‘Learning is a key part of being the best you can be’

by L&D28 Sep 2016
There is a quote by Mahatma Ghandi which goes: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever”.

It’s also one which Melissa Ries, Skillsoft’s new Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific, is quite fond of.

“My life philosophy is to live life to the full and do the best that you can. And learning is a key part of doing the best that you can,” Ries told L&D Professional.

“As a leader and as an employee, what motivates me is making a difference.

“It is extremely rewarding to make a difference in people’s lives because at the end of the day people are what drives a company.”

Ries added that you can have the best product, the biggest market opportunities, and the best processes, but it will all fail if you don’t have the right people in place.

“It’s really rewarding seeing them move through the levels or change their behaviour and improve,” she said.

However, that’s becoming more of a challenge as the workplace is changing rapidly, said Ries. And the people and skills that organisations need to survive and thrive are shifting just as quickly.

“Learning and development is the key to help organisations close skills gaps, enable agility and improve performance,” she said.

“Organisations need to deliver continuous opportunities for development, otherwise they won’t be able to attract, engage and retain talent.

Moreover, the types of jobs and the skills that are needed today are going to be very different in the future workforce, and it won't be possible to “hire ourselves out of that skills gap”, said Ries.

She cited a statistic which demonstrates this challenge: nearly 50% of occupations today will no longer exist in 2025, according to the report titled 'Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace'.

The report said new jobs will require creative intelligence, social and emotional intelligence and ability to leverage artificial intelligence.

“Those jobs will be immensely more fulfilling than today's jobs," the report added.  

Ries said another key challenge for L&D is around attracting and keeping the higher performers.

“Millennials will soon be 50% of the workforce and they expect to change their jobs every three years,” said Ries.

“Having said that, it’s not only about millennials. Everything needs to be personalised and tailored to who you are and what you want to achieve.”

In particular, the expectations around frequent feedback and skills improvement are moving at a faster pace than what they were in the past, added Ries.