The Association for Talent Development (ATD) Middle East Conference and Exhibition powered by Informa Connect, was held from, 21nd to 25th June 2020. In light of the current pandemic, this moved away from its traditional format to a digital concept. Hearing from World Class Global and Regional Thinkers such as Brandon Carson, Berry Lumpkins, Joseph Hayes, Dr. Mansoor Habib, and many more. ATD Middle East was an opportunity for Learning and Development (L&D) & HR professionals to come together from various organisations, industries across the globe from the comfort of their own homes; to connect, collaborate and share content, which is impacting Business Leaders and L&D in the current times. During a crisis is when extraordinary demands are placed on a business and leadership capabilities are often tested. Navigating through a crisis, Leaders need to:

  • Recognise the challenges and the opportunities which a crisis presents; embedding a resilient cultural mindset throughout the organisation.
  • Remain focused, be clear, calm, motivational, and be able to create and communicate decisions effectively.
  • Manage workforce, capabilities and well-being, and demonstrate empathy.

Organisational Resilience is a strategic capability which allows a business to have the ability and agility to survive and thrive in an ever-changing world. Building a successful digital transformation strategy has been on the agenda for organisations for many years now. Utilising cutting edge technology can bring significant value to organisations, help gain competitive advantage, deliver better value, reduce operating costs and improve bottom line. Inevitably, as a result of the pandemic, this accelerated digital transformation:

  • Going from traditional 9-5 office to working ‘flexibly’ from home (WFH)
  • Retail and Hospitality which rely on face to face interactions, developed new business models i.e. online shopping, virtual cooking classes etc.
  • The rise of digital learning (websites, e-books, online lectures, webinars, podcasts etc)

Accelerating the pace of technological change has had positive outcomes, and this will continue as businesses roll out products and solutions, to meet the evolving needs of consumers as well the workforce. Learning and Development has always been important, and aligned to organisational goals. However the learning culture, processes and behaviours haven’t always been clear. With the new ways of working and new working arrangements, focal point has been placed on L&D; a key strategic partner to:

  • Keep employees engaged, motivated, connected.
  • Ensure the right skills and capabilities. (move from classroom to digital learnings)
  • Create an agile learning culture to unlock talent potential.

This focus has enabled business to deliver during challenging times in line with the direction of the organisation. So although, Leadership Capabilities, Digital Transformation and L&D have always been an on the agenda,  It is Resilience and the ability to bounce back, the capacity to adapt in the face of adversity, while maintaining a stable mental wellbeing, which is the key ingredient to organisations succeeding during these unprecedented times.