December 11, 2020  

3 ways to build the workforce of tomorrow
Athina Kanioura, PepsiCo’s EVP and Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, shares her advice on keeping teams ahead of the latest technology. 

Data and analytics have the power to fuel change and accelerate investment — two things that can dramatically transform a business. “Data and analytics is not a ‘nice to have’ in the company,” says Athina Kanioura, EVP and Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer for PepsiCo. “It’s an imperative — it’s a top priority for every corporation.”

An accomplished leader in applying data and artificial intelligence to advance organizations, Athina presented her vision on driving business transformation powered by technology at the Reuters Momentum Virtual Forum on Dec. 10. Along with leaders from Facebook, Microsoft and Google, Athina shared insights on the way technology is shaping the future of business and society.

One of the biggest areas of development she says businesses must address: fostering a culture of innovation, one where talent is fluent in data and continuous learning is second nature. "Upskilling across the whole of the organization will lead you to success,” she says.

Here are three types of learning that Athina says can help build the workforce of the future in every part of a business, starting now:

Workplace learning

“Number one, you need a workplace learning environment where, through digital content, through gamification, through the community, you can continuously upskill the people,” Athina says. The key is to “democratize the information,” she says, with on-the-job tools that are easily accessible to every team member. She notes a wealth of job aids that make sharing knowledge readily available: wikis, simulations, knowledge management systems, video podcasts, job shadowing and apps, to name a few.

Capability Development principles presentation slide.

A highlight from Athina’s presentation at the Reuters Momentum virtual conference.

Informal learning

Setting the stage for interactions between people who have experience with data and analytics and people who want to learn is an effective way to amplify knowledge within a company, Athina explains. “Coach the coaches,” she says, to infuse information throughout an organization. Networking forums, coaching and mentoring, and processes that establish learning experts all can help forge connections.

Formal learning
When people need to acquire or deepen a specialized skillset, continuing education programs can be game changers. “In some domains, especially around cloud and data, formal certification that can establish expertise about a specific capability is super-important,” Athina says. In these cases, she advises offering options for accreditation through e-learning, virtual classrooms and instructor-led training.