Ten reasons why it is necessary for IT and Non-IT companies to upskill their employees

By : |June 26, 2020 0

With automation impacting several existing jobs and some jobs losing relevance, it’s becoming extremely critical for people as well as companies to invest and grow future-proof skills. Technology is not only enabling new opportunities, but it’s also creating skill gaps where the demand for skilled workers in especially high. Given below are ten reasons why companies must upskill their employees.

1. Companies don’t want to lose loyal employees. But they know that without new-age skills they will get replaced by digitally native ones

Automation is replacing a lot of existing skills, but companies can retain critical resources by upskilling them to create a great blend of wisdom. This comes from experience and new-age skills that come from investing in continuously upskilling them. As organisations, they need to realise the importance of staying relevant or running the risk of losing to nimble-footed competition and start-ups with new-age skills.

2. Companies are finding that there is just not enough skilled talent readily available

According to a recent PwC study, 55% of employers feel that skills shortage is leading to poor quality of fresher hiring. The fourth industrial revolution is bringing about ‘Tech-tonic shifts’ in the need for specific skills especially in the operations function across both IT and non-IT companies.

Skills like IoT, Data-analytics, Cyber-Security are in high demand, but with very few graduates available with the requisite skills. This has given birth to job-oriented upskilling courses from edtech companies like Manipal ProLearn who run 2-3 month-long finishing school courses for freshers in precisely such specialised courses for captive placement in companies. Upskilling at the point of entry hence becomes critical.

3. Companies want to future-proof themselves

In the new normal where work-from-home and remote working are forcing organisations to relook at ways and means of increasing productivity, they need to match displaced talent with open skill-adjacent positions and transfer those with skills in high demand to critical positions within the organisation. This makes it crucial to aggressively invest in upskilling to remain valuable to the industry. Futureproofing requires not just closing existing skill gaps but strategically evaluating the changing skills required for the future and making sure the organisation has the employees who specifically have those – either by upskilling or reskilling or hiring. Of the three, upskilling is generally considered the fastest and most cost-effective.

4. Companies want multi-skilled employees and are making it easier to be so

Companies are putting a greater value to polyglots and multi-skilled employees rather than single-skilled specialists. Such talent is easily deployable in a world with fewer jobs but needing multiple skills. Most forward-looking companies have started providing a robust library of e-courses that enable e-learning with a certification that helps build a highly-skilled talent pool, ready to take on whatever role that is assigned to them.

5. Companies value soft-skills especially creativity and innovation

Referring to research by Microsoft on the future of learning, only 42% of employers believe new Gen Z graduates have the skills necessary to be adequately prepared for the workforce. This provides an opportunity to reinforce existing talent with important skills such as creativity, innovation, design thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving. These skills are likely to witness renewed focus as employees are pushed to innovatively solve new business problems.

6. Companies want to engage while at the same time ensure learning outcomes

Companies are using gamification in learning to boost learner engagement, and bite-sized modules or microlearning have improved the flexibility to learn wherever and whenever possible for their employees. Interactive segments like trivia games, podcasts, and real-life simulations have become part of immersive offerings for upskilling employees.

7. Companies want a non-disruptive tool like ‘digital learning’

Companies have invested in LMS (learning management systems) to ensure that employee learning can easily occur without disrupting their existing work schedules. They are ensuring that content is bite-sized and engaging, and little nuggets of knowledge make it easy for employees to grasp new subjects with the least amount of time and effort.

8. Companies have realised that better the collaboration, higher the rate of success

Companies are using project-teams to breed ‘organic upskilling’. Every team member in a project-team brings a particular skill to the project. Working in cross-functional teams with people with different skills helps in learning organically. Companies have realised it’s a great way to develop skills, share expertise and create an open and inclusive culture. And to ensure the success of a project, it creates the right kind of organizational culture where while the organisation is constantly transforming, it’s also encouraging employees to bring their best to the table.

9. Companies are using upskilling programs to provide higher employee motivation

Companies are using ‘Continuous Development Learning Programs’ as part of their standard benefits package to employees. They have realised the limitations of formal education and life experiences in providing skill enhancements, and, hence, provide opportunities for continuous development through constant learning. It allows employees to look at things in newer ways, with a fresh perspective to help them approach a problem differently and build creative solutions that have a larger impact in this customer-centric world. This leads to higher motivation and higher morale.

 10. Companies want to build and sustain a competitive advantage

Companies that want to build and sustain a competitive advantage to stay ahead can only do so when they have the right talent that can deliver on their organisational USP. These organisations need to have cutting edge talent which can deliver using skills relevant not just to their current role but advanced ones too.

Organisations constantly assess their employees through formal and informal methods using Assessment and Development Centres to evaluate the strengths and development areas of their workforce. This helps them gauge where each employee stands and allows the organisation to chart a learning path to develop the skills which they will need in their next/targeted role. At the same time, professional roles are evolving, driving the need to change the composition of talent in organisations. This again leads to the need for upskilling.

This article is authored by Mr Sanjeev Goel, Manipal ProLearn, Head – Revenues (CG&O)

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