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The recent situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the way industries operate. From the usual office set-ups to now working from home, many employees are starting to adapt to the non-traditional way of having their work done in the comfort of their homes.

As we begin to adapt to the new normal, HR are starting to reshape and rebuild their approaches in many aspects, particularly in training and development, to continue supporting their employees who are working from home efficiently.

In order to identify the hurdles the HR is currently facing in this unprecedented time, HR Nation Masterclass has once again brought together experts in various industries to shed light and establish innovative solutions on how offices can continue to provide accessible training opportunities to their employees even on virtual set-ups.

Last July 14, 2020, HR Nation Masterclass made the “Training and Development in the Age of COVID-19” webinar possible with the help of three reputable speakers, Dr. Noel Racho, Human Resources Director at Miriam College, Ms. Cheryll Agsaoay, Vice President and HR Head at SM Supermalls, and Judah Hirsch, CEO at Salarium.

To begin with, the first topic discussed was “Upskilling of Employees Through Learning In the Flow of Work (LFW)”. The context of upskilling which is the process of learning new skills or of teaching employees new skills, is to create a degree for “future proofing” in the business by staying ahead of the curve on any skills that are shifting. These learning technologies and actions of the professionals can prevent the firm from being caught flat-footed and having to invest heavily trying to catch-up.

Based on “The Context” figure, for an organization to stay in business, it should have a skilled, adaptable, and resilient workforce. During this pandemic where uncertainty is by far the only thing certain, new business objectives should be at hand considering that there will be a lot of employee demands such as working schedules and the likes, in response to market disruptions beginning to function in a regular manner.

So, in a new lens, market disruption is your chance to learn something new, try something different, find something bigger, and most importantly see something bigger in what we all believe as the new normal.

Elements of upskilling on the other hand is based on the design thinking: Philosophy of Upskilling which focuses on the Inspiration→ Ideation→ Implementation process.

For Inspiration, as employers, you must define the needs or problems that your organization is facing right now. You must also be able to set new objectives that will be useful at present. Having empathy to understand each and everyone’s current situation would be beneficial for all.

Ideation is the ability to brainstorm or think of a prototype. For example, creating training or guidelines for a work from home set-up.

Lastly, for implementation, this is the testing stage to see if the training you have given or the plan you have implemented have worked well for your organization.

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Critical and Significant Factors in Learning and Development

1. The 4th Industrial Revolution – it is changing the way we live, work, and how we incorporate one from the other. It is more than just technological advancements because it is the opportunity to help leaders, policy makers, and people from different groups to harness converging technologies in creating a human centered future.

2. The Gig Economy – it is based on hiring freelancers or temporary employees instead of full-time employees. This is timely during this time of the pandemic.

3. Workforce Diversity – It means working collaboratively in a different set-up and through different platforms. This is not new anymore as companies have applied this in their organizations. It gives a different approach and it will be very challenging for employees to discuss everything virtually.

Technology as a platform

Blended Learning→ Online Distance Learning (synchronous and asynchronous) → Online and In-person learning

During this pandemic, everyone was forced to work remotely and virtually and it’s very challenging to have blended learning. Everybody needs to be patient as interruptions in working remotely is inevitable.

 Navigating Upskilling during COVID-19

  • Give employees explicit permission to learn (Learning how to learn)
  • Take a learner-centric approach (not facilitator-led)
  • Emphasize on-demand consumable microlearning
  • Blend content, coaching and experiential learning
  • Cultivate Learning communities of practice
  • Embed microlearning in the flow of work


To end the webinar, Judah Hirsch, Salarium’s COO, also joined Dr. Racho and Ms. Cheryll in the webinar. He introduced Salarium’s upcoming product, their touchless time and attendance formula, and explained how it could be used as a platform for real-time solutions especially in this time of the pandemic.

He talked about how biometric devices used to be the most popular method to capture time and attendance and how the recent changes forced companies to explore other options where the need to touch the same fingerprint scanner could be avoided.


In conclusion, Upskilling is a learning opportunity. People shouldn’t be “addicted” to the learning platform. We should all be able to learn something, apply it, and then go back to work. It is all about the development of the people and not just to save jobs. Learn in the process.

Virtual learning and development needs to be embraced to engage and develop employees, but the question here is, how do you think HR should implement this needed transformation? We’d love to hear from you! Share your answers with us at

Download Dr Racho’s full presentation here: Upskilling of Employees Through Learning In the Flow of Work (LFW)

Download Judah Hirsch’s full presentation here: Judah Presentation HR MasterClass


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