TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
Why is it critical to make a blueprint of future skills?
Are we on the verge of a skill crisis?
The challenge is self-evident: the animating pace of innovative change has contracted the time span of usability of skills gained by today’s college graduates to only a couple of years. In a Deloitte survey (2013) of executives at large corporations, 39% said they were either “barely able” or “unable” to address their needs to talent. Besides, it’s a fairly common practice with large companies these days where they replace thousands of employees with more digitally skilled workers. But, there’s a way we can work around the digital cords in the industry. Rather than hiring new talent, why not quickly reskill the hundreds of thousands of employees we already have.
How do we meet talent shortages? Can we look into the external labor market? Or, should we develop our own internal labor market?
Let’s just say that we’re in the middle of the
skills shift. Around 20 percent of today’s workforce has the required skills for 60 percent of the jobs that will be coming to the market within the next decade. But, we need companies to be aware of and understand this major shift. Companies with a strong brand must ensure to give the opportunity to its employees to reskill. Let’s take a look at one of AT&T’S story, which might perhaps serve as a
blueprint to companies who’re about to embark on to their own transformational journeys.
AT&T’S approach not just gives its employees an open door that encourages loyalty, it additionally ensures the respectability and progression of the institutional knowledge and informal networks that make companies run. It recognizes that while they can (and do) enroll for new skills, the supply of
technical talent with “hot” talent is more or less, limited, and competition for it is cutthroat.
The process duration for new technology has compacted and will keep on doing so. Today’s most sought-after new skills in robotics, virtual reality, software, and the likes will evolve obsolesce, so it’s savvy to invest, as AT&T is doing, in building a culture of continual reinvention, as opposed to depending on the outside market for talent.
What makes it worse, is that there are no policies in place to address this. The educational system plays a critical role here. Leading schools like Harvard and
Yale, are expanding their programs so the next generation of workforce is prepared for a continuum of a career, rather than just one. Today, the notion that education ends at the undergraduate level, the master’s level, or PH.D is a dated idea.
We need to learn by now that the systematic, industrial-age corporate ladder for career development had led to the digital-age corporate lattice, with multidirectional career paths. Each one of us is responsible for playing an active role in ensuring the relevance of our skills and the continued progression of our careers. One approach to do as such is to intermittently market the job market with skills, developing those skills that are market relevant. Visit online post sites to keep a check on which skills the market is looking for and which ones are emerging. Another approach to develop your career is to making
yourself marketable for some emerging career possibilities, thus continually brushing up your portfolio with newer skills and experiences.
If you’re an engineer, it’s safe to say that in the next five years or so, having a robotics or virtual reality experience would be an added bonus. Now, this is what we call the digital-age corporate lattice, where one continually adds emerging skills to compliment core competency. The skills, experiences and connections that landed you the position you have today are transferrable later on. Rather than climbing the ladder as you may have before, you’ll be all around – lateral and diagonal.
Performance and job mobility are two aspects tied to talent practices as well as cultural changes. Employees with long tenures are valued, however, people are now cautioned to not stay in any role for far too long. The reasoning is that if you’re doing the same job for more than 3 to 5 years, it means that you may not develop, build new skills, extending networks, and so forth. Compensation is another territory where job status has been deemphasized. Rather, more variable compensation premiums, for example, bonuses are used to motivate higher performers, and to recognize the new job skills, without making it a qualification that future compensation increments depend on.
Despite contrary belief, such programs give chances to keep employee populations relevant, and so those with relevant skills are less likely to get disintermediated. In the near future, it’s more likely that a boomer tech worker will need to invest in getting new skills that a millennial may have learned in school. How would you engage and retain employees to learn new skills, when we realize that engagement is a test only for normal work?
Engagement has always remained one of top concerns for the human resources. If you look at engagement insights, by far most of individuals are not effectively engaged. So when it comes to unlocking the potential of your workforce, engagement is true measure. Several companies are now mapping the blueprint of their future capabilities they will need. Amazon Inc., for example, recently
launched a new tuition assistance program called Career Choice. What makes the program interesting — beside its 95% tuition reimbursement — is that it recognizes that while a few people will make their professions at Amazon, others will use it to something else. Career Choice understands this, providing employees with ample of opportunities to brush up their skills and training that will lead to career betterment. Through this program, Amazonians are getting to be attendants, IT helpdesk experts, pharmacy technicians, and business truck drivers—all job fields that are popular, and that give opportunities for personal and professional growth.
If you can persuade your employees that they are deeply involved—and integral to—the reinvention of the organization, you can thus increase engagement, profitability, and success.