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About LAS

LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally. 

Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.

About Tess Robinson

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Tess is a director of LAS. She has worked in a learning environment for over fifteen years. First, as a senior manager in universities, moving into digital learning seven years ago.

Is learning the key to success in an uncertain world?

By Tess Robinson
Posted 8 December 2017

Four The world feels somewhat unstable in 2017. Whether it’s Trump and Kim Jong-un trading schoolboy insults, the rise of populism in the West, decreases in global cooperation, ongoing lengthy conflicts, extreme weather events or the pace of technological change disrupting labour markets* - the VUCA acronym (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) has never felt more apt. This is not to say, however, that all is lost. The organisations that will survive and prosper are those who are well-prepared for change and who can focus on it positively. 

Getting learning right facilitates agility. The importance of this cannot be overstated in uncertain times. Business agility can provide enormous competitive advantage. It’s all about being flexible; being able to adjust to changes in the environment, being able to predict, adapt and respond to whatever challenges are presented quickly without losing your balance. In this VUCA world, agility is no longer a choice but a necessity. Failure to be agile and to seek opportunities in changes, will result in being left in the competition’s dust.

The real key to successful change, of course, is people. In uncertain times, learning takes on new significance in terms of helping people adapt to new roles or new ways of working and giving them the skills they need to be successful. Investing in the development of your people also shows them that they are valued and makes them more likely to stay with you. This positive message can relieve the stress of insecurity and help focus them on the organisational goals and the tasks in hand. So what does this learning look like?

1. Learning which helps people become more agile works best if it is itself agile. This is not the time for lengthy modules, but for bite-sized learning that is produced quickly and updated easily, in order to respond to changing conditions. Digital learning is ideal, as time out of the business is minimised and it is more cost-effective to deliver than F2F learning.

2. The bite-sized learning must be closely aligned to organisation goals. Learning can play a key role in communicating these goals and galvanising people to work towards them.

3. Give people the opportunity to collaborate, learn from and support each other. You’ll weather the storm better if everyone pulls together as a team and builds on each others strengths.

4. Look to your leadership team, not only as visible sponsors of the learning, but also help them strengthen their skills. Good leaders become even more important in times of change.

Clarity of job expectations, personal development, feedback, communication and relationships are all important drivers of employee engagement. All of these things can be enhanced or reinforced through learning. Engaged employees have been found to be up to 43%** more productive and 87%*** less likely to leave their organisation. So yes, learning is the key to success in an uncertain world - greater productivity, agility, a positive, goal-driven attitude and being able to hold on to your best people is exactly what is needed in a VUCA world.

*http://reports.weforum.org/global-risks- 2017/ **Lockwood, Nancy R. "Leveraging Employee Engagement for Competitive Advantage: HR's Strategic Role." HRMagazine Mar. 2007: 1-11. SearchSpot. ABI/INFORM Global (PQ). McIntyre Library, Eau Claire. 22 Apr. 2007 ***"Employee Commitment Remains Unchanged....". Watson Wyatt Worldwide. 2002. Retrieved 2006-11- 07.
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