Here’s looking at the challenges organisations face in making employees future-ready
India, having added over 1,300 startups in 2019, has become the third largest startup ecosystem in the world.
However, a large percentage of the Indian population still fails to find jobs that meet their expectations in terms of job satisfaction and salary. This is largely because a majority of the country’s workforce lacks the skills to stay updated with the wave of technological transformation that has swept the world in recent years.
Educational institutes, students/employees, and companies are trying to cope with this massive change.
The advent of new-age technologies such as AI, ML, data analytics, and blockchain has made a number of jobs redundant, leaving many jobless and the rest scrambling to hone their skills to help them stay afloat in the ever-changing jobs landscape.
Much like employees, organisations also face a series of challenges in driving upskilling and reskilling programmes. From recruiting top talent to enabling existing employees to retain their jobs through skill development, let’s look at some of the main hurdles organisations face in today’s dynamic business ecosphere.
Cost and time
Companies need to invest a considerable amount of resources like time and money to make employees digitally agile. At the same time, employees also need to be given incentives and certifications once they complete their training.
According to Mercer | Mettl’s State of Workplace Learning & Development 2020, organisations that don’t issue certifications post-training lag in achieving in training effectiveness. It stands at 34 percent compared to 47 percent for organizations that choose issuance of digital certifications.
Certificates make employees feel accomplished and still organisations don’t employ auto-synced certification services. Training effectiveness and employee performance can be increased with a little tweak to existing training programmes.
Depending on the skill, it might not be a one-time training, and companies would have to continually offer training to employees based on the need at hand. Investing in reskilling also means that sufficient time is allocated for the training period and that KRAs of the employees who have been trained are managed accordingly.
Naturally, facilitating necessary structural reforms within the organisation in sync with the requirements of a robust L&D initiative requires a large amount of capital to be invested. This poses a problem, especially for small and medium-scale businesses that might not have adequate access to funding.
Applicability of the skills
Another problem that reskilling and upskilling poses to organisations relates to the level of relevance of skills employees are being trained in. The applicability of these skills in solving everyday business challenges in real time is a critical aspect that cannot be overlooked.
The skills that the employees are learning should be relevant to the kind of job that they do to yield optimum results. The skills must be employed by professionals in their day-to-day work and KRAs, without which the whole purpose of training is lost. A few months down the line, employees are bound to forget the new skills without practice. Training without applicability is as good as no training.
Though it sounds easier said than done, training effectiveness will only help businesses in the long run. Without it, there’s no going ahead into the future.
HRs, L&D experts, and managers have to come together to design systems, processes, and tools to measure how post-training performance measurement can be integrated into daily projects the individuals are handling.
When technology takes over any organisational responsibility, causing an employee to lose his job, the immediate reaction among other employees is “who’s next?” This has to be overcome with the constant assurance that a blended approach and human-machine interaction will be the future of work.
While machines can be high on accuracy and speed, humans will be involved in planning and soft skills.
The integration of cutting-edge technology should not make employees feel threatened. The onus of hosting talk sessions and seminars falls upon organisations to explain how and how much digital transformations will affect organisational structure.
Transparent and effective communication is key to building trust in employees and keeping them motivated. Employees have to be brought within the fold of the belief system that getting trained and skilled in new technologies will not only help organisations evolve, but also help them be on the forefront of ultra-modern competencies.
They have to come to the conclusion that they are bringing changes in organisational processes, and that organisations and employees are co-existing elements of the business world.
Acquiring and retaining the workforce
NASSCOM may have come up with the Futureskills programme, which focused on over 150 skills, with more than 70 of them in technology-related roles such as AI, blockchain, RPA, and so on, but a vast percentage of students and employees do not have access to such programmes.
This reveals that retaining top talent is another obstacle that businesses struggle with. There's an issue of attrition and loss of knowledge to competitors. If you are investing in reskilling, you want to leverage that for some time.
This challenge is further compounded when one considers various market studies that highlight how younger generations, like the millennials and GenZ, are less likely to work with a single organisation for a long period of time.
A balance is needed between attrition and training investments. HR has to become a part of business strategy and discussed in the boardroom with as much vigour as business expansion plans because, eventually, business depends on human capital and without being future-ready, businesses face failure.
The key to bridging the skill gap
The digital economy requires a workforce that is agile, knowledgeable, and willing to adapt quickly to change.
In today’s world, where technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate and scale, an employee who possesses limited skill sets will not be able to retain a job in the long run and will also fail to achieve professional growth.
Consequently, along with organisations, educational institutes also need to overhaul their pedagogy and curriculum to reflect and engage with transformations occurring in the global industrial landscape.
Rather than looking at skill building merely as a tool for job opportunities or to retain a current job, it must be incorporated from schools and colleges to establish a culture of learning and getting future-ready.
Apart from technical skills, soft skill training must also be a part of curriculums in schools, colleges, and organisations. Only concerted efforts by the government and private sector can build a future-ready workforce. And doing so will take India a step further towards its dream of becoming a $5 trillion economy.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)