In the AI age, reskilling workers has become necessary to prepare employees for new career opportunities. Modern automation is creating a change in the employment landscape of a type we have never encountered before. According to the Harvard Business Review, millions of people are likely to be impacted by this latest technological development. As modern software takes over more and more repetitive tasks, humans are no longer needed to perform them in the workplace. Employers have an important role to play in the new, developing employment situation and it’s not too late for more of them to get on board.
Investment in Reskilling Necessary
In 2019, Economic Co-operation and Development predicted that new automation techniques would eliminate 14% of jobs worldwide. Another 32% of jobs would be “radically transformed” due to automation.
Employers are already finding it challenging to attract candidates with the skills necessary to fill available positions. This disconnect between people looking for work and skills needed for available job opportunities is nothing new. In the AI age, lack of training will exacerbate this issue. When companies invest in training, both the business and the employees benefit.
Companies Take Charge of Reskilling Workers
Companies that have already committed to reskilling their workforce have identified five main shifts in their approach:
- They recognize that reskilling workers is a strategic requirement.
Businesses understand the challenges of an aging workforce, the new careers emerging in the AI age, and a need for workers to develop company-specific skills. Reskilling employees is an efficient way to fill skills gaps within the company. The employees are already familiar with company policies and procedures and with the proper training, can easily step into their new roles.
- Every manager and leader in the company has a role to play in reskilling workers.
Reskilling workers isn’t something that comes down from the executive suite to workers. Managers and leaders have a responsibility to talk to team members about reskilling and identify those who would be interested in learning a new job function. Managers are in a unique position to find employees who have the skills required for new opportunities.
- Reskilling requires management to focus on multiple skills simultaneously.
Managers must become aware of the types of skills employees currently possess, along with those necessary to keep the company competitive. They can reach this goal by developing a “skill taxonomy,” which is a detailed list of skills required for each job at the company. The taxonomy can be developed independently, or a company can work with a third-party provider to develop their database.
Next, managers need to determine which skills should be matched to specific jobs. (Managers from different departments may not agree on how to categorize different skills.) Finally, leaders decide the skills they will need for reskilling workers for future opportunities.
Once employees with the requisite skills are located, they can be recruited for on-the-job reskilling opportunities. The best results for reskilling employees come from shadowing employees currently in the role, offering internal apprenticeships, and allowing an employee to work in the new position on a trial basis
- Employees are on board with reskilling, when it makes sense for them.
Keep in mind that you need to cover the WIIFM (What’s In IT For Me) factor when you are trying to explain the plan to current employees. If they don’t understand how they will personally benefit, they will be hesitant to adopt it.
- Multiple players are required to ensure a reskilling program’s success.
Companies interested in reskilling workers or upskilling them don’t have to go it alone. They can look to industry-wide reskilling programs developed to meet the talent needs of an entire industry sector. Non-profit organizations are also a good source of reskilling programs for employees. Government and college programs are also good options for companies looking for employee training program partners.
Many Companies Slow to Adapt to Reskilling Workers
Unfortunately, many companies are slow to get on the reskilling workers’ bandwagon. Their efforts have been stymied by the lack of rigor about how to measure employees’ skills and evaluate the same. Companies also struggle with a lack of information about how to generalize and scale up the successful features of reskilling programs. To adapt, companies will need to develop ways to learn from the many reskilling investments of today. At that point, reskilling will become more common.
ERP and Reskilling
ERP software is one of the areas that is seeing the effects of AI. The rise of AI has allowed for more process automation and greater business insights. This ERP technology allows employees to share information and train new hires more easily. Ensuring best practices are followed is easier with one system to host critical data and processes. Training more employees to use the ERP system is a good example of reskilling workers.