The world is witnessing a change with new innovations being developed, a new generation of employees entering the workforce, and new styles of working. Transformations in the technology arena are bringing in changes to various industries and business processes, which are directly translating to the workplace. In this rapidly evolving industry, the only way to stay relevant is to upskill oneself throughout one’s career.
Unfortunately, a lot of organizations are struggling with the challenges around upskilling in the context of automation of work. Studies indicate that only 18% of global IT workforce have a sense of their career path in the automation ecosystem.
Automation, artificial intelligence and a plethora of other emerging technologies are changing the fundamental nature of work that we have been used to over the past two decades. This is also posing disruptions regarding the future of Enterprise, the future of workforce and the future of how work gets done in the workspace, that requires to be addressed by HR teams. In this rat race to a digital-first world, it becomes vital to not only understand these shifts, but also keep pace with the evolving technology landscape. The word ‘upskilling’ is being thrown around as a buzzword quite often, but to what degree should individuals pay attention to it?
Staying relevant for the future
Gartner predicts by 2020, AI will create more jobs than it eliminates. A total of 2.3 million new jobs will be created in lieu of the 1.8 million jobs that would become redundant by 2020. With every passing year, this gap is set to increase and give rise to a skill divide. Therefore, it is important to keep abreast of current trends and update one’s skills. Every new technology comes with a certain level of disruption. However, technologies like automation allows employees to concentrate on their strengths – creativity, emotion, innovation – while handling the tasks that humans are not designed to do. Organizations will implement these technologies for improved productivity. Therefore, ensuring that individuals are not only focused on the job at hand, but also getting experience in management, servicing, career plans, mentorship etc. will act as a security blanket in this era of digital transformation.
Enriching yourself with new skills
While organizations world-over are focusing on creating programs for upskilling, employees play an equal role in ensuring they are prepared for industry 4.0. Reports suggest that of the four million jobs in the industry today, the nature of at least 60-65 percent is likely to change in the next half a decade, with current job roles changing and newer roles emerging. So, by taking online courses on the latest technologies like AI, ML, RPA, data science, data analytics, etc, employees can diversify their existing knowledge base and be prepared for the impact and change that it will have in the workforce. Infact, not only portals like Coursera offer classes, but companies are also launching in-house programs that one can refer to.
Boosting employee satisfaction
With upskilling becoming a necessity rather than a choice, employees are eager to learn new skills and abilities. Today’s generation of workers, not only look at brand names, but are also keen to work with companies that offer first-hand opportunity to work on cutting-edge tech and innovation. Today, for employees to feel valued and satisfied, it has become imperative for organizations to invest in their career development and ensure they have enough opportunities to grow. Research shows that when people are able to connect the purpose of their organization to their purpose as individuals, they are happier and more engaged at work. This can be achieved with focused training sessions, employee-to-employee skill exchange sessions, reverse mentoring by junior employees to senior ones, and online training programs. These initiatives will help organizations unlock huge efficiency and productivity gains while enhancing workers’ job satisfaction.
Increasing organizational capability
Upskilling one’s workforce ensures that their skill sets do not become obsolete and they are updated with the latest industry trends. Training and development programs are not just an investment in one’s employees, but also in the company. A knowledgeable and proactive team promises higher ROI and happier customers. Moreover, with technology unifying business processes, employees can also use their newly gained knowledge to identify and experiment opportunities to enhance productivity in their present work, while increasing the organization’s capability to compete in the future.
Now the question becomes how one can go about upskilling themselves.
The first and foremost would be to work with organizations that believe in democratising technology, and empowering people. When everyone has a robot on their desktop, mindsets transform. It takes tech companies with a vision to power up meaningful work for people and companies with a drive for automation. Follow people, industry evangelists, projects and companies and sign up for open-source certifications. Strong developer communities and forums exist where self-learners upskilling themselves have discussions with their peers tech experts. There are multiple ecosystems that feature easily downloadable, secure automations that support self-learners.
At this point, one might wonder, what is the authenticity of these programs? Since RPA is in a nascent stage in India, there is a dire need to create a talent pool of RPA developers who know RPA’s nuts and bolts in and out. Democratising the whole ecosystems helps partners, customers, and the broader developer community to come to connect and build new automation solutions to make a better world. This makes it a win-win situation for everyone. Upskilling is not only for tech experts - it is also for RPA Center of Excellence leaders, partners and C-level officers, to shorten RPA time to value with components and complete workflows, win more business by showcasing the solutions and also to build comprehensive automation solutions for multiple verticals. Automation industry leaders also have alliances with academic institutions to inculcate RPA learning in educational curricula from an early stage itself.
With automation, the fear of becoming redundant, layoffs and concern around the skill gap has also gained traction in the employee community. There is no denying that there will be a clear shift in the type of jobs offered and the skill sets required for hiring. Companies should pay attention to how automation portfolios are managed, leadership skills are polished, and how employees’ value can be maximised. HR leaders need to continuously think of reimagining work & improving. While HR has been an early mover in the space of automation, digitization has left a huge gap to cover. One needs to unlearn the current way of doing work and see how traditional tasks and activities can be automated and people & skills be repurposed. Upskilling is a symbiotic phenomenon for both the employees and the employer. This is the time to break free of inhibitions, capitalize on the power of upskilling and acknowledge that it is, in fact, a boon in disguise.
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