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Why businesses must tackle digital disruption head-on through upskilling and re-skilling

Nikhil Barshikar
6th Mar 2018
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Upskilling the current workforce is a more time and cost-effective method to become an agile and proactive business than looking for new talent through external channels.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has resulted in a digital disruption that has massively impacted various industries. Skill requirements for jobs are rapidly changing, while entire industries evolve simultaneously.

According to a NASSCOM report, nearly 40 percent of the estimated four million workforce in India will need re-skilling over the next five years to keep up with technology trends like automation that are pervading nearly every major industry. Newer technologies like cloud computing, Big Data, analytics, and Machine Learning provide immense opportunities for career growth to aspiring professionals in the IT and financial sectors. As a result, businesses in these sectors, realising the need to upgrade themselves, are focusing on adopting new-age technologies and digitisation.

However, a more pressing need for these businesses is to have the right talent that is skilled in applying these technologies or upskilling their existing talent base. For organisations to effectively achieve their business objectives, they will need to take a fundamentally different approach to managing their talent pool.

Hiring trends across organisations are dominated today by the demand for skilled individuals who have the knowledge of modern digital tools. However, instead of focusing on helping their existing talent grow, most organisations opt for external recruitment channels to locate skilled talent in the job market and hire them.

Also, a lot of organisations are usually obsessed with chasing new talent, and in the process neglecting the contribution and not valuing their existing employees. Recruiters and HR managers must focus on identifying potential employees who can be trained or skilled appropriately in order to take on higher roles in the organisation and fill the skills gaps in the organisation’s workforce.

How to upskill your workforce

The first and foremost step towards undertaking employee upskilling in your organisation is to conduct a survey of the top skills that are in demand and identify the ones your organisation needs most to keep up with emerging trends in the industry. Hence, to become a more agile and proactive business, and gain a competitive edge over the competition, upskilling the current workforce is a far more time and cost-effective method than looking for new talent through external channels. In addition, organisations must make sure that they also do the following:

  • Facilitate easy access to training and development opportunities and make them affordable for your workforce. You would also want to focus your efforts more on training employees with high productivity and morale. However, you must also make sure that all employees have equal access to all learning and skilling opportunities.
  • Make sure that the organisation’s training programmes and learning management systems are conducive to different learning styles. While some employees may be better able to learn within a traditional classroom environment, others may prefer online self-paced learning independent of teachers and trainers. Micro-learning modules covering vast topics through multiple short videos can also help employees who prefer to learn on-the-go through mobile devices.
  • Enable and encourage employees to choose their career paths by making them responsible for their personal development, thereby prompting them to make prudent decisions about furthering their prospects for growth. Employees who are conscious of their freedom to take decisions regarding their career progression are more likely to take ownership over their professional and personal growth.
  • Incentivise learning and upskilling for employees by rewarding them for completing a training programme. This will drive the importance of reskilling and upskilling in their minds, thereby developing a culture of learning in the organisation.
Upskilling and reskilling employees have proven to enhance productivity while improving employee retention rate for the organisation.

Thus, companies should consider investing in learning management systems through collaboration with skilling firms and online learning platforms. By aligning their talent retention and acquisition strategies with business strategies, organisations can ensure that they are well prepared to take the global digital disruption head-on and emerge as a major success story.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.) 

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