Are you training your staff for the next industrial revolution?

Here's how you need to change your approach to employee development in order to support the rise of connected learners
27 September 2018

Make sure you train your executives for the jobs they need to handle tomorrow. Source: Shutterstock

The fourth industrial revolution is fuelled by technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), and automation. Look around, it’s almost here.

Manufacturers are experimenting with these technologies — almost everyone has run a few successful pilot projects — and many are ready to deploy them at scale.

Their biggest limitation? Competent, trained, and qualified staff.

A London First survey spoke to 1,000 UK businesses and found that 61 percent of them expect automation alone to change their skills needs by 2025.

Gartner, who spoke to a broader group of employers, found that only 20 percent of employees have the skills they need for both their current role and their future careers.

“Most organizations are undergoing a digital transformation that directly impacts how they do business, yet 70 percent of employees have not mastered the skills they need for their jobs today, and 80 percent of employees do not have the skills needed for their current and future roles,” according to Gartner.

In fact, it seems as though 64 percent of managers don’t think that their employees are going to be able to keep pace with future skills needs.

Therefore, organizations that want to thrive in the digital-first world must train their employees and help them gain the skills that the businesses will require.

The rise of connected learners

According to Gartner, the most effective way to help employees keep pace with shifting skill needs is by building connected learners. Organizations, therefore, need to evolve their approach to employee development across several key areas:

# 1 | Skills identification:

Instead of trying to keep up with leader requests, companies should capture the skills shifts in the market and determine the most pressing skill needs for employees across the organization.

It’s important for businesses to remember to plan for immediate and future needs simultaneously. Helping employees develop an inclination towards technology is a good starting point as most of tomorrow’s jobs will be driven by digital skills.

# 2 | Employee motivation:

Rather than just communicating skills requirements, employees need to understand how they can personally grow by developing the skills the organization needs.

Whether it is a pay hike or a better position, sufficient motivation can accelerate learning and help the organization achieve its learning objectives quickly.

# 3 | Learning solutions:

Providing self-service development options can overwhelm employees; organizations must broker quality development experiences to accelerate new skill development.

Teaching school kids is difficult, but teaching adults can prove tougher — especially in the absence of exciting learning aids. Using augmented and virtual reality headsets, among other things, can help make acquiring new skills more exciting, and hence, easier.

Why we need connected learners

Research suggests that building connected learners, as opposed to continuous, increase employee skills preparedness by 28 percent to 39 percent across the three main areas of employee development.

Further, employees who are connected learners are eight times more likely to be high performers — which is critical for organizations seeking to prepare their workforce for jobs of tomorrow — in a world where robotic factories, automated tasks, and AI-powered operational improvements are becoming more and more commonplace every day.

The fact is, evolving the employee development process and investing in their training can reap many dividends for an organization, including helping them prepare for the next industrial revolution.