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This year’s Cornerstone Convergence was like no other—but then again, this entire year has been like no other. Though virtual, the conference had no shortage of announcements, energy and predictions for the future as attendees gathered remotely to reflect on the changing world of work. The consensus? Work is undergoing perhaps its biggest transformation yet, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

Employers have the opportunity to help employees thrive under today’s difficult conditions and emerge more productive, engaged and happy on the other end. How? Read on for our top five takeaways from Convergence 2020 and learn more ways to set your workforce up for success, resilience and growth and check out this recap video for more! 

1. Change Is Constant

It’s tempting to believe that there will come a day when the pandemic is over, and disruption will cease. But even if COVID-19 disappears tomorrow, change will always happen one way or another. Whether it’s technology that redefines a certain element of work, or a law that shakes up hiring practices, there’s no way to know what’s coming next. But that doesn’t mean companies can’t prepare, Cornerstone CEO Phil Saunders said during his Convergence keynote.

The best way to get ready for change is to accept its inevitability, and embrace it as an opportunity for healthy transformation and growth, recommended Jeff Miller, Cornerstone’s CLO and VP of Organizational Effectiveness, 

2. Learning Is Key For Thriving Through Disruption 

Learning is fundamental to developing the kind of nimbleness that work today requires. From soft skills that make workers more flexible, to hard skills that are required for some roles and everyday tasks, gaining knowledge means personal growth and better professional contributions, analyst Josh Bersin explained. Skills are the currency of the future, and while it’s up to employees to seek learning and development, it’s also up to employers to provide the right learning platform and content.

To be effective, learning content has to be easy-to-digest, relevant and delivered when it’s most needed, typically in the flow of work. And, the platform that content is delivered through must be smart, user-friendly and dynamic, constantly evolving to meet changing needs. “Imagine a tomorrow where skills are obsolete in months not years. Where careers are a portfolio, not a life-time job. Where reskilling, upskilling and unlearning is everyone's job. Welcome to the New Normal,” Ira Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions said, reflecting on the Convergence conference. 

3. Transformation Requires the Right Toolset

One of the key themes at this year’s Convergence was that anyone can be extraordinary and unbound, meaning uninhibited by yesterday’s constraints or today’s obstacles. But this level of transformation requires technology to enable it, Heidi Spirgi, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, said. Tools like blockchain, skills ontologies, AI and machine learning will play a role in making work better by optimizing key “people” processes, like performance management, hiring and employee development.

“A robot isn’t going to take your job. But unless you master tomorrow’s most important workplace characteristic—adaptability—you may give your job away to one,” Wolfe said. 

4. Personalized Journeys Will Drive Employee Engagement

Gone are the days of career “ladders.” There’s no pre-defined template for development as employees gain more autonomy than ever in shaping their careers, developing their skills and growing as individuals. To support efforts like succession planning and prevent challenges like organizational skills gaps, employers must recognize the importance of personalized employee journeys and facilitate them, providing ample ways for employees to identify their goals and attain new skills. 

When given the freedom and resources to learn and challenge themselves, employees will step up to the plate, eventually rising to fill greater roles as they gain new skills—even without a metaphorical “ladder” to climb. 

5. Technology Is Important, but Humanity Matters Most

While technology will continue to play an increasingly important role at work, humanity still matters above all else, said Vincent Belliveau, Cornerstone’s EMEA Chief Executive. People should be at the center of every organizational decision, whether it’s the introduction of a different remote work policy, the adoption of cutting edge tools or the rollout of a new initiative. 

From iterating DE&I practices to reflect the growing calls for social change, to providing adequate support to working parents  as they navigate their new normal, there are so many difficult challenges to solve in the months ahead. As employers and employees continue to grapple with these difficult questions, our shared humanity is the only way forward.

Missed Cornerstone Convergence? Visit: www.cornerstoneconvergence.com. All sessions are available on demand until October 31, 2020. And keep the conversation going! Follow Cornerstone Convergence 2020 on social media channels, visit: Twitter @CSODConvergence, Instagram @CornerstoneOnDemand and Facebook @Cornerstoneconvergence. You can engage with the conversation using #CSODConf20.