Lessons from Education, to Empower the Enterprise

The two great challenges of 2020 were maintaining continuity of business as millions of workers pivoted to remote collaboration, and maintaining instructional continuity in the nation’s educational systems. As daunting as both tasks were, the challenges were addressed, and new workflows established. In the corporate world, managers and CEO’s were pleasantly surprised that in many areas efficiency improved, not decreased, with a mostly-remote work force. In higher education, faculty, staff, and students pivoted even more rapidly to new models. As we look toward 2021, what can we learn from each realm, to help with the other? A lot. Let’s start with bringing a new culture of Learning to corporate environments. Corporate learning is becoming a new and important focus that goes beyond maintaining “continuity” and toward a new culture of built-in innovation and employee growth.

Data from recent studies by Gensler and other research firms point out that the primary reason people want to return to the office is to interact with other people – regardless of how efficient they can be working remotely. Therefore much attention has been focused on trying to make the hybrid (mainly remote, so far in 2020) workplace a balance of the benefits of remote work and virtual collaboration with the community-based elements of the office. Maintaining the “corporate culture” with so many remote workers became the focus, justifiably. How to create that “water cooler” conversation and informal interaction among remote workers has kept many managers up at night, and innovative solutions have emerged.

But as productivity gains have been shown to generally make up for any missing “virtual water cooler” magic, attention is now shifting to a more long-term, structural concern: workers may long for more in-person, human, but what they need long term is the opportunity to grow and succeed. Up-skilling, re-training, closing skill gaps, mentoring, honing soft skills, and empowering the organizations’ people to advance in their careers is critical to the success of every business. That’s why corporate America is now learning how the tools used in Higher Ed, for example, can help them bake in that culture of ongoing training and learning. (This is especially needed for supervisors, who in past did not always have the needed skills for managing remote teams.)

Virtual and hybrid classrooms – with tools and pedagogical techniques learned from college campuses, are the new order of the day for corporations. The right tools can not only stimulate better engagement, but metrics can bring new insights to your classes, training, and seminars. That’s why distance learning techniques are changing corporate training and corporate career development, for the better.

The resources of the big-brand names in AV and IT have really stepped up to the plate in this new mandate to create a better, permanent culture of Learning in the enterprise. Often, these companies – Samsung, LG, Poly, Sharp, Avocor, Panasonic, Microsoft, Lenovo, Crestron, and the list goes on – leverage their great hardware and software solutions in the corporate, education, entertainment, and sometimes consumer spaces. And they draw on their own lessons learned from each market, to hone their solutions for every application. Fortunately, you don’t have to decipher all those lists of solutions yourself. SYNNEX professionals work daily with all those top providers, and can curate the best solution bundles for you.

Key Take-away: getting organizations to understand and prioritize the benefits of a hybrid workstyle will be a challenge for years. 2020 disruptions forced companies to see benefits of remote, especially of hybrid models. But going forward, smart companies will not be content with business “continuity”, they will leverage the new AV and collaboration tools to empower their workers to constantly evolve, learn, improve. And they’ll provide what workers want even more than the “water cooler” interaction of the office – the ability to climb the corporate ladder through education, mentoring, up-skilling, and daily access to new resources.