The past year presented us with a crash course on the importance of lifelong learning.
Over a year ago, when we thought the pandemic would last all of three weeks (how naïve we were), we were given a taste of the technological advancements we’re accelerating towards. Headsets became our best friend, while TikTok and virtual game nights became our coping mechanisms. We were forced to become agile and resilient in the face of a 73% increase in the WFH dynamic. Communication took place entirely within the online sphere, while learning was maintained within virtual classrooms. Is that it? Now that we’re seeing a gradual return to offices, do we really need to keep up to date with the world’s latest tech advancements and in-demand skills? Unless you’re a regularly updated machine, the answer is likely yes.
We have experienced firsthand how the world of work can be unpredictable. The last 15 years have seen the development of machine learning, hand-held smart communication and new battery life technologies, so what will the next 15 or 20 years bring? The idea that your graduate degree will determine every future role no longer applies. Of course, there are people out there whose childhood dream of becoming a doctor seems fulfilled every time they reach for their scrubs, for many this is not the case.
Artificial intelligence threatens to redesign the business landscape as we know it. Admin roles are already being written out entirely. An evolving world should be mirrored within the inner workings of an organisation. However, letting go of team members due to sub-par skillsets is a waste of valuable resources.
Instead, businesses should focus on upskilling and reskilling existing staff within the organisation. Why?
It increases productivity: Opportunities for development and growth are strong incentives to offer your workforce. According to Gallup, highly engaged business units have a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity - engaged team members who experience opportunities for progression within their career will not only be happier in their role but also more productive!
It improves employee retention and enhances talent acquisition capabilities: Deloitte’s 2020 Millennial Survey discovered that the majority of Millennials prefer to be employed with businesses that offer upskill and reskill training programmes, seeing this as a greater opportunity to quickly move up the business ladder while also increasing job loyalty. Upskilling opportunities encourages consistent personal growth for the team. Besides, no one wants to work at a company that doesn’t invest in personal career development!
It creates a culture of learning: Lifelong learning allows employees to diversify their skillsets and allows the workforce to adapt to new ideas, concepts, and technological advancements. Simultaneously, the evolution of existing skills encourages gender and age gaps to be filled. Training needs to be embraced by the entire business, including C-suite executives and managers. Unless the entirety of the organization value lifelong learning, how can employees be expected to? Plus, this assists in the creation of innovative business culture.
Upskilling can be something small, like learning a new technology solution. Or it can be part of a much larger effort, like incorporating AI skills into the daily tasks of an employee. Sometimes, the rate of change is so big that skills must be entirely upended. Not only does this help to bridge the skills gap, but it represents a supportive employee culture. Reskilling also helps organisations to maintain institutional knowledge which cannot always be taught so easily.
Organisations need to look ahead at the roles which will be created as a result of the rapid evolution of technology, rather than just focusing on roles that are available right now. To advance within fresh business opportunities, preparing staff for what lies ahead will benefit both employer and employee in the constant race against technological advancement.
Is your business prepared for the tech evolution to come? Click here to explore the recruitment solutions we offer and how we can support your growing team.