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HR Insights Into EdTech 2021 – An Expert Viewpoint
2020 will go down in the annals of history as a year that changed everything. The consequences and effects of this year will be felt for years to come. One of the positives was that despite the pandemic, or perhaps because of it, EdTech grew tremendously as an industry, and as a concept. When you cannot go to learn, learning must come to you – and never before have so many diverse people wanted, and needed, to upskill through learning.
And when students are aplenty, we must also have those to facilitate this learning. The EdTech sector is riding the crest of a wave, and its future looks bright. Emeritus has been hiring right through 2020 and 2021. We have, and will always have, space for people with great ideas – even ideas that fail.
Remote Working: How EdTech Bloomed
Emeritus had embraced a 21st century approach to work long before the pandemic. We hired talented, innovative people, and then let them do their jobs – from wherever they want to be.
For example, an Emeritus course designer from the UK was hired in Boston but worked out of Mexico City. Our co-founder works out of France. A junior program advisor switched to hourly schedules with us so he could take up a full-time course in Paris. For Emeritus, the advantage of hiring without geographic specificity is that we can hire from a huge, cross-functional, global talent pool.
COVID-19 escalated the need for companies to switch to remote working, and it’s a trend that seems here to stay. Multiple tech firms have already announced that they will allow WFH forever, and what tech does, we all eventually adopt.
Trending Now: HR Practices Across The World
Globally, in the last decade, Human Resources has become one of the most important cogs, rather than a service or business partner. From its current nascent stage, the people function will evolve, leveraging technology and work dynamics. To ensure and retain happy workforces, firms will have to invest smartly in growth, development, identification, and segmentation of talent.
In my 18 years of cross-vertical experience across banking, financial, and telecom industries to now EdTech, I’ve noticed three big trends that are global and pervasive:
- Learning On The Go: For working professionals today, being in a class or attending an online live learning module is the only way to learn. Emeritus offers a number of asynchronous learning options today, including WhatsApp courses that are highly attractive.
- Continuous Learning: With no specific age limit anymore about starting or stopping learning, lifelong learning and upskilling has become a much-accepted ideal.
- Moving Towards Gig/Contractor-Driven Economy: Professionals believe their skills can be deployed across multiple projects and organizations, at the same time. Whether as a chauffeur at Uber or freelancing in data science hacks for multiple unicorns, this has become the norm.
Innovations at Emeritus:
Emeritus is home to diverse cultures and viewpoints, and thus needs quicksilver thinking and action plans.
- Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee ensures consideration of diverse voices and viewpoints without discrimination at the workplace
- Lateral movements within the organization, and across locations
- Prioritization of internal talent for new and dynamic functions
- Need to upskill and reskill via leadership and talent programs, cross functional and global exposure for top performers, as well as senior mentorship. Emeritus team members can always take up courses from the best universities worldwide.
- The Jedi Knights program allows top performers with great leadership potential to be selected through a rigorous process for a year-long journey where they are groomed for senior leadership by global teams. A current Jedi Knight from India will now move to head marketing in Mexico. Another will lead the global academic delivery team.
Emeritus: Setting Our Sights On The Future
There are large regions of the world that offer the opportunity to further democratize education in the next five years — prime amongst them being Europe, LATAM, and China. These regions also offer firms the opportunity to offer education in a variety of in-demand languages. Emeritus is also looking to partner with more educational institutions across the globe, to offer a variety of courses for learners.
Our plan is to grow 10x in the next two or three years, in terms of revenue and students. Effectively, this means that we touch the lives of half a million students in the next five years.
For this goal, the role of HR is to build talent: hire, retain, and develop A+ resources from within the company and from the overall market. At Emeritus, A+ talent are superstars; the very best for the role from the market. These are individuals who have aced every role they have been in. We identify them via a methodology called TopGrading.
Specifically, at Emeritus, we’re always on the lookout for product managers, marketing people, those who love design and content, and people who sell very well. But generally, I’d say that if you can make the lives of our learners better, we’re interested in a conversation.