Speaker 0 00:00:01 <inaudible>
Speaker 1 00:00:07 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. But this, this is different. This episode is one in a special five part series. We're going to be talking to five Skillsoft experts. Each of whom is going to share his or her predictions for the field of learning and development in 2021. Now, to look at the year ahead, you have to take into account what you've seen and experienced in the year. That's about to end and, Oh, wasn't this one, a doozy. I will say it started auspiciously for me. I actually broke my ankle on January 1st, but now let's come back to the industry because I think one thing that we've witnessed is that the learning industry looks a lot different than it did a year ago.
Speaker 1 00:00:59 And that's largely because of the pandemic. 2020 was tough. It was full of challenges. It was full of sacrifice and a whole bunch of stress. 2020 was a tough year full of challenges, sacrifice and stress. But I do believe it is important to look for the silver linings. Clearly 2020 has prompted so many of us to question norms, to rethink how we've always done things to grow as people and to speak up when events have called for it. So with 2021, just around the corner, it's imperative, that is champions for learning and growth that we build upon those silver linings and ask the important questions. Like what are the key learning trends that will define 20, 21 and how can organizations act upon them even more? How can we create inclusive, innovative, and safe environments that allow people to learn, grow, and gain access to opportunities? That's what we're going to unpack in these sessions. I hope you enjoy the series. In this episode, we're speaking with norm Ford vice president of compliance products for Skillsoft. Who's going to share his 20, 21 prediction focusing on emerging compliance trends, welcome dorm. How are you
Speaker 2 00:02:21 Doing well? Doing well? How about you, Michelle?
Speaker 1 00:02:23 No, I'm good. And you know, it, it's, it's been a while since we've spoken, but the one thing that I realized is that for us, we've never met in person. So I think we've only communicated via video. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:02:36 Yeah. You're exactly right. In fact, there's a lot of people at Skillsoft that I have not met in person, just because of what's going on in the world today with COVID. But I see people, I see their homes, which is kind of new for me, but I've not met them in person, which is kind of strange. I mean, think about it.
Speaker 1 00:02:52 I know, I know. So before we dive into predictions, why don't you tell our audience a little bit about yourself and also your role at Skillsoft? I think they're going to find it fascinating. Sure.
Speaker 2 00:03:03 Just real quick. Um, I have over three decades of experience in compliance in both the government and commercial sectors. I was co-founder of one of the first online compliance training companies. It was a go train.net, uh, back in 1998 and here at Skillsoft, um, uh, the VP of compliance products.
Speaker 1 00:03:24 So when, when we talk about compliance, it's not just one thing, right? Nor I'm. So maybe you could just give our audience a little bit of insight into what does compliance comprise
Speaker 2 00:03:35 For Skillsoft. We define compliance in two broad areas. Uh, first of all, it's safety and health. Uh, those, those requirements, uh, governed by OSHA EPA, uh, primary transportation. And then the other side of the house would be our legal compliance. So things you're very familiar with like, uh, anti harassment, antitrust business compliance, ethics code of conduct, those kinds of things.
Speaker 1 00:03:59 Thank you. I think that's, I think that's really helpful. So I guess the question is when we, when we talk about your 20, 21 predictions, certainly every single one of these areas has been top of mind for organizations, for their leaders, whether it's a chief risk officer, whether it is a chief human resources officer, whether it is the CEO who is thinking about these things, what is it that you are predicting for 2021 in the area of compliance and what do our listeners really need to be thinking about right now?
Speaker 2 00:04:33 I, you know, for compliance people, it really is one of the most important things is predicting risk. That's what we do. We, we try to understand what risks, uh, are, are, are likely to occur to our business, our people and the people in our organization. And for me, um, I can't think of a greater risk to the two people in business in 2021 then continued volatility. Um, uh, change in volatility will definitely strain our systems and our staff. Um, and, and I think that's probably going to present the greatest risks. Now, what, what drives that change in volatility are some things that probably a lot of folks are familiar with. It's things like, you know, climate change, uh, challenges to our supply chain, uh, emerging technology, believe it or not is, is a huge concern. Uh, that could be a disruptor. Uh, it could, it could cause, um, definitely concerns with our employees and our, and our talent base.
Speaker 2 00:05:38 So I think, I think again, uh, volatility is probably the biggest risk to the organization and which is, you know, I'll just say, which is kind of, um, scary when you think about, you know, what 2020 has done to us and, you know, 2020 has redefined the workplace, uh, to, to a great extent. And a lot of people are thinking, well, hopefully 20, 21 is not going to be another 2020, but you know, I have to believe that that we're going to continue to see change in, in 2021. And it may not be due to a pandemic, but certainly there are a lot of things on the horizon that are going to, they're going to be a challenge for us.
Speaker 1 00:06:16 I mean, you know, one of the things that, that we know, so many people are still working in a remote environment, right? So many organizations have not sent their workforces back. And so, I mean, I think of that as just massive change. Yes. Maybe we have, um, maybe we have enough of the population vaccinated. Maybe we are sending people back, but do we expect, for example, that, you know, returning to work, returning to a workplace, um, is actually going to be a good thing. Is it going to pose more challenges? Are we going to see more requirements, particularly as we have to now teach and train people, perhaps new technologies or how to enter the workplace safely?
Speaker 2 00:06:59 Well, I think there's two things there. One is, I don't think that, um, in 2021 is going to be what it was like in 2019, for example, I think there's probably going to be a situation where it's more of a hybrid based approach. I don't think there's going to be this mass, uh, return to the office as we've seen in the past. And, and even those folks that returned to the office, I think to your point, I think there's going to be a change, uh, with regard to that, I'll mention a few things regarding this, this new hybrid environment, um, because it drives a lot of the risks that we're looking at now. Uh, two of the big risks that we want are around privacy, uh, and cybersecurity, privacy, concern, cyber secure, cyber security concerns. I think we'll kick into very high gear in 2021.
Speaker 2 00:07:54 We're already starting to see, well, we've already seen, you know, new regulations, uh, around the world that impact the way we do business. Uh, the California just recently passed and, and, um, and the recent election prop 24, the California privacy rights act, which is an amendment to the California consumer privacy act, which I think is just the tip of the iceberg. I think what we're going to see across the country at the very least at the state level, perhaps even at the federal level, increased regulation around privacy and information security. Now, what that does is it is it impacts business in a way that, uh, impacts not only the equipment, but the systems and the processes they use to control P uh, PII, uh, uh, important data that the, that the company manages. Uh, and then also making sure that the employees are trained on how to best manage data and to comply with these new and emerging regulations.
Speaker 2 00:08:53 So that's one big issue, um, is these new privacy and cybersecurity. And I also think on the cybersecurity side of what we're going to see is, you know, increased cyber threats from around the world. Uh, and, and, and they're getting more and more creative. And I think we need to prepare our employees because that's the weakest link in our, in, in any company is an employee, uh, responding to these threats. The other part of it is, you know, in this new environment, this kind of semi hydro hybrid environment, what we are seeing just this year is actually a 22% increase in inappropriate communications and conduct on messaging platforms. To me, that's usually significant.
Speaker 1 00:09:36 Wow. Okay. Hold on. Just say that again. Cause that's actually incredible. Right? So,
Speaker 2 00:09:43 Uh, 22%, we, we, we did a recent study, uh, of, of some organizations. And what we found was 22% of these organizations said that they saw an increase in inappropriate communication or conduct while on messaging platforms. And if you think about it, you know, as I said earlier, you know, you're, you're, you're doing business inside your home and there's a certain level of comfort and informality associated with that type of environment. And a lot of us don't really realize that, you know, we, we are inviting folks into our home to conduct business and the same rules should apply, uh, as in is in the workplace, is in the office as they do in this virtual environment. And unfortunately, what we're seeing is a lot of, uh, employees are becoming just a little lax in their communication and being just a little inappropriate. And so that's a concern for a lot of organizations in, in managing that.
Speaker 1 00:10:38 So norm, are you telling me that perhaps we need to rethink, and perhaps re-imagine what our anti harassment training looks like now that we are operating in this very different.
Speaker 2 00:10:52 I think it's, you know, the same requirements still apply. The same practices still apply. I, it really is about communication and, and how we communicate expectations to our employees. It's, you know, right now, you know, what the pandemic has shown us is it's caught a lot of folks flat-footed, um, they're not prepared to, to work in this new environment. And, and so things like, you know, you can harass someone just as easily. You can mistreat someone just as easily on a virtual platform as you can in person. Uh, and, and a lot of organizations still realize that it's difficult sometimes to report harassment in a virtual situation, when you're working from home, how do you report harassment? Can you go walk up to your supervisor, shut the door, and have a very candid and personal conversation with your supervisor or with HR. That's, that's gone for a lot of folks. So how do they, how do they do that? How do they, how do they get that support? And I think those kinds of things, when we talk about harassment training and re-imagine harassment training, I think it really is about pivoting and adapting more than anything. And making sure that, that, uh, we support our employees in this new normal, uh, so that they can best, uh, work comfortably and safely.
Speaker 1 00:12:17 If you were to give organizations leaders right now, one piece of advice as we head into 2021, one thing that they could be doing right now to act upon your prediction, um, what would it be?
Speaker 2 00:12:31 It's hard, it's a compliance first. Does that come up with one panacea? I think, I think there's probably three big bullets. One is focusing on your talent, you know, focusing on, um, finding, keeping and growing and nurturing your current talent. Um, I think that's huge because you know, and an area of change, your talent is going to be coming and going, and you need to make sure that you take care of your talent to best put your, your organization in a very, uh, in a very safe place. Communication and training are huge. That's when you know, a lot of people look at training a little differently than I tend to look at training. I look at training as the way that an organization communicates its expectations to its staff. Now, I'm talking about compliance training, of course, right. You know, this is the way that an organization can say, here's, here's my, here's my belief of your expected behavior or here. Here's why I expect your behavior to be like, to be safe, to be healthy and to be respectful of others. And so I think, I think those are the key things that employers should look at talent communication training,
Speaker 1 00:13:41 But love it. Thank you so much norm for joining us. Pleasure. Thanks for having me. And there you have it. One of the five predictions that will shape and define the field of learning and development in 2021. Boy, I can't wait to see how this unfolds and I encourage you to check out the other four predictions in our special edition series of the edge podcast. I'd like to thank our Skillsoft guests for taking the time to join me here today and share their visions and to our listeners. Thank you for tuning into this. And every episode as we unleash our edge together on behalf of the entire Skillsoft team, we encourage you to keep learning and keep growing. And in light of our conversation today, look ahead to 2021. Think about these predictions and make a game plan for how you're going to contribute to a new game changing era for the learning and development field. I'm Michelle BB. This is the edge
Speaker 3 00:14:34 <inaudible>.