, so far this year, I'll go back to my earlier comments. I've learned that technology is outpacing my skillset, and I've got to actually focus on keeping up and, and being able to apply those skills, or I'm going to be left behind how I'm actually applying what I've learned. I have, I have signed up and subscribed to a few Percipio journeys on Excel, on PowerPoint, and, uh, I'm going to go rock those journeys. And, and I, in my advice would be, I'm going to give this out to kind of similar advice to two different audiences of listening right now, you know, as kind of all of us as employees in this kind of future of work that is now workplace, you know, really think about how you're keeping up with your skills and what are the best ways to actually go apply those skills. Speaker 2 00:31:35 You know, if you are in human resources or a leader role where you are responsible for, you know, helping to skill, and re-skill your, your team members, I would, I would say a couple of things. You know, one be really clear on what your strategy is and how you're going to go, uh, adopt that strategy. We don't want this to be a deep DEI redo over the last 10 years. And then finally, uh, I will, I will, uh, I thought it was a fascinating read for me as an HR professional, but the Skillsoft lean into learning report was amazing this year. And it's, you know, our own work. You know, I am thinking about with the lens of how I actually helped my own company, uh, with, uh, applying some of these learnings and, uh, you know, I would encourage anyone out there in an HR leadership role to do the same. So Michelle, this has been super fun. I hope I get invited back again. I'm going to become a regular guest on your show, but this has been fantastic. I really want to thank you. Speaker 1 00:32:39 Well, trust me, you will, you will be invited back for season three. I promise you that. And I agree with Kristy. If you haven't downloaded the lean into learning report, what are you waiting for? Go to You can find it there. And please, if you are just finishing this episode now, what do you want to do? Go to part two and listen to my conversation with Sherry Hicks, from train technologies. I promise you it will be just as fun and exciting, but to all of you out there, keep listening, keep learning and be well.

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