Activate a Learning & Development Ecosystem.
Identify courses and programs/initiatives that can provide the specific skills identified in the above exercise. Convert these courses into learning journeys (or playlists) that an employee can choose to advance on, based on his/her desire and need, along with their leaders’ support.
Ensure that every employee can access the right development asset at the right time. Your ecosystem should be a mix of internal and external learning solutions, some short, (e.g., job aids), some a bit longer (like an article of video) and some much longer (a course or a complete qualification). Make it easy to consume the ecosystem by making content accessible from anywhere and easy to find (guided by artiﬁcial intelligence).
Communicate and incentivize Uptake.
Even the best ecosystems will remain useless unless employees are deeply convinced of their personal why and the inherent value. You want to transform your ecosystem into a vibrant community of learning and exchange. As such, an effective upskilling strategy is above all, a change process at scale. Only when future roles and the required skillsets are truly appealing to the employees, will they start proactively driving their own learning journeys.
Therefore, it is imperative to communicate the offering (and incentivize its use) so that the workforce continuously develops towards the new skills and new roles. In fact, in the case of ESG, communication about it is not just important but also necessary to improve employee engagement and enthusiasm, which in of itself will improve a key ESG metric.
Additionally, you will want to include ESG-related skills, capabilities and knowledge requirements in your talent management and career progression discussions.
It is important to bear in mind that this entire exercise can result in a fabulous document that gathers dust without progress towards strategic objectives unless there is continuous monitoring of results, as part of the executive team/board’s ESG review. This is amongst the most critical actions for ensuring an effective outcome. In fact, broadcasting the firm’s progress in developing the people component of the ‘ESG Organizational Capability’ will even strengthen the company’s brand.
Imperative of leveraging evolving digital technology to develop an ESG organizational capability.
With the COP26 ending, companies, institutions and states have made various ESG commitments that now need to be executed. The pressure from external observers to do so will be high, particularly as many believe that those commitments will not be enough to have a substantial impact on climate change. Building an ESG organizational capability, especially in the workforce, is therefore necessary to achieve consistent and sustainable results over time.
How can technology help us in this respect? Blockchain can be leveraged to confirm skills and make learning histories transferrable, natural language processing, virtual and augmented reality already offer disruptive and cost-effective learning experiences, while artificial intelligence and machine learning let us design highly personalized learning plans. Technology is moving fast. We must leverage its power to accelerate the development of an ESG organizational capability.