What You May Have Missed at FWD 2022

Last week, thousands of business and learning leaders around the world gathered virtually for our FWD 2022 event. Attendees walked away with actionable insights and a renewed sense of purpose as they continue to navigate the evolving world of work.

Udemy’s Chief Learning Officer, Melissa Daimler, started things off with a discussion about how culture is integral to  what hybrid employees are learning at work. We brought L&D leaders from Intuit, Ernst & Young, and Randstad together for a panel where they discussed the positive impacts of implementing modern learning programs in their workforces. Josh Bersin, global HR industry analyst, hosted a session on the importance of growth in the flow of work. Prasad Gune, Senior VP of Product at Udemy explained how Udemy Business empowers organizations to build agile, future-ready talent at all levels of your business. And Mark Pollock, international leadership and motivational speaker, hosted an inspiring talk on leading through crisis and how leaders can help people develop the intrinsic motivation to move forward.

Couldn’t attend the live event? Here’s a rundown of the key themes that attendees were most excited about during the sessions. 

A focus on skills

During the panel discussion, Lead with Skilling & Inspiration – A Success Map for 2023, there was a lot of buzz from audience members around the shift to hiring for skills versus other qualifications, like industry experience. According to L&D industry leaders and Udemy customers Humera Shahid of Intuit, Melinda Randolph of Randstad, and Brenda Sugrue of Ernst & Young, many companies today are recruiting for skills and using skills to map people to roles. Some companies have even switched from job role hiring to hiring for skills pools. According to the panelists, skills are the new currency of the labor market, which is why it’s become so important to focus L&D on building skills. Members of our live audience echoed these sentiments in the chat, with a lot of discussion specifically around the idea of using skills pools in future hiring practices. 

Leadership skills are learned

Another theme that resonated with FWD attendees was the importance of developing leadership skills within an organization. Panelists in the Lead with Skilling & Inspiration session discussed how organizations need to be intentional about what leadership skills they need and how they go about developing their employees to meet those needs. Having uncomfortable or difficult conversations was one example of a leadership skill that audience members agreed is especially crucial to organizations and a skill that can be learned. We saw lots of positive reactions in the chat box around the importance of developing emotional intelligence in leaders and navigating manager-employee relationships with skills that can be learned through quality leadership development programs. 

Making time for learning

We know how important learning programs are for organizations, but how can employees prioritize time for learning, especially when the majority of the workforce says it’s working harder now than before the pandemic? This topic was brought up during the L&D customer panel discussion, and was presented as another skill that could be learned. Time management and organizational tactics to help employees do their jobs efficiently, along with stress management techniques, were discussed as crucial soft skills that create resilience in a workplace. Audience members agreed that making time for learning is a top priority and that employees at their organizations have worked on developing their time management skills for this very reason.

The importance of growth opportunities 

During Josh Bersin’s session, The Great Shift for Learning: Growth in the Flow of Work, his emphasis on growth was well received by attendees. According to a study he published recently, growth of individuals, jobs, roles, and skills are setting the agenda in L&D. Technology is advancing quickly and companies are changing because of it, so upskilling and reskilling need to be an essential part of L&D. According to Bersin, it’s critical for L&D leaders to be part of this reinvention and facilitate learning solutions that fit into the flow of work and align with the jobs that are being created. As one audience member put it, Bersin’s session “really spoke to succession planning, internal mobility, and growth — so incredibly helpful.”

How L&D has evolved

Learning programs and professional development have come a long way in the last two decades. In Josh Bersin’s session, he discussed how, in the early days of e-learning, there was an effort to basically replicate the classroom experience. This approach turned out to be unengaging, slow, and expensive. Learning management systems then came into play in the early 2000s, and were aligned to competency models. These systems would quickly become irrelevant as companies changed. The industry realized that digital learning, which allows employees to learn in the flow of work, was a more effective, scalable, and up-to-date way to go about learning and professional development within organizations. Attendees of the session agreed that structured, modern learning programs are the best approach to keep employees engaged and encourage them to take the time to develop their skills.  

Did you miss FWD 2022 live? Dig more into these topics by watching the event on-demand here.

The need for constant upskilling and reskilling has never been more critical and we’re excited to offer HR and L&D leaders additional resources to help them quickly address skills gaps to continue driving positive business outcomes through our collaboration with the world-class instructors at RBL.
Cody Crnkovich
Vice President of Partners & Business Development at Udemy

We’re your strategic learning partner to help move skills forward