How digital upskilling can be powerful and transformative

Organizations can support and empower employees in anticipation of the mass displacement of jobs due to automation.
24 December 2019

Business can help employees attain essential digital skills. Source: Shutterstock

Entering the fourth industrial revolution and heading towards web 3.0, the new decade is sure to bring new challenges, advancements, and innovation. 

One of the main ‘predictions’ of the new decade is that up to 35 percent of the skills required for jobs will change across industries by 2020, based on the World Economic Forum

Moreover, 25 percent of jobs in the US are expected to be ‘severely disrupted’ by automation and the impact could hold up to two decades.

The thing is bad news travel fast and when we hear about how robots will be ‘taking’ our jobs, the initial reaction is to worry and perhaps, perceive technological advancement as undesirable. 

Instead, the new year brings in some new perspectives on how the workforce can embrace the technological wave and board it to new opportunities. 

“If you’re a 28-year-old truck driver, and you know that autonomous vehicles will be arriving in 20 years when you will be 48 years old. Is it an autonomous truck’s fault? Or is it your fault for not creating a new skill and getting a new job?” said Gary Vaynerchuk.

Closing the gap in digital literacy 

The reality is jobs will be displaced by robots, technology will and has already disrupted organizations, big or small across all industries. 

Therefore, preparation for the upcoming digital revolution will bear more advantages than losses. 

For example, in anticipation of mass displacement of human labor in the following years, the UK government has invested in the retraining of employees whose jobs could become obsolete as a result of automation.  

Scaling it down to an organizational level, businesses can help smoothen the transition for employees and the workforce at large to acquire the necessary digital skills. 

Companies can prioritize reskilling by fostering a culture of continuous learning. Initiatives and steps to promote continuous learning may arise from managerial level to C-level members as a way to instigate the culture. 

Moreover, innovative companies can look beyond traditional educational platforms and leverage e-learning and online courses as accessible and flexible ways for employees to embark on self-development. 

Now more than ever, data is fueling organizations with valuable insights when it comes to finalizing important business decisions. Up to 70 percent claimed data-driven culture yields increased productivity, minimized risks, faster decision making, and overall improved financial performance. 

Essentially, promoting a data literacy culture will empower employees from non-IT backgrounds in embracing the potentials and disruption of data-driven solutions. 

Companies are exploring new user interfaces that rely on robotics and voice-based technologies. When user-friendly interfaces are embedded onto computer systems, employees are more likely to interact with AI tools and gradually acquire the necessary skill sets to leverage the power of data. 

In the end, technological advancements can present an array of opportunities in promoting collaboration, innovation, and creativity, but it requires employees to have the necessary skillsets to glean their value. 

Therefore, to advance organizational aims and goals into reality, one would require ‘advanced’ skills.