Categories
Who

Is the Skills Debate Academic?

Is the Skills Debate Academic?

Employers are always on the lookout for prospective hires with skills for the job at hand, and have potential to grow into larger roles.

Unfortunately information is asymmetric, and it’s not easy to know ex ante who in our applicant pool are adequately-skilled, and who are insufficiently so. Some hires will fit well and do the job. Others won’t. That’s the risk we take.

Here’s something I’m starting to think about… isn’t hiring similar to investing?

It is hard to consistently generate alpha in markets. In fact, investment disclaimers tell us that ‘past history is not indicative of future performance’. Yet we do the very opposite for hiring!

Pedigree is not a precursor of performance.

I am starting to wonder if for hiring, instead of attempting to pick ‘alphas’, we can consider building a team of ‘betas’ that are coachable.

Hirers never truly know. There are no sure-wins. In professional football, not even ‘proven winners’ like Jose Mourinho could do the job at Tottenham Hotspur, while then-unproven upstarts like Mauricio Pochettino outperformed and brought 4 years of Champions League to North London.

Is Skills-based Hiring a myth?

LinkedIn recently announced “Skills Path“, a pilot skills-based hiring programme, supported by Singapore’s National Jobs Council.

The topic of skills-based hiring is not new and comes up every few years. In fact, I co-wrote an opinion piece on this topic 3 years ago:

LinkedIn’s announcement checks all the boxes. Unfortunately it doesn’t move the needle. There is a grand total of 8 companies under the programme offering a mere 6 job roles: customer service, data analyst, project manager, recruiter, supply chain coordinator and sales development.

To be fair, this initiative is a pilot. I fully support starting small, tracking the data, and if it looks like it works, scaling up only then.

As what I co-wrote above (and the LinkedIn initiative postures), the hope is for hirers to look past academic qualifications as a non-negotiable filtering tool for prospective candidates.

Otherwise, no matter what is said and done, incentives will drive behaviour, and every rational student will pursue the degree, because non-graduates continue to be disadvantaged at the hiring gate, and for career advancement.

incentives drive behaviour

Should we NOT try to pick winners?

Hiring well is crucial for every organisation. It’s also exceedingly-hard to do well, for reasons discussed above.

Which is why there’s so much money being spent on good hiring solutions, and much innovation in this space. The Singapore HRTech Market Map (brought to you by hrtech.sg & Adrian Tan) lists the different companies providing solutions for your organisation’s Talent Acquisition needs.

I wonder if we could take a different approach, and look further down the employee journey. I’m referring to the Talent Development area, where ArcLab has some track record (irony intended).

Since it’s so hard to bet on winners when hiring, could we adopt a more “portfolio” approach, especially if we are a large organisation. This means not optimising for the perfect ‘alpha’ candidate, since he/she does not exist. Rather, we do a few things to attract the ‘beta’ candidates:

  • Properly profile job requirements & packages. No ‘padding’, no ‘undercutting’
  • Set a minimum bar for the candidate. Everyone who meets this gets an interview (virtual or otherwise), which is more to assess team fit. Involve the team in the interview and give everyone an equal vote.
  • Suss out open-mindedness and ‘train-ability’. Look for evidences of picking up new skills and applying them.
  • Where possible, consider a work trial for demonstration of competency, softer skills and fit with potential colleagues.

Hiring a team of ‘betas’ means we don’t go all out to find Ivy League graduates. It means we put in place an exceptional learning & development programme, because we know that investing in our workforce gives our organisation the best chance of success.

Since people are the lifeblood of our organisations, we should put our money where our most important assets are, and invest in them, through training them to be the best professional that they can be.

The best part of this approach is, by hiring coachable people who have not yet been ‘proven winners’, we hire humble people, who are not afraid to admit they don’t know. They are then able to learn what’s needed to do their job so the organisation (and they) succeed. And when business requirements change, they change accordingly.

That means continuous, bite-sized training. Because no longer do we study for the first 10-20 years of our life and work for the rest. We study for a basic minimum, and keep learning as we work.

I submit to you that this is one good way for an organisation to succeed.

We’re building that sort of organisation at ArcLab, and helping many companies build theirs.

Can we help your organisation build yours?

Categories
Why

Higher Wages. At What Cost?

Higher wages. At what cost?

A few years ago, our girls’ kindergarten informed parents they would have to increase school fees, which had been kept the same for the previous 10 years.

We greatly appreciate the love, care and education our girls received from their kindergarten teachers, and believe the fee increase was justified. Otherwise, how could the kindergarten continue to pay competitive wages to hire and retain good teachers, of whom our girls were direct beneficiaries? Furthermore, having no fee increase for the previous 10 years in effect meant the school fees we paid had fallen year by year, when we take inflation into account.

We acknowledged the letter and agreed to the higher fees.

One parent was unhappy with the fee increase. The irony was this was a well-off family (I gathered this from watching the family roll up to the kindergarten in a Volvo most days). The parent started to canvas other parents to protest the kindergarten’s fee increase.

When the parent-in-question came round to us, we politely informed her: 

“It was unfair to expect OUR OWN WAGES to continually rise, but expect our kindergarten teachers’ wages (aka our costs) to remain unfairly low.

That was hypocritical, not to mention foolish; not paying market-level fees would only result in the school not being able to hire good teachers, and our children would be the ones losing out.”

I do not think we got through to that parent, who I don’t recall ever spoke to me again.

But I am thankful the fee increase went through, because it is fair to pay more for better goods and services, which our girls benefitted from. I am also grateful that we could afford that justifiable fee increase.

Higher Productivity for Higher Wages

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s 2021 National Day Rally announced a stronger thrust of support for lower-wage workers. These include:

  1. Extending Progressive Wages (essentially sector-specific minimum wages that rise annually) to more sectors and more occupations
  2. Requiring companies employing foreign workers to pay at least the Local Qualifying Salaries to ALL local staff
  3. Accrediting companies that pay all their workers Progressive Wages with a new “Progressive Wage” Mark (a new requirement to sell to the public sector)
  4. Lowering the qualifying age for Workfare Income Supplement from 35 to 30 (to help younger lower-wage workers)

These are significant steps, because (point 4 aside), the Singapore Government is now also looking at EMPLOYERS and CONSUMERS to foot the bill for the mandated-increased wages.

Paying higher wages to workers directly affects payroll costs for businesses. The higher costs might also be passed to customers in the form of higher prices, depending on the price elasticity of demand. That extra dollar must obviously come from somewhere.

Higher costs are not easy to bear, especially when many companies and many workers have been negatively-impacted by COVID. As a business ourselves, we understand it fully and feel it directly.

Higher wages for low productivity is unsustainable. The market will make sure of that. Neither is a race to the bottom for wages the way forward for Singapore.

Instead, what we must have is higher wages for higher productivity. This is the very mission statement of ArcLab:

Higher productivity only comes about with technological progress, more and better capital, and a better-trained workforce.

Higher productivity is a positive sum game for the business and for the worker, because output increases and/or quality improves. This means justifiably higher prices for goods and services, which funds the higher wages. Higher wages also means better spending power, which flows back to businesses.

The data speaks for itself:

Higher productivity simply makes good business sense.

Here, ArcLab comes in to support. 

Use ArcLab’s mobile learning SaaS platform to easily author, distribute and track training modules and digital SOPs for your workforce. The way that companies like Fei Siong Group, 4Fingers use our platform for.

Using ArcLab saves you training cost, cuts down training time, and helps your business do more with less. This means higher productivity and better bottom line.

The savings enables your business to pay better salaries to your workforce, who are then better taken care of, more highly-motivated, and have higher spending power too.

Singapore is taking our first step towards this virtuous cycle.

Higher Wages for a Better Economy. And a Better Society.

ArcLab is encouraged that societies are taking more concrete steps at addressing income (or rather opportunity)-inequality issues. That may be one of the silver linings of COVID-19, where we have newfound recognition for our frontline workers, many of whom are lower-income workers.

Yet more than inclusiveness, higher wages for higher productivity is simply good business, and a positive sum game for all.

ArcLab believes that’s the best way for our companies, our workers, and our society to succeed.

We’re building that sort of organisation at ArcLab, and helping many companies build theirs. Companies like Fei Siong Group, 4Fingers and many more.

Shall we help you build yours?

Categories
How

Doing the impossible: Equal training opportunities for all

Doing the impossible: Equal training opportunities for all

With remote work here to stay, at least while the pandemic continues, managers now face another daunting task: engaging and tracking the process of their employees.

A Gallup report on employee engagement shows that companies with a highly engaged workforce have 21% higher profitability. They also have 17% more productivity than companies with a disengaged workforce. So how do companies overcome one of the biggest HR challenges of the present?

Photo from Unsplash

Furthermore, with business operations being shifted online, managers are presented with another challenge — the increasing digital skills gap between the younger and older generation of workers. Many older generation workers lack the technological skills to successfully adapt to the changes in technological trends

It is now all the more crucial that managers leverage on their available resources to ensure no employee gets left behind while working remotely in the pandemic— the new employees who lack proper onboarding, or even the experienced, older employees who struggle to adapt to the shift from offline to online. 

Online training and employee polls are just examples of accessible technology available to companies. However, a recent poll by Gartner suggests that only 16% of companies leverage technology to track employee progress and engagement. Perhaps managers are also intimidated by the transition from traditional to online, or are unsure of where to get started?

ArcLab Training

We pride ourselves in giving ArcLab users the best remote training and learning experience possible. This is why we provide support for your workforce anytime, anywhere, in any language (yes, training modules can be created in other languages besides English!). More importantly, ArcLab is easily accessible to low skilled and the older generation of workers. While it is important to upskill your existing workforce, ensuring proper onboarding for new team members is also crucial to ease their transition into your company. ArcLab allows you to create different training modules to conduct your onboarding and training concurrently. Adapt your training materials to cater to the needs of your workforce and training goals. Check out ArcLab Discover to see how different businesses use ArcLab.

See how Fei Siong Group uses ArcLab while training their employees, most of whom are non-English speaking!

ArcLab Technology

With ArcLab, we can help smoothen this process. To streamline the transition process for new users, there is no software to install or download — not only is it user friendly, it does not take up any additional space in your computer database. For companies who are already in the process of transitioning online, ArcLab can even be used alongside any existing HRMS/ LMS. ArcLab’s interface is equipped with a wide variety of tools to help your company deliver training and performance support. Apart from the customisable designs and rich visual media, ArcLab also has a learner assessment and analytics function. Assess your employees’ understanding with the different assessment methods. Track their progress with the data we collate from your learners’ responses. Get to experience the ease of using technology for our low and affordable pricing.

ArcLab’s interface empowers you with a wide variety of tools

The transition from offline to online can be intimidating. Let ArcLab help smoothen that transition and start your journey with us now!

Categories
What

Discover ArcLab Discover

Discover ArcLab Discover

Not a typo 😀. We’re just excited to introduce ArcLab Discover 🧭

Since we launched ArcLab, we’ve had the privilege to empower organisations to easily create, distribute and track training.

Adopting a #Day1 mentality, we’ve listened to our customers and users as we grew (our thanks to each and every one of you) and shape our development roadmap. Responding to all your feedback, we keep working on ArcLab, improving platform stability and introducing features to help managers reduce time in creating & delivering modules to your workforce.

Discover ArcLab Discover

I’m excited to introduce ArcLab Discover, a collection of 40+ (and growing!) templates that span Learning & Development, Human Resources and Operations, in English & other languages that best suit your workforce.

Review templates for Training, Digital SOPs and HR use cases like EES etc. that suit your organisation’s needs. Remix them into your ArcLab Dashboard with the click of a button, saving you >50% of module creation time. Adapt the content to the specifics that fit your organisation or workforce.

View this module, or go to https://builder.arclab.io/discover

Building and contributing back to the community

We don’t take the credit for everything in ArcLab Discover.

Rather, we are grateful to tap on the wisdom of the ArcLab community, some of whom have made their modules public and given permission for us to “template-ise” modules for all ArcLab users to remix and use for your workforce.

I’m also glad to introduce a series of 6 complimentary Learning Modules by our friends at Business Academia, a consultancy who helps organisations and teams to diagnose, design, test and implements customer centric learning solutions and digital strategies led by design thinking and agility.

These learning modules are housed under their own menu tab in ArcLab Discover. Use them for your team’s learning, and contact Alina at Business Academia for more information.


Keep Discovering!

p/s ArcLab Discover is still in beta as we refine it to include upcoming improvements like industry/role-specific modules, favourites, ranking and others.

So let us know how you think ArcLab Discover can be improved for you, and what other templates or modules you wish to see in it, that can best support your workforce. Our goal as always is to keep solving your organisations’ problems, and remain useful to you.

We’re also happy to include any modules or templates that you might want to share with the ArcLab community. Simply send them to us via growth@arclab.io.

Thank you! 🙌

Categories
Why

Digital Transformation is for large firms only… NOT!

Digital Transformation is for large firms only… NOT!

Digitalisation is NOT expensive and is well within the reach of Small & Medium Businesses. This is how to start it for your organisation.

The best time to start digitalising was yesterday. The next best time is now | Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Lest some may think we can quickly revert to our pre-COVID lives, the virus’ mutations and continued spread suggest it will be with us for some time.

Globally, the South Asian COVID situation continues to cause concern. Closer to home, a significant increase in COVID cases led Malaysia to impose a 3rd Movement Control Order while Singapore regressed to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert).

As we gear up for tightened measures once again, one silver lining is that there has never been more support than ever for the adoption of digital, both at the individual level, and for businesses.

If your organisation hasn’t started digitalising your operations in one form or another to operate in the COVID-normal, there isn’t a better time to start. There are many different software in the market that are affordable and easy to adopt.

How to Go Digital today?

It’s important not to start with the technology, but go back to basics of what the tech solution is meant to address.

Here’s how we think about it:

  1. Start with the problem — Is there a change in the business environment that is hurting your revenue or cost base? e.g. Is my business unable to serve dine-in customers thus impacting my topline? Or, is there a work process that is being done manually today, resulting in slowness, inefficiency or lost data or opportunities?
  2. What might be needed to solve this problem? (Don’t think about technology or product yet — just the ‘thing’ or ‘ingredient’ you need to plug the gap in (1))
  3. “Google it” — Chances are, yours is not the only company facing the problem. This means that there is probably already a tech tool in the market that has being developed and is being used by companies like you to solve the same problems that you face. This also means there’s usually no need for your business to have a “customised solution built for you” (which is likely expensive and most probably an overkill).
  4. Fit the workflow. Speak to industry peers about their experience adopting the tech tool. If possible, ask for a referral to the tech provider. Or for self-serve SaaS like ArcLab, simply go to our landing page and sign up for a free account to try the free tier out.
  5. Start small. Use the tech platform’s free (or lowest-cost) tier to try the product functionality. Test if it solves your problem in (1). Junk it if it doesn’t. Scale up if it does.

If you follow these steps, you will find that digital transformation for your business is very much possible without huge upfront investment (hurray for SaaS platforms!), and not at at daunting.

Start Now

If you’ve been thinking of digitalising your business to stay relevant in our new COVID-normal world, there’s no better time to start.

Meanwhile, let us offer a few software suggestions for the office & HQs:

1. A list of productivity software for Remote Work from our friends at HR SaaS platform Talenox:

2. ArcLab’s own list of useful software which we use ourselves:

There’s tons more online. Just “Google” it.

Contrary to what Business Consultants and more conventional System Integrators might tell you, Digital Transformation does NOT have to be an expensive exercise for your organisation. Don’t be taken for a ride.


Funding Support for Singapore firms

These are unprecedented times. If your business really cannot afford even the lowest-cost software that you’ve validated your business’ need for, there ARE schemes available to help.

For example, if you’re a Singapore business, there’s also funding support for specific areas, e.g. the Food Delivery Booster Package and E-Commerce Booster Package. Do tap on them to bring your F&B and retail business into the COVID-normal operating environment.

At ArcLab, while our full software is not free (read about the downsides of free software) we’re committed to making our software affordable for all businesses.

Get in touch today at growth@arclab.io.

Categories
Why

Lessons from Lasso

Lessons from Lasso

The English Premier League (“EPL”) is the world’s most-watched professional football league. Manchester United and Liverpool have traditionally been the most well-followed EPL clubs, while younger/more recent fans may support Chelsea and Manchester City, whose billionaire-owners’ bankrolled spending had bought them relative success.

I support none of these clubs.

My choice was made many years ago, when a Tottenham Hotspur World Cup winner won me over. Thus began years of joy, and more often, heartache.

Years of joy, and more often, heartache. | Pic: Me

March-April is typically when Tottenham’s season falls apart. By then, we would usually have lost a League Cup quarter/semi-final, got knocked out of the FA Cup and Europe, plus a series of losses in the league to fall out of the Top 4.

2021 was no different — disaster in the League which started even earlier than usual (in January), bested by Everton in the FA Cup; and even a 2–0 1st leg lead in the Europa League Round of 16 wasn’t enough to get Spurs across the line.

The only saving grace was Tottenham miraculously qualifying for the League Cup Final, though ominously our opponents were EPL champions-elect Manchester City (more on that later).

Yet for all the heartache, Tottenham fans ‘come back’ season after season. “This season will be different” — as we always say.


I recently watched Ted Lasso on AppleTV+.

Ted is a fictional football coach from the US (not the football as we know globally, but the American kind), who gets hired to manage the fictitious EPL team Richmond FC despite having no experience whatsoever. OK, he did have a 1-day spell with Tottenham back in 2013… 😂

Ted Lasso brought some laughs in a year where COVID-19 impacted us all.

One scene in the series jumped out at me: where coach Ted counselled a player to “BE A GOLDFISH” after he made a bad move in training. The point that Ted referenced: a goldfish having a short memory of 10 seconds.

BE A GOLDFISH!

Being a “goldfish” for that footballer meant not dwelling on the mistake he just made, so his mind is free to continue playing the game well.

That’s not a bad philosophy, as long as one learns from that mistake.


When “Being a Goldfish” doesn’t quite work

In today’s digital age, some might say there’s not much point in building knowledge banks when Google ‘remembers’ everything for you. If we’re honest, most of our memories would in fact get worse, because we no longer need to train our brains to remember (we just “Google” when we need it).

But while useful for the footballer above, a short memory isn’t quite as useful in the context of learning and development.

In the workplace, we need to factor in short memories and attention spans, and rethink the way we train our workforce.

Especially in our COVID-normal world — where gathering staff in a room for 3-hour training sessions are no longer feasible (these were never that effective in the first place), we need to consider more effective delivery methods, built on the pedagogical framework of Nano Learning.

Nano Learning is learning that’s “just-enough, just-in-time, just-for-me”.

It’s a great way to onboard new staff, convey simple procedural knowledge and many more.

Another great use case we have seen is the creation of Digital Standard Operating Procedures (D-SOPs), such that staff have all the knowledge they need to do their jobs right in the palm of their hands.

We can’t run away from shortening memories and attention spans. But we CAN and SHOULD turn it to our favour, so that our workforce is continuously upskilled through effective bite-sized Nano Learning modules. To achieve more for our organisations.

Our team at ArcLab has made it easy for every organisation to get started. Right here: https://arclab.io

Home


Epilogue

In the final episode of “Ted Lasso”, AFC Richmond lost to “the mighty” Manchester City, and got relegated.

IRL — Tottenham Hotspur did the same thing, and lost the 2021 League Cup Final to Manchester City. For Spurs fans, it’s another season where early promise again faltered. Another season that wasn’t different. Another season where we came close to a trophy, but fell at the final hurdle. 😢

It has now been 13 years (& counting) since I was at Wembley celebrating Tottenham’s last League Cup title.

Yet since supporting Tottenham ISN’T about learning & development — being a ‘goldfish’ works for me as a fan. I (and my fellow Spurs fans) will undoubtedly return next season for more joy, and heartache.

🤞 Next season will be different. COYS.

Categories
How

Lives are at stake. Is your 100-slide WSH Powerpoint working?

Lives are at stake. Is your 100-slide WSH Powerpoint working?

There can be no compromise when it comes to safety training. Here’s how we make WSH training effective. PowerPoints optional.

In industries like construction, manufacturing etc. — there’s real risk or injury or death if proper safety procedures aren’t followed. How is your company conducting WSH training? | Photo by Yancy Min on Unsplash

When the average person’s attention span is supposedly under 10 seconds (less than a goldfish’s), no-one realistically believes we can pay full attention throughout a 2-hour lecture. Not even when the subject matter is as important as Workplace Safety and Health (“WSH”).

Yet many companies’ WSH trainings are 100-slide PowerPoints. How sure are we that staff are absorbing this important knowledge. Or even listening?!?

In industries like construction, manufacturing etc. — there’s real risk of injury or death if proper safety procedures aren’t followed.

So what can we do better to make sure that the training knowledge is effectively absorbed by our workforce so they can put it into practice?

Circle back to MOTIVATION

First and foremost, always emphasise to your staff that the reason that WSH training is necessary is to protect THEIR lives.

For example, how do we motivate staff to be trained to wear earplugs properly?

(i) Emphasise that learning how to wearing earplugs correctly greatly reduces the chance of noise-induced deafness, or Tinnitus disease (permanent ringing sound in the ears).

(ii) Show workers a video of the much more difficult the life of a hearing-impaired person using hearing aids.

(iii) Round it up by making it relevant for them. Emphasise that knowing the WSH measures and adhering to them means they can continue to be healthy, employed, and earn salaries to bring home for THEIR FAMILIES.

This first step is crucial, as it puts workers in the right frame of mind to receive their training.

Make Training Effective

Here are 4 simple steps that help you maximise your WSH training impact:

  1. Keep it short. Training shouldn’t be conducted in a 2-hour stretch. Nobody can pay attention for that long. So break them up into shorter segments as schedules permit.
  2. Use digital & multimedia for better learner engagement & knowledge retention. Create digital learning modules, and use simple pictures & infographics that often convey knowledge better than lots of text. Videos should also be used if resources permit (Lume5, which we use ourselves, is an example of affordable & easy-to-use video software).
  3. Build in interactivity & assessment. After knowledge has been conveyed, test retention with simple assessment quizzes, which can be multiple-choice or open-ended. This gives your organisation the data to work more with staff who need more help.
  4. Provide performance support. By making learning materials digital, these can now be housed in the cloud, readily accessible as Digital SOPs as-and-when your staff need it. A good time could be right before they start their construction project, to ensure they refresh all the WSH training knowledge, to keep themselves safe onsite.

Your workers are now able to absorb your important WSH training content in bite-sizes:

“Just-in-time, just-enough, just-for me”

You have certainty that they understand the material, and can help those who need a little more guidance.

Supervisors and foremen can then focus their attention on ensuring compliance, which should come automatically because workers know the importance of WHY they should comply, and are effectively trained on HOW to put into practice.


Create YOUR OWN effective WSH Training

WSH module built on ArcLab

We conclude by sharing a sample WSH module built on ArcLab’s mobile learning platform.

Feel free to try it out.

You can adapting it for your workforce simply by using ArcLab’s Remix feature.

Select from the different templates in ArcLab Discover, and remix them easily to fit your company’s branding, tone, messaging and specific training content.

Use ArcLab to easily distribute training to your workers via email or SMS, so they can easily consume the training.

Everything is made fuss-free and effective for you and your workers.

Because your workers’ safety & health are important. Their lives are at stake. If you need any help on how to start, drop us an email at growth@arclab.io.

Start saving lives today!

Categories
Why

Managing a Deskless Workforce to Success

Managing a Deskless Workforce to Success

Editor’s note: ArcLab works alongside Work Tech platforms to help businesses better manage workforces, improve staff performance to achieve more for the business, and digitally transform for the future.

We’re glad to co-author this article with Andy Schmidt, CEO of 6i Communication, the authorised reseller of Beekeeper, an easy-to-use, inclusive and engaging internal communication platform — to share how businesses can better manage a deskless workforce.

70–80% of the world’s workforce is ‘Deskless’ | Pic: 6i Communication

It is far too easy to forget about our frontline workers because we’ve “trained ourselves” not to see them every day. Take a guess how many percent of the global workforce do not have a desk?

70 to 80% of workers globally — at least 1.7 billion people — are “deskless” handling jobs that do not require (or allow for) sitting in place.

If that number surprises you, think about all the industries this includes: retail, grocery, healthcare, hospitality, foodservice, construction, manufacturing, logistics and utilities.

These frontline workers have unique job demands, volatile working schedules, demanding customers, long hours standing and little to no access to task-critical information.

Your frontliners should be of primary importance to the business, considering they are often customer facing and your brand ambassadors.

Let’s face it, we see their jobs as routine and low-skilled. For far too long frontline employees just frankly haven’t been treated that well by their employers, or even by society itself.

For 2021, we predict that this Deskless Workforce will undergo an Employee Experience investment renaissance as companies are increasingly recognising the impact technology has on boosting deskless worker productivity, engagement and job satisfaction.

That said, there are still gaps when it comes to giving them that technology they need to do their best work.

Frontline worker characteristics like higher fluctuation, no corporate emails and lower computer literacy widen these gaps further.

Here’s where a lot of companies go wrong — they give desk workers and frontline workers the same tools and basically say, “Make it work.” Don’t fall into this trap.

Because giving your frontline team a tool built for desktop workers is like giving a fisherman a baseball bat. It doesn’t do the job, and quite frankly, it ends up being more of a burden to carry around than a useful tool that makes their life easier.

Frontline workforces have different requirements

Your frontline workers have unique communication needs covering the wide range of linguistic and cultural diversity and therefore require a communication platform built for them.

What if there was a way to connect everyone, monitor engagement, give your valuable frontline employees a voice, share feedback, take fast action with management and run transparent communication campaigns with your entire workforce — on one platform, without sending a single email?

Meet them where they are. With a mobile-first internal communication App that acts as a one-stop shop comes with inline translation features and can integrate with HR, payroll, workforce as well as learning management tools.

The Beekeeper Employee digital hub becomes a place for people, for communications, for recognition, for content and commenting, conversation and collaboration. It can be the primary platform for providing and discussing the strategy — and even refining it. Leaders can communicate the vision, project managers can explain current initiatives, and line managers can get their teams involved.

Given the high cost of recruiting new employees, and the significant amount of employee turnover that exists in many deskless-heavy industries, companies would be wise to consider how better technology might help them improve their ability to attract, connect and retain deskless workers.

You too can transform business agility, alignment and service quality with a single point of contact for your frontline sheroes and heroes.

Download your guide today | Pic: 6i Communication

Effective Communication & Training. For Deskless Workforces.

We’ve just learnt about the Deskless Workforce and how their unique needs means companies cannot just provide a ‘desktop’ solution for employee communication. The same principles apply to workforce training, which is important if the business wants to do well.

Traditionally, training has been face-to-face and often time and labour-intensive, especially for onboarding and upskilling rank-and-file employees. We haven’t yet considered that training usually taking workers off the shopfloor, reducing productivity for the firm. Sometimes, as a result, firms skim on workforce training which isn’t a good thing for the organisation, because a poorly-trained workforce is often unproductive.

So the best organisations always invest in workforce training.

However, COVID-19 has made it now impossible to gather 1–200 people in a training room. Even with vaccination rollouts, it is unlikely that we revert to the pre-Covid normals. This means that organisations have to train the workforce more efficiently and effectively.

The way forward for workforce training is to leverage on the power of digital, and to stage out learning, through bite-sized modules, delivered directly to staff devices.

And remember that for the Deskless Workforce — there are no desktop computers or laptops to speak of. Hence, training needs to be designed with the smartphone as the core delivery platform.

Not all workforces can be managed the same | pic: 6i Communication

Moving training to the mobile space helps businesses to reduce time and cost needed for training. This effectively funds free headcount for the business, through the resource savings and productivity gains.

Importantly, mobile learning can bring great uptick for learner engagement, knowledge retention and most importantly, knowledge application. Some of these knowledge application metrics include — the drop in customer complaints, production errors etc, time spent on tasks. These are very tangible business objective metrics and provides a positive return on training investment.

Start Training your Deskless Workforce today | Pic: ArcLab

Do well, do good. For your Deskless Workforce.

This past year has given us a greater appreciation for the dedication and hard work of our frontline workers — our cleaners, transport workers, delivery and supply chain professionals, healthcare heroes and our educators. Virtually all of them are part of the Deskless Workforce.

70% of deskless workers surveyed report that more technology would help them do their jobs better. The parts of their work that they feel would benefit most from additional technology include communications, operations & logistics, onboarding, and training.

Frontline workers just plain deserve better — and they have for a long, long time. They deserve respect, transparency, and real access to economic mobility through professional advancement.

Most importantly, great businesses can only be built by great teams. It’s a win-win.

If you are a business employing a Deskless Workforce, let’s start doing better for them, and your business.

Get in touch with Beekeeper at andyg.schmidt@bkc.sg, and ArcLab at growth@arclab.io.

Pic: 6i Communication
Categories
Who

SUTD — Doing what it says on the box

SUTD — Doing what it says on the box

As a workplace learning edtech platform, ArcLab collaborates with our Institutes of Higher Learning (“IHL”), who nurture industry-ready students, e.g. I previously wrote about Singapore Polytechnic.

Today I’ll share about one of Singapore’s newer IHLs— Singapore University of Technology & Design (“SUTD”). Here are 3 SUTD stories we’ve privileged to be a part of.

SUTD: Where Tech & Design talent is nurtured | Pic: SUTD

“The Intern” — starring SUTD student Sylvia (& ArcLab)

In the depths of last April’s COVID-19 lockdown, I received an email from Sylvia, a mechanical engineering student from SUTD’s Engineering Product Development Pillar. Sylvia had just returned from her exchange programme in Silicon Valley.

As ArcLab is a Mobile Learning SaaS platform… we wouldn’t have much (tbh zero) mechanical engineering work for Sylvia to do 😅 . But Sylvia’s CV showcased various interesting design projects, she had strong interest in technology design & development and aspires to be an entrepreneur that improves the lives of others. Sylvia also built & included an ArcLab module of herself in her email (talk about impressing a prospective employer!). We Zoom-terviewed , and took Sylvia on as a UX/UI Design + Business intern.

Sylvia worked on a variety of projects for ArcLab. To quote from her internship report: “(she) worked on many feature designs, created a marketing sales pack, designed public education modules, and came up a plan to increase product virality”.

We incorporated several of Sylvia’s UX/UI Designs, e.g.:

(i) Unscramble — ArcLab’s newest Assessment Screen, used to test learners as a question midway between MCQ & OEQ difficulty levels. Sylvia’s design was improved upon by Estee (more about her beneath) when she implemented it.

(ii) OEQ Auto-Grading— Saving L&D managers & trainers hours in grading time. ArcLab’s grading engine takes care of everything, with results displayed automatically in our Learner Analytics dashboard.

ArcLab’s vision is to Upskill the World’s Deskless Workforce through building the World’s Simplest Learning System.

In ArcLab, there is no room for complexity, as it would get in the way of learning. Hence, great design always needs to be weaved in with our tech — so it is fuss-free and seamless to ArcLab’s users and learners.

Sylvia’s education in engineering intersected well with her interest and learning in design — she is what SUTD says on the box.

Subject: Sylvia! | Pic: Sylvia!

“Hidden Figures” — starring SUTD graduate Estee (& ArcLab)

Estee is an SUTD Information Systems, Technology & Design Honours Graduate, who worked with ArcLab as a Software Engineer under the SGUnited Traineeship scheme.

Estee had impressive work ethic and quickly hit the ground running to build ArcLab features and fix challenging bugs. Ever thoughtful about good design to help the user adopt ArcLab, she took it upon herself to design and implement ArcLab features. Essentially she played the role of UX/UI designer AND developer, which made the features she built intuitively usable for ArcLab users & learners.

ArcLab features that Estee helped build and design included:

(i) Unscramble assessment screen described above.

(ii) An upgraded Form Screen which ArcLab customers used for visitor registration (very useful during COVID-19).

(iii) The ArcLab Learner Dashboard, built specially for Deskless Workers.

Estee augmented Sylvia’s original design by looking further into the unique requirements and problems faced by a Deskless Worker who would otherwise been forced to use a feature-rich but clunky alternative LMS made for desktop, on their phones.

So Estee designed the ArcLab Learner Dashboard from the ground up, taking into account the above, and making the UX seamless for the learner, as well as for the L&D Manager / Trainer building and assigning modules to staff.

Estee also applied her experience from working in larger teams at GovTech in her previous internships, and took great initiative to propose good product and project management processes for the ArcLab team which we had just started to build last year.

We lapped them up and eagerly took them on board, ever-learning as we build the ArcLab core team.

Estee’s education in (and love for) Tech & Design empowered her with a great toolkit as she put her skills to good use helping us build ArcLab — She is exactly what SUTD says on the box.

ArcLab is grateful for the opportunity to work with Sylvia and Estee. We credit them both in our alumni list, acknowledging their role in building (and imprinting SUTD’s DNA into) ArcLab’s early foundations. They were also pleasant young ladies whom the team enjoyed working with. We’re honoured they chose to spend time working with us.

ArcLab Team lunch @ 4Fingers. Spot Estee! | Pic: Me

“The Office” — starring SUTD OD & HR team (& ArcLab)

ArcLab also has the privilege to count SUTD as one of our platform’s customers. We first met the forward-thinking and energetic OD & HR team of Adeline & Sharon in late-2019, before COVID became a word.

Already thinking ahead of workplace trends of that time, the SUTD OD & HR team looked into ArcLab as a way to easily onboard new staff and educate them on different aspects of the excellent organisation that they were joining.

Adeline & Sharon pushed the boundaries of our platform (we love power users like them), and we listen to their feedback as we continue to build out the ArcLab platform.

Looking back at the early days of ArcLab in 2019, we are grateful for how Adeline & Sharon used ArcLab, and generously helped us on our early prototypes with feedback and suggestions (fun fact: we incorporated Folder Sharing into the ArcLab Learner Dashboard after a conversation with them).

I’m humbled to end this story by sharing Adeline’s review of ArcLab on G2. We’ll keep working to continue to earn her (and your) trust, by making ArcLab better and better.

We remain as always, in #Day1.

https://www.g2.com/products/arclab/reviews/arclab-review-4526275


We’re grateful for the privilege to serve Singapore University of Technology & Design, one of Singapore’s youngest universities, and be part of their stories.

May SUTD continue to produce more Sylvias and more Estees — who are exactly what SUTD says on the box, and are instrumental in building impactful product that uplifts lives and livelihoods, as what ArcLab seeks to do — to Upskill the World’s Deskless Workforce.


Categories
How

How ArcLab uses ArcLab

How ArcLab uses ArcLab

I often get asked “How does ArcLab use ArcLab?”

Great question! We’re in the privileged position to share with you how we use ArcLab because…ahem, we built the tool (and continue to improve it as we receive feedback and iterate to solve customer needs).

Let’s walk you through how the ArcLab team uses ArcLab, and share some ideas on how you can stretch the limits of ArcLab to more easily & effectively train & support your workforce. Anytime, anywhere.

New Hire Onboarding & Training

We built ArcLab to empower organisations to easily create & distribute training. Naturally, we dogfood ArcLab for our team’s onboarding & training. 😎

New ArcLab-bers and interns receive a personalised link to an ArcLab module on their 1st day. The module walks through ArcLab’s vision & mission, introduces teammates and basic work processes. This particular link can be referenced again repeatedly so it serves as a reference in the early (or not so early) days.

Doing new hire onboarding via the ArcLab mobile learning module beats having clunky ring-folders dumped on the new hire’s desk with no context whatsoever on the SOPs or training. In fact, a well-onboarded staff through ArcLab can get up-to-speed to begin work within the same day, helping your organisation’s operations much more quickly.

See how simple it is to create your organisation’s own onboarding module on ArcLab.


Performance Support / Digital Manuals

No more clunky folders! ArcLab Performance Support Collection, personalised.

The onboarding module I talked about earlier is the new ArcLab-ber’s 1st digital manual.

As our organisation grows, more specific and targetted modules are getting created to document train team members. We call these Digital SOPs or Performance Support modules, which are used to support team members in their day-to-day work, as a reference guide. Hence — “Performance. Support”. They’re really useful as an SOP manual that’s always accessible on our phone (Say goodbye to bulky training manuals!).

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Performance Support modules aka Digital SOPs were of immense help to organisations who had to very quickly set up split teams and remote-work arrangements. ArcLab modules created by them, as well as by us (see ArcLab’s COVID-19 Mobile Resource Pack) helped workers thrust into unfamiliar working arrangements to set up their home workstations, and still have the resources (now digital) to do their work.

For ease of organisation, we group these Performance Support / Digital SOPs into folders right in the ArcLab dashboard, which are shared as a “Learner Dashboard” with specific groups of team members depending on job function. ArcLab-bers can then easily refer to their required modules when they need to reference or refresh their knowledge.

(One other Easter egg for you: I’ve converted several of our presentations from Powerpoint / Google Slides into ArcLab modules, which makes for much better presentations. E.g. this presentation for HR managers).


Digital Assessments

To help organisations to confirm staffs’ knowledge retention, we also built Assessment Screens like Multiple-Choice, Open-Ended Questions, Word Unscramble in the ArcLab platform (that’s for a start; we’re adding more!).

i.e., we use ArcLab modules to test and assess understanding of what had been trained before. Learner performance is then immediately reflected in the administrator’s dashboard, and any needed follow-up can be done quickly.

We saw a lot of this during COVID-19-induced lockdowns in 2020. Organisations whose staff had were not able to operate remotely (e.g. retail or F&B companies — how does one “remotely” cook/serve diners or man a shopfront?) took the ‘down time’ to train & assess their staff in product, service training etc. Obviously these now had to be done digitally.

Then when the lockdowns were lifted, staff were now refreshed in their knowledge, and many learnt new things too, to do their jobs better as many of these companies pivoted to delivery and e-commerce models. F&B operators saw food delivery helping to offset post-Covid impact of safe distancing reduced dine-in capacity, and e-commerce helped add back some topline to retailers.

These new business and operating models also require new skills and new training — and we can now use ArcLab learning modules to efficiently deliver them to staff and assess knowledge retention.


Employee Surveys & Polls (and many more)

We also use ArcLab as a Dipstick Polling Tool — via ArcLab’s Poll Screen and/or Likert Scale Screen. This can be votes on features, text copy choices, icon design, or even simply what to ‘tapao’ for lunch. With data at the forefront of companies’ decision-making, at ArcLab, we walk the talk and ‘dogfood’ it.

In fact, ArcLab’s customers have used our platform for Employee Appraisals, Peer Ratings, Employee Engagement Surveys and many more. It’s simply down to the imagination of the company’s HR and L&D team to utilise the full features of ArcLab’s platform, built for simplicity and flexibility. It solves yet another pain point of how companies can easily solicit views and use data in their decision-making.


Declaration Forms

We also used ArcLab to create a Visitor Health Declaration Form, helpful for COVID-19 related contact tracing.

Visitors to the office can now log their contact details in a contactless fashion (more hygienic) and their contact data stored digitally and securely. This beats using pen & paper which is environmentally-unfriendly. This also avoids loose sheets of paper which could run foul of Personal Privacy Data Protection laws.


Public Communication Modules

A more interesting use case is how ArcLab marketing uses ArcLab for, well, marketing.

ArcLab modules can be set to public, which we can include in emails, EDMs, social media posts as well as blogs like these 😎

For example, see this really fun public education module that Martin our Learning Designer made to educate the public on local attractions that families can go to during the year-end holidays last year.

ArcLab modules are interactive, rich-media, and can provide an immersive educational experience beyond just a static poster.

That’s great, engaging communication. Win-win-win.


We hope you found useful — all the different ways that ArcLab uses ArcLab.

You can easily adopt them for your own organisation. Simply head to ArcLab Discover:

Showcase

Explore the different modules, and remix any module template that you like DIRECTLY into your ArcLab dashboard, e.g. the Onboarding module.

One-click, and you’re all set to edit and roll the module out to your team!

We can’t wait to see what you come up with to easily upskill & provide performance support to your workforce.

And please reach out at any time.

Categories
Why

Arts, Sciences & Humans

Arts, Sciences & Humans

Many writers have published their “2020 in reflection” articles. Most wrote about COVID-19.

For my “2020 in reflection”, I’m not writing about COVID, but instead — about one piece of news that caught my attention: the proposal by The National University of Singapore (“NUS”) to merge her Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Faculty of Science to form an interdisciplinary College of Humanities and Sciences.

The broad (pun intended) thinking: Singapore students will need more “broad-based” knowledge and skills to do well in our new VUCA world. So we get students to learn about different disciplines that may or may not be related, while diving deep into their core specialty. A “T-shaped” individual, for lack of a better word. Indeed, 7 in 10 Singapore companies sought to hire workers with broader skill sets — a point hammered home by COVID-19’s impact on the workforce.

So NUS’ move was a long time coming. Though better late than never.

NUS’ proposed new college setup is not at all new.

A *few* years ago, I had the privilege to experience such an education. Enrolling in Cornell’s College of Arts & Sciences —pursuing different courses in a myriad of disciplines.

  • In ANTHR 303, I learnt about Nepalese culture and did a research paper on the Gurkhas.
  • In GEOG 404, I learnt about the ocean and climate change (way before the Paris Accord and Greta Thunberg [hat tip to Greta nonetheless!]).
  • In HIST 211, I learnt about Southeast Asian culture & history.
  • In COMP 100, I learnt (as best as I could) basic programming.
  • In MATH 313 — Linear Algebra, learning about matrices and arrays, which proved useful when founding ArcLab years later.
  • In HOTEL 430 — the famed Wines class opened my eyes (and palette) to the world of viniculture and viticulture, not to mention some amazing wines in the process.
  • In some other course which I forget, I also did a study of wines and pricing, and was asked by my Professor to present it to class — my conclusion — drink what you like; price (and ratings) doesn’t matter all that much.

And somewhere in those 4 years, I studied enough Economics to earn my Economics degree, which helped prepare for a later Reserve Management career at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

That was just academics. There was much more.

Internships in Capital One and working as a Teaching Assistant for my Professor gave a semi-realistic entry into the working world.

I also helped out at a Taiwanese-American schoolmate’s 1st-wave Bubble Tea franchise — making (and drinking) enough bubble tea to last me a lifetime. It was hard work but great work. Work that taught some life skills: proper organisation, SOPs, planning ahead, customer service, thinking on one’s feet.

Work that would prove relevant when I co-founded ArcLab years later. That of honing skill through the job, and providing adequate performance support for the workforce that was not tied behind a desk — who we term the Deskless Workforce.

(Just made myself really miss school… 🏫)


As our economy evolves and knowledge cycles shorten, learning in the flow of work becomes a much more important component that adds to the front-loaded education in the first 15–20 years of our lives.

In essence, that’s ArcLab’s work — empowering organisations globally to easily create, distribute and track training for the workforce.

Training that is Stackable. Multi-disciplinary. In-the-Flow-of-Work.

Helping organisations to effectively upskill the workforce, providing easily-accessible performance support — digital SOPs, 101s, primers.

So the workforce can effectively discharge responsibilities, and ultimately generate more value for the organisation. Learning & Development that does more for the organisation.

One of the lessons that COVID-19 taught us: L&D is a need. Not a want.

Because great organisations can only be be built with great teams.


See ArcLab’s showcase for examples of such stackable, adaptable mobile learning modules and add them directly to your ArcLab dashboard.

And talk to us today.

Wishing everyone a restful year-end, and good things ahead for 2021.

Categories
Why

The Future of L&D in the New Normal — In conversation with Alina Rusu

The Future of L&D in the New Normal — In conversation with Alina Rusu

Alina Rusu is the Founder and Learning & Development Director of Business Academia — a Singapore-based firm that helps client organisations implement customer centric learning and digital strategies to boost productivity and efficiency.

In this webinar, I had the privilege to learn from Alina how she has been supporting firms since COVID-19 hit, and her thoughts on the Future of Learning & Development.

Listen to what we spoke about:

Business Academia can help your organisation’s L&D efforts

To learn more about Business Academia’s Customer Experience Management (“CXM”) programme and to connect with Alina for your organisation’s Learning & Development needs that are Just-in-Time, Just-In-Time, Just-For-You, visit: https://www.businessacademia.co .

For a preview, check out Business Academia’s learning modules that you can Remix directly into your ArcLab dashboard here: https://builder.arclab.io/discover .


Here’s the transcript of our webinar:

James: I’m delighted to speak with Ms Alina Rusu, Founder and Learning & Development Director of Business Academia — on the Future of Learning & Development in our New Normal.

Alina is an entrepreneur, based in Singapore and hailing from Italy. She has extensive professional experience in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific, and was part of several Global Project Management teams in Fortune 500 companies: enabling sales growth, a customer centric culture and organisations’ Digital Transformation. Alina had worked in Vodafone, Randstad, Adecco and Club Med, before founding Business Academia in 2018.

Alina is curious about future trends, innovation, quantum mechanics (of which I know nothing about) and a passionate Science Fiction reader.

Alina — Thank you for joining us today!

Could you tell us more about Business Academia and the work you do?

Alina: We focus on three verticals:

1. Learning programmes: design and deploy learning programmes for corporate and higher education institutions in Asia Pacific and globally.

2. Business consultancy: we are diagnosing, following up and coaching professionals and MBA students

3. Innovation and Leadership: which we want to reactivate once air travel is back again. This is because we work with our business partners and we bring leaders from corporate companies from Europe to Singapore to learn from Singapore as a smart city. They can learn about the our fintech Landscape, innovation and disruption in the financial world, mobility, energy, green architecture, waste management etc.

In your training work, what are some of the specific courses that you run for organisations?

Alina: We run a customer experience management training. We are very happy and delighted that our Customer Experience Management programme (“CXM”) is subsidised by Singapore Government agencies: IMDA and SkillsFuture Singapore with 70% up to 90% support for Singaporeans and PRs.

We are running this for organisations in Singapore, across Asia-Pacific and worldwide. We are very proud of this CXM programme that the government has subsidised, which will run till 2022 with government subsidies.

Apart from that, we help organisations to solve their most urgent business problems with design thinking and agility sprints in order to accelerate their growth.

We also teach soft skill training such as negotiation skills, emotional intelligence at work, sales, business development and so on.

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. How has your training approach changed in the last 6 months?

Alina: We are looking into tech components in our learning programmes. Including nano learning, mobile learning, bite size learning, interactive tools and everything we can use to make the learning journey enjoyable. That’s why with the current situation, we accelerate that tech component alongside what we have already designed for our learning programme.

We are answering a question “how to keep people engaged while in front of a computer for a long time?” We took the inspiration from movies — how and why a person should be stuck in front of a device for more than 2 hours. We took that question and worked backwards to see what sort of components, including tech, can we put inside the learning programmes to make it enjoyable.

How do you now assess learning, given you typically aren’t able to be in the same room as learners? Any specific tools that you use?

Alina: We have an interesting combination of pre-course and post-course assessment strategy

We include a lot of hands on practical assignments that we design even before the training or workshop starts. We are not waiting for the programme to end, but to encourage this practice, as well as experiential learning

On top of that, we use the ArcLab platform -launching ArcLab modules in 2 sequences, one before the training starts and the second during or at the end of the learning programme.

We use data and we observe the results from the practical workshops and exercises in order to understand the progress for both online and offline trainings. We measure in terms of percentage, how many of the learners have improved, in terms of knowledge, concepts and application.

After extracting the data from ArcLab, it is really impressive the amount of insights we can get. We also start to get qualitative conversation especially on the follow up and coaching sessions and suggest where are the areas that can be improved. To that, we encourage a lifelong learning attitude.

Could you share who are some of the client organisations that you serve, and a little more about digital and ‘virtual’ training that you now do for them?

Alina: We are running a lot of the customer experience management trainings for the organisations we work with, thanks to SkillsFuture supporting us.

We have human design thinking workshops, sprints and agility, emotional intelligence and soft skills. From there, we go into coaching sessions, follow-ups, implementations and so many more.

We work across industries, e.g. from telecommunications to consumer goods to airports, university, media and cable industries.

It is not important for us to position ourselves in a specific industry because our program supports the implementation of an entire structure, when we talk about people, processes, tools. Instead, we are positioning ourselves as collectors of business intelligence tools. So we collect the hottest and coolest business intelligence platforms. That’s why we are teaching ourselves a lot about what’s out there and we extract the easiest, most impactful and the most cost saving platforms. We do that and simplify it for our customers. So they have access to a list of providers they can look into and adapt as tools.

What are some of the key trends that you see in your work, that you think has gone on an irreversible course since COVID-19?

Alina: In L&D, the integration of online and offline is going to stay. It is as relevant as it is for the retail or F&B industry. The integration of these two will definitely stay. But when it comes to human interaction, it is very important. We need to understand how to balance that according to what is permitted.

Data is very important as it is no longer based on putting as much content out there as possible and hoping that our people/colleagues can assimilate it. But we need to look into cleaning, analysing, extracting the insides of the data in order to understand where we stay, where we should be, what should be done to reach that point.

We need to enabling a proactive culture, lifelong learning culture. This is an ongoing and relevant trend.

If you look at L&D prior to what’s happening today, you could notice more organisation would run by reacting to what is happening. So they would have skills or suggestions or behaviour that they would encourage the companies to look into. The learners would have catalogs to choose from that the topics they would think is more relevant to them.

This makes sense for a while, but now I am actually looking into trends and trying to get a competitive advantage to understand what are the skills that are necessary today and tomorrow so i can support my people to go towards that path.

What’s next for Business Academia?

Alina: We are working hard with our learning programme to enable organisation in their transformation journey and to support their teams altogether to work together to make things happen

We hope to reactivate the innovation and leadership programme to learn about the awesome things about the cities of the future.

We are working on projects e.g. a mobile app that supports people that have been made redundant and those that are without a job, to exchange their skills that are relevant in the workplace.

Thank you so much for spending time with us today. Before we end off, can you share some tips on what companies need to do, to equip their workforces to be ready for our Digital Future?

Alina: Keep it simple and enjoyable. A lot of people or colleagues might be scared of turning to digital completely. Even though there might be a lot going on out there, we might underestimate the power of resistance.

Support your people with JUST-IN-TIME, JUST-ENOUGH and JUST-FOR-YOUR-LEARNERS sort of journey.

We are no longer as L&D professionals reacting to what’s going on, we are proactively opening the learning library to our learners. The L&D department becomes a part of the operation so it is not the one that has the key to the learning library but enables everyone in the organisations to adopt this lifelong learning culture and be always on top of the game to stay relevant because everyone is replaceable.

Categories
How

“Have you washed your hands?”

“Have you washed your hands?”

“Serving hygienic food begins with a clean pair of hands” | Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

For food & beverage operators, poor hygiene and food handling practices can lead to mass food poisoning, and in extreme circumstances, even tragic deaths.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/spize-fined-food-poisoning-river-valley-court-32000-13691268

There can be no compromise on proper food hygiene practices:

  • Don’t mix raw and cooked food,
  • Wash all utensils and cutlery before use,
  • Use different chopping boards for different food types,
  • Don’t leave food out for more than 4 hours,
  • Store food properly, at the right temperature…

But most fundamental of all:

“Serving hygienic food begins with a clean pair of hands”


Ready to test your food hygiene knowledge?

Challenge yourself to a Nano Learning Quiz built on ArcLab: https://b.arclab.io/fdhygiene

How did you do on the quiz? Let’s come back to that later.


Proper Food Hygiene

Whichever country we are in, all licensed food & beverage operators should adhere to proper practices, guidelines and regulations.

For example, Singapore Food Agency (regulator of Singapore’s food retail industry) lists its Dos & Don’ts:

It’s a hefty list of guidelines, which all licensed food operators will need to train their staff to adhere to. Therein lies challenges:

  • How do they ensure the training is delivered effectively?
  • How do they target follow-ups to those who don’t understand?
  • Do they even know who “gets it”, and who doesn’t?

Training Staff on Food Hygiene

Let’s consider one possible approach of “delivering the training”:

F&B Operator sends the NEA weblink above to employees in its internal Whatsapp chat group, with the message

“Pls ensure compliance”

More likely than not, the message is quickly glanced at, and the “learning moment” may or may not happen.

A more effective approach would be to conduct face-to-face training sessions, outlining the practices that we want staff handling food in the kitchen to be familiar with, and to adhere to.

The training would ideally be a combination of theory and practical, with the participants put through the paces and assessed according to the required standards midway and at the end.

During the face-to-face sessions, the trainer is available to answer questions and clarify doubts of learners, and correct mistakes on the spot.

The approach above can be further improved further by the deployment of technology to create a blended learning approach for learners. This achieves a few objectives:

  • Staff have greater personal engagement and interaction with the learning content
  • Staff have access to an online repository of learning content (in different languages if necessary) – anytime, anywhere.
  • The Organisation can build in assessment modules into the online learning, to test the staff’s understanding.
  • The Organisation now has available the data of staff’s learning that they can use to plug learning gaps and arrange for follow-ups.

The end-result is a better-trained workforce, who know the dos and don’ts of proper food hygiene and can then prepare delicious, healthy and safe food that can be enjoyed by customers.


Unfortunately, the Spize tragedy is not unique. It’s one of several food hygiene-related incidents in the past few years.

These repeated occurrences cement the need for effective staff training, and making sure that effective food hygiene practices are put into practice.

The module you tested yourself with above, is just what a technology-enabled training module on food hygiene and safety could look like:

We created this with ArcLab Pro, our Nano Learning platform for anyone to easily create, deliver and track effective training.

Like what you see?

Go to ArcLab’s showcase to see more adaptable mobile learning modules and add them directly to your ArcLab dashboard.

And talk to us today.

Categories
Why

Learning in the age of Star Wars

Learning in the age of Star Wars

Star Wars fans all over the world eagerly await The Last Jedi. It’s an extreme vision of the frontiers of technology, though science fiction sometimes does lead to science fact.

Back on Earth, we’re seeing more drones around us, there are cars driving themselves, and many other new technologies that would fit right at home in Star Wars.

Positively, these new technologies and other innovations in robotics and artificial intelligence have potential to do much good for society.

Imagine robots doing all the work we find dangerous, dirty and/or repetitive, like that in Star Wars. Wouldn’t that make our lives better? Technology can also help us do more work with fewer workers and time, a boon as our societies age.

Phys.org

But the message that makes headlines is that of ROBOTS TAKING OUR JOBS AWAY.

While I ultimately view technology as neutral, there WILL be groups that are hurt and groups that gain.

Optimists point to the fact that with every major scientific breakthrough, society ultimately harnesses the innovations to create better (and more) jobs.

The “This Time is Different” crowd points to the increased pace of change for this particular transition, raising concerns that robots could displace many more workers much more quickly. This gives little time for the now-redundant workforce to learn new skills that the economy needs.

The person who loses his/her job due to technological innovation is NOT going to care that society overall has benefitted from the new technology. All (s)he experiences is the loss of a job and income, and uncertainty for the family’s future. The pain is felt at a PERSONAL level.


What about Learning?

The best thing to do is get prepared. Technology is a tool, and we can all learn how to use it to our advantage.

The learning can in fact be pretty fun, and accessible at all ages.

For our children, the folks at Tinkercademy teach the young (& young-at-heart) coding and electronics in a fun and relevant way.

The climax of a recent Tinkercademy coding class was a race of littleBits R2s droids to the finish line. VROOOM!!

Besides stoking “Fast & Furious” ambitions (no bad thing if properly applied), the kids learnt to use their hands and tools to build hardware, and learnt to program the software to control their R2 droids.

They mastered the technology. It became their friend.

Step 1 in preparing for life in the age of Star Wars.

What about Workplace Learning?

Learning can be fun for the working crowd too.

Crucially, it needs to be EFFECTIVE.

I was reading Star Wars from a Certain Point of View (yes, all about Star Wars here… ). The blue-boxed section is about the “e-learning” experience of officer from the Empire (the ‘bad’ guys), obviously ineffective.

 

Despite Star Wars’ technological advances, learning hasn’t quite kept pace…

It’s a reminder to us that education practices aren’t innovating enough compared to the breathtaking developments in other sectors.

That’s the irony. We are upgrading many parts of our economy, from retail to transport to finance to healthcare, with breakneck speed.

But we’re not upgrading the most important part as much or as quickly: Us, People. Human Beings.

That needs to change, and we’re working hard to help.

We’re working particularly hard to help up-skill the under-served groups of the economy: the factory worker, the F&B professional, the retail assistant, the store-clerk, the construction worker… traditional “Blue Collar” folk.

We believe that new (and newly-designed) jobs will be created in these existing industries and occupations, and their existing workforce needs the most help in up-skilling.

We’re focussing first on the efficacy of the learning, taking into account shortening attention spans, and our new on-the-go, on-demand lifestyles.

Here’s what’s in store:

Learning that is easily consume-able, effective, and not just “acknowledged” like that hapless Star Wars character I read about.

Learning that workers can access on-the-go, leads to tangibly better skills and hopefully higher pay.

Learning that is interactive, trackable and seamlessly integrated into HR practice, giving managers insight on their staff’s learning and helping them to holistically develop staff to contribute productively to business goals.

Learning that is holistic, effective, scalable and saves companies and managers time and cost.

Say hello to Learning in the Age of Star Wars.

Say hello to Interactive Nano Learning.


May the Force be with you <(-_-)>