Digital disruption has become an integral part of our lives. Today’s businesses are responding to shifts that would have seemed unimaginable a few years ago. The corresponding changing business models often shorten the shelf life of existing skill sets in the process. New and emerging technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence, automation, the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, blockchain, and others have made businesses transform the way they work and the skills needed to thrive in changing scenarios. These technologies have compelled not only us but also our clients to transform our businesses to meet changing consumer expectations. It became imperative for an IT services organization to have an agile and ever-learning workforce that has a deep understanding of the emerging skills to respond quickly to the dynamic technology landscape.
The hyper-connectedness in this digital era has opened the world to new ways of acquiring, developing, and managing talent and work. The workforce must be built to adapt, to embrace new business strategies, and to continuously learn new skill sets. In an environment where new skills emerge as fast as others become extinct, “learnability,” or the capacity to learn new skills and adapt quickly, matters more than what a worker already knows. It is not about what you learn but rather how you learn. Today, Millennials look for greater flexibility and instant gratification, and they are highly competitive. They can engage and challenge leaders and build new ways of working in digital technologies. This new culture will not just improve the customer experience but also foster a progressive approach to the employee experience and ensure they work together to bridge the digital skills gap.
An organization needs the talent of both older and younger generations. The challenge is that employees across all experience levels have to reskill themselves. The traditional training framework will not work. We need an innovative ecosystem for employees to keep up with the rapid shifts in technology, master in-demand skills, and enhance their professional value in short timeframes. We have to make training available anytime, anywhere, on any device. We must provide platforms for social learning and creating skill-based communities where employees can learn from and be mentors to one another. We can use artificial intelligence and crowdsourcing platforms to help employees assess their existing skills and reskill themselves at a pace that is comfortable to them. Creating various learning paths aligned to emerging skills with hands-on exercises provided through a crowdsourcing platform is one of the many ways to accelerate learning.
Technology plays a big role in providing people with the flexibility to learn what they want to learn, how they want to learn it. For example, you can provide content through an e-learning module, a detailed message displayed on a mobile device or website, a webinar, or a traditional classroom-taught course. People can choose the learning mode that suits them, depending on whether they want an overview of a new technology or to develop deep expertise.
However, it is not a trivial task to get people to adopt any of the learning modes to reskill themselves. Day-to-day work will always take priority and the human tendency to procrastinate on learning are the biggest bottlenecks. And even if they join a learning program, they need a push to successfully complete it. So an organization has to use a mix of rewards and discipline to motivate employees to complete reskilling programs. Plus, we require a lot of mentors (who could be trainees themselves) to support the ecosystem. Again, creative use of technology becomes imperative in enabling the ecosystem to succeed.
During my session, “Innovative Ways to Keep the Organization Future-Ready at All Times,” at the ATD India Summit in Bangalore, I will discuss all these aspects of reskilling the organization in the era of digital disruption. Register today.