The futurist Alvin Toffler gave us a window into the modern world when he prophetically said: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
In an era where upskilling and reskilling have come to define the strategy of most businesses, Toffler's words could not be truer, as two prominent business leaders would attest.
Ching Hong Koh, CEO at Fujifilm Business Innovation, and DN Prasad, Senior Director - Strategy People and Organisation, at GovTech, graced People Matters' L&D APAC Conference C-Suite Conversation to shed light on lifelong learning as part of the "changing needs of L&D and how organisations should manage this paradigm shift".
The question for C-level executives, as Prasad pointed out, is how involved CEOs and other leaders are in making the shift to this paradigm of continuous learning. The secret, Koh responded, is engagement.
"What we have done is, we really intensified our engagement with our people not just through town halls or managers' communications and fireside chats, but also through socialisation at the team level," he said.
Engagement has different pillars: staff to the manager, staff to their own team, staff to outside teams, and then staff to the C-level.
After all, people who are engaged and connected to the corporate mission are also more likely to be motivated to learn, Koh explained.
The business of learning, therefore, isn't just "within the teams or between a manager and the team," Prasad added. "It's also across multiple units in the organisation and [about] using that to build on the intrinsic motivation of people to continue learning."
Fujifilm, for its part, is going through "not just digital transformation but the transformation of the business," Koh said. "One of the most interesting things about it is [the question of] how we bring our people along."
Koh said he asks his team: "Who within the organisation will move with the organisation towards the growth agenda? We want everyone.
"What do you think the future of work would be like five years from now? How can you change the way you're working? Not how the business is changing, but how your work is changing. When we know that, we can then put it in the architecture for future ERP [enterprise resource planning]."
Much like what the quote from Toffler suggests, Koh said: "We are still learning and innovating, and we are trying to cultivate a culture of learning for everyone."