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Kelly Palmer: Connecting LTEN Members to the Future of Work

Monday, March 2, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tim Sosbe
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By Tim Sosbe  LTEN Editorial Director

Kelly Palmer speaks at Life Sciences Training Leaders Forum

The Future of Work


Business leader and bestselling author Kelly Palmer has continued her work with LTEN members, delivering a Jan. 30, 2020, webinar that helped prepare senior training leaders for "the future of work."

Palmer is the former head of learning for LinkedIn, Yahoo! and Sun Microsystems and currently chief learning officer for Degreed and co-author of the bestselling book The Expertise Economy, named one of the top business books from 2019. She presented the invitation-only webinar as a follow up to the November 2019 Learning Executive Forum, the LTEN senior training leader think-tank where Palmer keynoted and conducted interactive roundtable discussions and workshops.

LTEN Board of Directors member Ranieka Weston, head of corporate learning and development for United Therapeutics, hosted the special webinar. The webinar, she said, was a follow-up to the Forum that took things to a new level.

"One of the topics, tackling our toughest challenges, was really an opportunity for us to walk away with an understanding that it’s not just happening in our space, but within other companies," Weston said. "How do we move forward and what are some things that we can do."


The recorded Jan. 30 webinar is available on-demand to LTEN members and via the LTEN Self-Directed Learning Library.


Top Takeaways from the Webinar


Palmer’s webinar, which did not require attendance of the Learning Executive Forum, talked broadly about the future of learning by focusing on current trends learning leaders are facing. For instance, she addressed workforce upskilling, which she called one of the biggest challenges facing companies.

"There’s something happening in the workforce now where it’s not just about specific learning or training programs to train specific areas of people. What we realize now is that everyone needs some upskilling," Palmer said. "What that really means is that companies feel they need to invest in continuous learning to help people build skills and identify and fill those skill gaps. What’s really interesting is a lot of companies are taking the stance that it’s not really about their own employees and their own interests, but they have a responsibility to society to keep people employable."


Business is Changing; Here's What's Keeping Leaders Up at Night


As part of that message, Palmer also cited the 23rd CEO Survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The survey showed top issues facing business leaders include:

  • How automation will impact jobs and the skills needed.
  • The decreasing availability of skilled labor.
  • The decreasing mobility of skilled labor.
  • The aging talent market.

The Need to Shift Our Models of Learning


Shifting to the future of work, Palmer said many companies are still using outmoded models of learning, relying heavily on classroom-based lecturing, which she said wastes $80 billion a year. More modern and effective learning programs include:

  • Collaborative, project-based learning in and out of classrooms.
  • Technology and digital learning.
  • Peer-to-peer learning.
"I’d say blended approaches with all four of these modes are really effective," Palmer said. "I don’t think it’s about one in particular, but how you blend and use them all at different times for different reasons."


Continuous Learning & Content Curation

Palmer also stressed the importance of companies listening to employee needs and involving them in learning choices. The goal is to create a culture of continuous learning that moves beyond mandated training.

Curating content is one way to help create that culture, and also has the added benefit of allowing trainers to share content that fits, versus having to create from scratch.

"All of us just have an overabundance of content and information," Palmer said. "There’s just too much information out there. So, curation is a great way to sort through all the content that’s out there, especially learning resources, and evaluate it, organize it and share it in a meaningful way."

By creating a learning loop – the culture of continuous learning – companies become more agile and helps to build a growth mindset.

"The future of work I really do believe is more about experiences," she said. "We’re moving away from the three-stage model of education, work and retirement, more to a multistage life where people are gaining experiences. They might work for a while for a company, they might work for themselves, they might go back to school or they might have a portfolio, a mix of paid and unpaid work. And retirement is happening later or not at all."

Six Tips for Becoming Better Learners

Palmer ended her webinar by sharing six tips to becoming better learners – no matter what level you’re at currently.
  1. Make time to learn – It’s not about time, it’s about priorities.
  2. Create learning goals – Focus on a skill,
  3. Understand if you want to gain knowledge or build a skill.
  4. Broaden your definition of learning.
  5. Teach others what you know.
  6. Look for opportunities to apply your skills – Practice, get feedback and reflect.

In closing, she stressed the important role managers play, helping guide learners on what they need without dictating those decisions.
“Have a career conversation and talk about their learning goals,” Palmer said. “Make sure they have a learning goal. You’d be surprised at how motivated employees get when managers have a career conversation about where they want to go with their career and their life.”

Ready for More Kelly?

LTEN members will have the chance to learn more from business leader Kelly Palmer by attending the 49th LTEN Annual Conference, June 8-11, 2020, in Kissimmee, FL.

Palmer will provide a 30-minute LTEN Talks presentation on the last day of the conference, an event that attendees will want to be sure to stick around for. Genentech has sponsored Palmer’s LTEN Talks appearance.

LTEN announces keynote lineup for the #LTEN2020

Tim Sosbe is the editorial director for LTEN. Tim is responsible for the editorial direction for LTEN Focus On Training magazine, press releases, LTEN webinars, and all things words-related. You can email Tim at

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