This essay explores the speculative question ‘What might learning and development look like in 2030 for Manitoban credit unions?’ with a focus on the influences of digitization and digital technologies. The essay begins with a summary of the key influences and current state of credit unions in Manitoba, proceeds to speculate on how learning and development (L&D) might evolve for Manitoban credit unions, its impact on traditional hierarchical structures, manager-employee relationships, employee expectations, and highlight another shift that could set in as 2030 closes. The paper will conclude with a short narrative about Frankie, a gender-neutral twenty-one year old credit union employee, and their parent, Skyler in 2030.

Credit unions in Manitoba are emerging from a year of growth, steadfast in their commitment to local communities (Hamilton, J. 2021). The pandemic has driven a shift to digital that is now acknowledged as permanent. The Canadian credit union system is also entering the fourth wave of evolution, a period of realignment driven by competition, open banking, customer preferences, regulatory requirements, technological changes, and the quest for scale resulting in mergers and acquisitions. Collaboration and cooperation will be essential and credit unions need to improve and develop to provide value throughout the 21st century. One of the ways credit unions can prepare to meet this demand is by investing in talent development and having highly skilled people to meet transformation initiatives (Moore, D.2021).  Right now there are no full-fledged learning teams or significant investment in employee learning beyond the mandated certifications, compliance modules, basic product training led by branch staff for frontline employees, and employee onboarding, in any of the local credit unions. This is changing as a matter of survival, accelerated by the pandemic as the conservative credit unions wake up to the future that caught up on them unaware. So what will L&D look like for Manitoban credit unions in 2030?

By 2030 learning and innovation will be a way of life . The major credit unions will invest in qualified L&D teams with leaders reporting into the C-suite. This trend will catch on to the whole system as smaller credit unions merge with the larger ones. We will see an increasing uptick in L&D investments like employee professional development, learning and collaboration tools, qualified L&D staff, and technology supports to build and implement in-house learning offerings. Autonomous learning, reskilling, and upskilling will become imperative to attract and retain talent. L&D teams will need to prepare to support the diverse needs of new Canadian employees who may not have had the same access to technology. Credit unions will emphasize and provide incentives for personal development with staff empowerment being the mission. The culture of the organization around L&D will become important as will allowing for independent thinking, risk-taking, personal growth, and ambition for the future. Self-development will integrate knowledge and skills from the past, future needs of the credit union, and the future goals of the employee.

Peer-supported employee-led learning and coaching will become the norm as employees self-organize into fully open online learning communities. While the LMS will continue to hold learning data and mandated regulatory modules, learning will evolve beyond the LMS into learning communities leveraging collaborative Intranet channels. Qualified learning professionals will support from the side, using hybrid approaches that synthesize external offerings and in-house learning, evolving the organizational learning eco-system. Cloud-based technologies will open channels for flexible learning, real-time communication, and collaboration. An eco-system approach that will combine formal and informal upskilling and reskilling elements like cross-functional and external partner collaboration, stretch assignments, employee-led innovation, and cross-level mentoring partnerships will prevail. The movement will be enhanced by the voice of the customer with measurements and evaluation systems embedded in the learning pathways well before 2030. Online learning and innovative use of digital channels will be increasingly appreciated as environmentally friendly, strategically essential elements to unite a hybrid workforce, and meet competitive goals. Collaborative learning will become part of a workday as credit unions adopt cloud-based subscription services like the Microsoft suite of apps to stay connected and get the job done. How will this impact traditional hierarchical structures, manager-employee relationships, and employee expectations?

Traditional hierarchical systems will give away as employees at all levels collaborate to gain and share knowledge with the collective goal of relevance and growth. Employees will gain a louder voice as employee surveys and polls will be used to improve learning offerings. Power dynamics will shift as knowledge silos are broken and knowledge sharers gain prominence over knowledge holders. Reverse mentoring opportunities where aging leaders seek to learn from younger employees will become essential. Employees will expect L&D as part of the compensation package with learning time woven into work time. Employees will demand learning and managers will need to support and engage in reskilling and upskilling efforts to meet business goals. Traditional leadership and management practices will need to be revisited and new approaches adopted. The lure of technology will grow and employee learning will evolve propelled by the power of people, process efficiencies, technology support, and deliberate employee-led practices. However, towards the end of the decade, a different awareness will begin to trickle in.

Towards 2030, the euphoria will settle down, and an awareness of digital pollution and the impact of digital learning on the environment will start to trickle in,. It is then like highlighted by Selwyn we will start to see how the production of digital artifacts and devices is an environmentally destructive process (Selwyn, N. 2021). Learning professionals will then quote Selwyn to say ” It is worth thinking how our current reliance on ‘abundant’ technology use might soon be curtailed by (i) the ongoing depletion of natural resources and (ii) increasingly unsustainable energy demands arising from the production and consumption of digital resources might soon curtail”. The environmentally committed credit unions will be listening keenly and revisiting the digital explosion, as the decade draws to a close.

A short narrative about Frankie, a credit union employee in 2030 is added below to illustrate how different the employee experience might be in 2030.

Frankie is 24 years old and they work with XYZ Credit Union, one of the three credit unions in Manitoba post mergers and acquisitions. Their day begins at 9:30 when they log into their workstation, to offer chat support to members.  After two hours, they turn on their ‘Jabber’ to mentor their manager Aiden, on digital leadership and show a colleague how to navigate the new loans management system using screen-share. An hour later Frankie is back on the support desk, chatting to members, taking audio courses on the side, and tweeting anecdotes. It is member meeting time now and Frankie turns on the videocon. A quick conversation later, Frankie assesses the member persona to be a ‘Young Urbanite’, updates their team space on Yammer, and provides other teams insights on how to support young urbanities. A few conversation threads later, it’s time for a working meeting with their counterpart in Gillam updating the merger plan on SharePoint as they show each other’s cats. Skylar their parent remembers the ‘good old days when learning on the job meant peering over their colleagues’ system to observe and asks Frankie if their manager approved the time spent on chat, Twitter, and learning. Frankie raises an eyebrow and opens a virtual coffee chat to coach a member on budget basics.



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