Leadership, people management and professional development take centre stage

Traditionally, as a professional services organisation, Deloitte Singapore kept its professionals up to date on the latest financial accounting standards, auditing methodologies and tax regulations.

However, this has changed – over the years, the team has introduced various training on soft skills, human centred-design, and Deloitte University Asia Pacific, to name a few.

Notably, the learning strategy has seen a significant shift towards more leadership, people management and professional development while continuing to upgrade the technical skills of people, explains Chey Yan Kit, Senior Manager, Learning & Development, Deloitte Singapore.

Interview excerpts below:

Q What is your organisation’s skilling strategy?

As the leader of the L&D team at Deloitte in Singapore, my current priorities are firstly, to ensure the readiness of our workforce to deal with the rapidly evolving business environment, heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The questions I ask myself are – how adaptable are our professionals in working remotely? Can they continue providing advice and build strong relationships with our clients? Are they leading their teams with a future-focused mind, and still have the motivation to succeed in the current environment?

Second, I prioritise customising the learning tools to enable our workforce to learn and apply different capabilities quickly, in particular soft skills. The learning needs of our people are regularly assessed as part of our broader talent planning and workforce capability assessment; and are reviewed together with the business direction and overall organisation strategy.

Q To tackle the changes happening in the world of work, it is now vital for companies to step up the pace of their teams’ skills development. How are you achieving this?

We are constantly preparing and evolving our learning strategy with the times, acknowledging that, even without the pandemic we are experiencing today, change is the only constant in this world.

For instance, we are now in Industry 4.0, and we are seeing disruptive new technologies rapidly emerging (AI, machine-learning, automation, real-time information) and new business models being developed.

The workforce is also changing – it is increasingly multigenerational, with multi-capabilities under one organisational roof. And, the global business environment is becoming more and more unpredictable.

We are facing a threat of global protectionism which will impact global trade, the volatile relationship between US and China, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic.

All these changes, and more, mean that skills development – reskilling and upskilling – is a must to ensure that we are not left behind, as a business and as a workforce, and the learning must be effective to every single one of our people.

There are six key capabilities which we believe are critical to help us become future-proof and propel our organisation towards more sustainable growth amid ever-changing circumstances and business environments, and to better position ourselves to continue to be the undisputed leader in the professional services industry – innovation, resilience, tech savviness, agility, collaboration (working together) and strategic relationships (with clients and our people).

These six capabilities form our future-proof framework. Various trainings have been developed to develop these capabilities in our people.

We are also cognisant that traditional ways of delivering training in classrooms are no longer the only viable option. Our experience using virtual deliveries over the past couple of months has gathered a positive response. Going further, we need to build a learning ecosystem that allows our professionals to personalise their development, source for new skills and capabilities, and learn from others through social or peer learning.

In August this year, we will be introducing Cura – an interactive and AI-driven learning platform that allows each professional to curate information, knowledge and skills that are tailored specifically to their job scope, career and purpose. We believe this new platform will help drive our future-proof framework and develop Deloitte professionals for the future.

Q What would you say are previously much-talked-about skills that are on their way out from the list?

I don’t believe that there are any. Essential business skills such as PowerPoint, Excel, writing skills and professional etiquette are still relevant and they are the necessary foundational capabilities of our professional staff. Although there is now less emphasis on them, these skills are still kept on the list.

Q It would be too simplistic to believe that digitalisation is the only game changer when it comes to skills. What are some of the other key factors to take into consideration, going forward?

As our former Education Minister, Ong Ee Kung said on the re-opening of schools after the Circuit Breaker, education is a social activity so similarly, learning is also a social activity.

In Deloitte, besides digitalisation of learning like virtual classrooms or on-demand digital learning contents, learning can also be attained through exposure to different thought leaders and subject matter experts and experience gained through cross-business, cross-geographies projects or mobility opportunities. In fact, all the 3Es need to work together to create a complete, holistic and enriching purposeful learning experience.

Photo / Provided

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