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How can we emerge stronger at the workplace?

The twin events of the pandemic recession and digital transformation have severely impacted the landscape of the global labor market. Owing to these twin forces, organizations have created multiple opportunities for their employees to reskill and upskill.

According to LinkedIn’s Future of Talent Report 2021, 86% of companies in the Asia Pacific region have a dedicated training program to aid their employees in learning new skills. The report also revealed that 58% of companies saw human resources lead in training their employees.

The workplace has evolved into a significant source of learning where knowledge and skills can be acquired. That being said, how can organization create an effective culture of learning at the workplace? Can we strive for constant improvement to meet the needs in knowledge and skills production and delivery?

These were some of the questions addressed at the recent “Emerging stronger through learning at the workplace: Challenges and Opportunities” webinar hosted by the National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning (NACE), Human Resources and Finance Community (HRFC), LEARNTech Asia, together with speakers from Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), and Metropolis Security Systems (Metropolis). 

Panel of experts: Mr. Tan Guo Qiang (Metropolis), Dr. Phua Chee Teck (NACE), Mr. Alvin Lee (Metropolis), Mr. Edwin Lye (SNEF), Ms. Peggy Lim (SSG), and Mr. Daniel Chew (Metropolis). Moderators: Mr. Lawrence (HRFC), Ms. Sau Fong (LEARNTech Asia), and Mr. Ganesh (WSG).

National Workplace Learning Framework 

A champion for workplace learning, NACE is a strategic partnership between Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and SSG and was established in July 2018 to assist organizations in Singapore to build competencies through workplace learning. 

NACE, led by NYP, believes that a culture of learning at the workplace can provide organizations with the competitive advantage they need to support business sustainability, growth, and strategies. 

NACE developed the workplace learning framework, adapted from Germany. SSG adopted this framework as the National Workplace Learning Framework. Organizations can use this framework to retain and build competencies for business and employee growth. According to Dr. Phua Chee Teck, Director of NACE, developing an intentional relationship between employer and employees provides organizations with the opportunity to better understand the needs and expectations of their employees to retain and build competencies. 

Alvin Lee, General Manager, and Tan GuoQiang, Head of Training Department of the Metropolis Security Systems, shared their journey with NACE to adopt the National Workplace Learning Framework to support business growth. As a result, by re-architecting their workplace learning actions to support employee engagement, their employee turnover rate dropped from the industry norm of 40% to 12% per year over six months. This is an achievement that has allowed Metropolis to retain competencies and support business continuity. 

Need-driven Learning 

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Education (MOE). It drives and coordinates the implementation of the national SkillsFuture movement, promotes culture and a holistic system of lifelong learning through the pursuit of skills mastery, and strengthens the ecosystem of quality education and training in Singapore. 

Peggy Lim, Director Enterprise Engagement Office of SSG, shared that the most effective forms of learning are need-driven rather than fund-driven. Using the example of Metropolis, Peggy shared that employers can encourage employees to constantly improve themselves and acquire new skills and knowledge through reskilling and upskilling opportunities based on business needs. With the right intent, support will present itself along the way. 

Intentional learning at the workplace can be effectively cultivated if organizations are willing to empower their employees to unleash their potential and explore their interests. By doing so, organizations like Metropolis can ensure talent optimization and employee retention. 

Business Continuity 

Established in 1980, SNEF is an amalgamation of the Singapore Employers Federation and the National Employers Council. Its mission is to enhance labor market flexibility to enable employers to develop a sustainable and competitive workforce through training programs. 

Additionally, Edwin Lye, Group Director, Industrial Relations and Workplace Partnerships of SNEF, highlighted that employers need to be more involved in the reskilling and upskilling of their businesses to thrive in the post-pandemic world. 

For instance, Tan and Lee shared that when Metropolis implemented the key workplace learning actions NACE had identified, they observed a significant change in their business retention. In addition, their decision to prioritize intentional employee and client engagement saw their security guards evolve into the first point of contact for the company’s current and future clients. They were also able to retain 100% of their business projects instead of the initial 12%. 

NACE’s methodology to pivot workplace learning around business and competency growth with employee engagements, supports business continuity where employers such as SNEF’s members and Metropolis take ownership on reskilling and upskilling to emerge stronger in the post-pandemic era. 

The insights shared by the panel of experts at this webinar proves that “traditional classroom training is not sufficient, skills development at the workplace are important.” Hence, organizations must prioritize need-driven learning at the workplace to continue their growth and emerge stronger to meet the demands of the new normal. 

LEARNTech Asia
LEARNTech Asia
LEARNTech Asia showcases innovation in learning in Asia. We feature stories and resources in online learning, workplace learning, adult education, EdTech, and creative solutions by teachers and trainers in learning institutions, non-profits, and enterprises that enhance human capacity and inspire communities of lifelong learners.