Today’s blog is the last in my future business series we’ve covered multiple topics over the last five weeks and I hope that some of the themes resonated with you.

Work Life balance; flexibility and wellbeing
Revolutionising Recruitment with Tech
Protecting Our Planet Post-Covid
Meaningful Service; Better Collaboration
Changing Customer – The New Supply Chain

In last week’s blog on the changing customer, I mentioned how automation will always need people at the heart of it.

Humans have an advantage when it comes to authentic interaction. People can recognise inherent social cues, offer an ability to communicate and demonstrate soft skills such as; adaptability, creativity, decision making, problem-solving and conflict resolution. Essential workplace skills are much more reliable when delivered by a human.

Change is coming, but instead of being concerned that a robot will take our jobs, we need to become a more superior version of our current self and outdo the skills of a machine. To keep up with technological advancement we need to focus on, and embrace, developing our knowledge and ability… it’s up to us to create, share and support opportunities to reskill.

For some organisations, upskilling is an afterthought, that might be because many don’t predict automation as a risk in their business… but what about the risk to the workforce? We’ve seen recently how quickly our teams can be impacted by job losses, performance pressures and adaptability – so what are we doing to invest in them?

By proactively growing the skill sets of your existing employees you can position your business for continued success. A full-scale upskilling initiative can do the following;

  • Satisfy employees who expect growth opportunities
  • Boosts employee satisfaction, performance, morale, and motivation
  • Help your organisation stay competitive
  • Improve retention and employee turnover
  • Lessen the need to recruit outside the business to fill a skill gap

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    We can approach upskilling in many ways. Here are some pointers, which in my experience, have helped develop an effective and successful upskilling strategy:

    Acceptance of change – we need to be open to identifying and acknowledging skill gaps and acting to improve them, even if it feels uncomfortable to do so. Upskilling efforts must align with business needs and objectives – in some cases embracing new skills should be mandatory for business success.

    Focus on the value – While there is value in leveraging training for new software or technology, it’s also a high-risk area for automation. Soft skills tend to have longer-term value – they’re transferable and maximise personal potential and resilience.

    Empowering employees – You will get more commitment by giving employees ownership and control of their own destiny. Personal Development Reviews (PDRs) are a good way to make upskilling part of BAU. PDRs encourage employees to consider their own skillset and opportunities for improvement.

    Promote clear career paths – Roadmaps for the future will demonstrate a businesses passion for, and commitment to, developing its people. Career paths should highlight the skills/training needed to progress and the job role opportunities available within the business.

    Making training easily available – Training doesn’t have to be an effort. Use online training providers to support with learning platforms, form a Learning and Development team to deliver classroom or virtual training sessions, or even look to your in-house experts to build less formal training and monitoring.

    Really allowing employees time to upskill – By offering time to the learner during the working week businesses will demonstrate that they are committed to people development. This might be an afternoon where they can engage in e-learning, attend classroom training or take time to practice a practical skill.

    For the first time in a long time, we can’t predict the future of jobs. Oxford Economics has forecasted that robots will replace up to 20 million factory jobs by 2030, so there’s no surprise that anxiety over automation is widespread. It’s a very real concern, but we have to ask ourselves; what can be done to improve the human experience?

    Let’s not forget that humans have a good way of creating new processes, industries and opportunities to meet the latest demand or consumer trend. We are constantly inventing, brainstorming, pitching and testing, and will always have a role to play; the quality control, the programmer, the person switching on in a morning or cleaning down at night.

    We need to bridge the gap between traditional ways of working and advancements in technology by arming people with the tools to embrace change, the confidence to adapt and above all the skills to succeed.