The new reality is creating havoc in my work life as I strive to find a new rhythm. Looking back on how “normal” used to feel when I had a foundation upon which to make key decisions. Woefully the only part of life that is normal right now is that nothing feels normal.
The steep learning curve for working from home, while I asked my instructors to immerse themselves into the online teaching world, has created hardships. Hardship in our collective peace of mind and in my ability to meet my business targets. Reflecting on these last few months, I can see that almost all of these challenges have been directly related to a skills gaps in my staff and faculty. What makes this revelation even more distressing is that I did not even think to look for these gaps and here I am in scramble mode.
It appears I am not alone as one in five small business leaders and one in three mid-size company leaders cites a lack of employee skills as their biggest challenge in responding to the covid-19 pandemic. These swift shifts required leaders to development a training plan to ensure new skill sets came on board rapidly all while increasing the awareness to develop a new comprehensive training plan for all levels of the organization. (Golden, 2020).
Digital skill gaps appear to be one of the number one issue among all industry sectors having identified this as an essential skill. ( Estrada, 2020)
The National Skills Coalition reported that in the US 50% of construction, transportation and storage sector had limited skills. While 37% of workers in retail, wholesale and auto repair had limited or no digital skills. 36% of hospitality worker had a digital skills gaps. (Olugbemiga, 2020). Upon closer inspection it is not just digital skills needed attention, but the myriad of skills required to keep business doors open.
Even something as simple or maybe not so simple, as helping the workforce deal with their new levels of stress is an identified training need.
Clearly, we are all being impacted by this change and are reaching for the new normal while seeking to find a balance and quite frankly a little relief.
Looking back to the start of all this my team quickly pivoted ( skill gaps and all) and proudly we now have over 200+ courses online that can address many of the skills gaps that can impact productivity.
In the end, as we all begin the quest to normalize our life I have found no better way than to start taking back control by reaching for a little more education.
Onwards and upwards one step at a time, let us help you reach your goals.
Estrada, S. (2020, April 28). Digital skills gaps visible in essential industries. Retrieved September 01, 2020, from https://www.hrdive.com/news/digital-skills-gaps-visible-in-essential-industries/576899/
Golden, R. (2020, September 01). Survey: Skill gaps are top pandemic challenge for 1 in 5 small businesses. Retrieved September 01, 2020, from https://www.hrdive.com/news/survey-skill-gaps-are-top-pandemic-challenge-for-1-in-5-small-businesses/584455/?utm_source=Sailthru
Olugbemiga, A. (n.d.). New NSC Analysis Finds Significant Digital Skills Gaps for Workers Across Industries, With Workers of Color Most Likely to Have Limited or No Digital Skills. Retrieved September 01, 2020, from https://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/news/press-releases/new-nsc-analysis-finds-significant-digital-skills-gaps-for-workers-across-industries-with-workers-of-color-most-likely-to-have-limited-or-no-digital-skills
Are you bored at work?
This is a bold question to ask out loud, but I suspect that you have heard these words uttered around the water cooler. I will even admit I have said these very words numerous times over the course of my work life. When I was younger, I often pointed fingers at a boss or office mates and laid blame. As I grew, I realized that my boredom was more about me and even more recently I have come to learn that the feeling of boredom has something to teach me.
“Feeling bored in your career is one of the most common reasons to make a career change. Boredom can sometimes be temporary, and other times, it's deep-rooted. When you're bored at work, it can be easy to blame the job. Thoughts like, “this job is boring,” and, “my director isn't utilizing my skills,” are common.” 1
Feeling bored can impact health and well-being as well as impact work performance. Being bored at work on a regular basis is a loss for the employee and a loss for the employer as both health and productivity decrease. 2
As a function of boredom, individuals may feel over-worked or under-employed, and become distracted, stressed, or disillusioned. 2
What can seem like a silly statement with little importance “Why am I bored?” is actually very important. One tool in identifying the origins of one’s boredom is developing emotional awareness about oneself at work alongside daily work experiences. Additionally, being assertive and motivated to carry out personal changes and not relying on senior leadership or co-workers to fix things is equally helpful. 1
Below are five questions to begin constructively handling your boredom.
Taking the time to reflect on and identifying the causes of boredom empowers you to make changes. This compared to feeling the cure to boredom lives outside your control. Of course, during your review of these questions, you might discover that you truly have outgrown your job and it’s time to move on.3 Either way you are empowered with personal knowledge that can propel you into the next phase of productive action steps. Each of us deserves, in all the ways possible, to enjoy our work and it is up to each of us to make the necessary changes.
To support your efforts, the Northern Lights College CE division has various courses related to work skills, as well as lifelong learning - just for fun courses. In looking to find the balance between well-being at work and in your life is found in the education experiences you choose for yourself. Click here to discover what we have to offer.
Running a business or managing a team exerts a good deal of energy on a normal day. Keeping up in these new moments and figuring out the next best step, is an entirely new landscape. As a dean in higher education we try to focus on “training the workforce for future jobs that don’t yet exist”. I can type this sentence with ease but figuring out how to do this work is an entirely different story. I believe that what I learn from other leaders will be a vital piece in finding a solution.
Imagining what each of you working in and/or running a business must be feeling is difficult. Especially when considering the impact of artificial intelligence, the changing landscape of work life and workforce changes with retiring employees’, all this and more can impede one’s ability to create a solid strategic plan.
Take as an example, did any of us plan for a global pandemic as part of our strategic strategy? Issues such as these can leave leaders asking where should we focus our attention? Moreover, we begin wondering what other leaders are doing to manage these steep and unanticipated changes? Asking how one shifts from the immediate crisis into what is the next step, while taking into account that there are plenty of unknowns.
For me, at the time of our big work life change, I decided to look closely at my team and take into account their strengths. Examining what they are doing well and considering how those skills can be applied to tasks and situations we have never encountered. Then I asked myself how I can help expand those skills in a way that gives them more depth to navigate challenging times.
When the world went into stay and work from home alongside shifting to online learning I was panicking. Almost all of my courses were face to face and being a cost recovery department within the college requires that I continue bringing in revenue.
What helped me pull out of what felt like a nosedive was my team. What I gathered strength from was all the ways I had fostered sincere and candid conversations. The team culture had been built upon a foundation where their ideas and analysis already mattered, and they had seen me act upon their suggestion’s countless times. It was clear that I could not lead us out of this alone, I needed them, their passion and their commitment to our goals and the College mission.
Combined with this unique team culture, I reflected on all the conversations we had in regard to our big dreaming and the considerations of what might be our barriers to success. These conversations that did not lead at that time to anything productive, now became the impetus of our immediate action plan.
During these conversations, it had been easy for me to dismiss the power of these impromptu moments. Looking back now I see that this invested time became the building blocks I needed to pivot quickly and effectively.
Standing today I am proud of my team and what they have created to help serve our community needs. I feel forever fortunate to be in this role and I shy away from the term leader, yet it was all the little leadership moments and open opportunities for my own growth that allowed me to make quick decisions. The result is that a few short months later we are stronger than we were before the start of all the global change.
I am going to reason that you yourself are a leader and are curious about other styles and strategies. I know I still have a lot to learn from other leaders and from my team. For me this will be a lifelong pursuit. What about you? What do you do to nurture the leader in you?
It is always a relevant strategy to invest in a leader’s growth. This is something you could do as a next step for yourself and your team.
NLC Continuing Education has a number of leadership courses that can support your career growth goals. Additionally, I have found courses not solely focused on leadership can be just as powerful used in the context of building a leadership toolbox, and we have plenty of those too.
Start your lifelong learning journey with us today!
I am on technology overload. Before all this global change I mused about using too much technology in my daily work. Now I feel like I am spending more time talking to a screen than I spend chatting with a touchable human. The thought of learning a fresh skill using technology leaves me with concerns.
As wonderful as it sounds learning online in my pajamas sipping tea, I am left with more questions than answers. Whether an individual is looking to acquire new skills, or an employer needs to ensure their teams are skilled-up, I believe that most are also left wondering how to navigate this new world. Thirty-nine other countries are wondering the same thing. 1
Making this even more difficult is the fact that we educators love to make up clever names for stuff. We realize that our bad habit likely makes it harder to understand what the different online learning options actually mean, but we just can’t seem to stop making up new terms.
As an amends I will attempt to offer you a first step in understanding this new world by getting a grasp of the newly minted lingo.
A quick summary is as follows:
The hybrid and add on approach allow the instructor to build an environment where students can engage with each other and create a sense of community, as compared to self-paced. The hybrid and/or add on becomes even more important in intense learning or fast paced courses. Hybrid or add on also allows the instructor to provide remedial support, address challenges or disengagement as soon as the concern arises, increasing learning success. Self-paced online learning is not able to support all students across all learning, it really is topic and student dependent. 2
I could talk for hours about this topic, so I will leave it here sharing with you that I am always open to a phone call or a video chat if you have questions.
Finally, the NLC Continuing Education department has the ability to support all types of learning. You can add on custom support for you or your employees learning at any interval and price point you desire. We are dedicated to supporting everyone in their pursuit of successful training and we believe having flexible options are the key to making that happen. Explore our build and price course matrix.
1. Rhine, Charles. “Remote Education: How ELearning Is Helping.” eLearning Industry, May 17, 2020. https://elearningindustry.com/how-elearning-has-improved-remote-education-covid-19.
2. Roddy, Chantal, Danielle Lalaine, Chung, Jennifer, Holt, Christopher, et al. “Applying Best Practice Online Learning, Teaching, and Support to Intensive Online Environments: An Integrative Review.” Frontiers. Frontiers, October 26, 2017. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feduc.2017.00059/full.
Are power skills really the new soft skills?
I don’t know about you, but life seems to be moving at the speed of light. Trying to keep up with all the new trends and new vocabulary can be tiring. I know this is true for me and I read trend updates as part of my daily work.
I recently came upon this new idea while reading an article titled “Let’s Stop Talking About Soft Skills: They’re Power Skills”. 1
Looking back at the people I have seen come and go along my career path, abrupt changes rarely emerged due to lack of technical skills. Rather, the change was due to how they functioned during their day to-day interactions with others, or perhaps their ability to problem solve.
We have been calling “soft skills” soft for years and with a new shift to calling them power skills we can finally place emphasis on behaviors skills that are important at all levels in the workplace.
Numerous studies are confirming that technical skills although important are not as important as having good behavior skills for the workplace. 2
A few examples of a power skills are
The Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation found that 75% of long-term job success depends upon soft skills mastery and only 25% on technical skills. 2
The impact of not having good power skills is found on both sides of the table with employees being successful at work and the employers happy that they invested time and money to support the bottom line.
The takeaway for an individual or an employer can be that leveraging these skills to support common goals is more important than ever with the changes in automation and artificial intelligence. Power skills can be one of the keys we all need to unlock our individual potential at home and at work.
At NLC we have various Power skill courses to help you become powerful today. Visit our web page for more information - click here.
Explore our build and price course matrix.
June 23, 2020 • Webinar 2pm ET
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The entire retail ecosystem has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic—from temporarily closing doors, to adjusting overall operations, to a change in shoppers’ behavior as customers practice social distancing.
This crisis has set the stage for a new way of working, that could actually benefit retailers and their customers to come. In this webinar, explore the new challenges across retail and learn how to best position your company in this new climate. Webinar highlights include: