The rate at which technology continues to evolve demands the organizations, Learning & Development departments and HRs to keep pace with the continuous change. There is no finishing line to the race, moreover it always feels that the line has been extended yet again with another lap added to the race. Moreover, the said transformation changes not only the duration but also the nature of the never-ending pursuit, turning it into a whole new game altogether, which necessitates a player to acquire specific skill-sets to keep up with the revised rules and levelled-up playing field.
Accordingly, as a recent survey conducted among businesses in India illuminates, 64% of organizations posted the digital skills gap in the country as a potentially critical challenge to their digital journeys. In addition, 49% of employees fear that their current skill sets will be rendered obsolete in the next 4-5 years; whereas 34% believe it will happen within the next three years.
Thus, in the face of rapidly-changing digital and industrial landscape, if organizations are to survive and thrive, they must come up with innovative strategies while training their employees as experts in the novel approach. Consequently, it is no wonder that the last half-decade has seen a meteoric rise in the number of skilling and re-skilling training programs to enable amateurs as well as professionals to become job-ready for the in-demand job roles cropping up in the wake of the technological revolution.
Further, in response to the starkly grim scenario described above, the same survey also reveals India as being the home to the world’s largest talent pool with digital skills. Looking to maintain and encourage this trend, the Indian government launched initiatives like the Skill India program, to harness the talent pool existing in the country. Billed as the world’s largest training initiative, the goal of Skill India is to equip over 400 million women and men in various trade and industrial skills.
Organizations today are in need of digitally-educated professionals who are also well-possessed of the skills needed for business strategy, along with leadership qualities. Even though the raw talent pool in India stands as a potential source to meet the rising demand of such technical experts, individuals must learn to keep evolving with the digital transformation taking place in order to seamlessly merge into the organizational workforce. To achieve this, they need to combine deep industrial knowhow with excellent technological skills. The aspiring professionals therefore must learn to be equally at ease while leading a cross functional team or dealing with new technologies like AI at the same time.
On the flipside, employees also expect to work in an environment that helps them grow both individually and professionally. Therefore, the onus falls upon organizations as well to provide skilling and reskilling opportunities along with sufficient relevant resources to enable them to safely navigate the rapidly changing tides of time.
Having served several organizations, new age and legacy brands, I think that the following are some of the ways in which organizations can engage in employee reskilling and learning:
- Providing employees with a culture of continuous learning
A significant reason why employees generally choose to stop working in a particular organization is the lack of access to learning opportunities. Therefore, by facilitating on-demand access for employees to development plans, tools like reskilling opportunities and resources, organizations can establish trust with its employees. Enabling the workforce across all the organization, will thus prove to be mutually beneficial for both the organization and the Learning & Development department.
- Leveraging modern digital technologies for learning and development
Modern tools have the ability to get insights on the non-obvious development opportunities, while also recommending data-driven solutions like developmental courses and activities best suited for them. This can be done by leveraging a combination of cutting-edge technologies like AI, Deep Learning and Big Data, and algorithms to gather and analyze the employee data profile and history within an organization. The companies can then offer highly personalized learning suggestions and opportunities based on data-mined insights, along with training programs that are also more engaging for them.
- Offer an engaging and incentive-driven learning experience
An effective way to enhance the usage and impact of reskilling tools is by combining the employee development program with peer-supported communities and by incentivizing positive actions using tools like gamification. Employees can get a more immersive and fun learning experience by engaging with social communities, along with an opportunity to earn points, badges and similar rewards. While working with various enterprise clients, at Udacity, we have observed that this strategy works particularly well with a young workforce. Lastly, employee reskilling process can be further enhanced by facilitating access to learning resources via convenient tools like mobile apps that can enable a user to engage in quick and targeted skill development programs.
Technological advancement and adoption of digital infrastructure by organizations has opened up a plethora of job opportunities for skilled professionals. By extending their support to the HR by providing them reskilling and career development tools and resources, organizations from their end can ensure a long-term and fruitful association with their employees, thus creating a win-win situation for everyone.