Continuous training is key to driving the skills of the future
With the development of artificial intelligence and automation, companies are looking for more highly skilled workers who can work with these technologies and regularly upskill. AI and automation have many unexplored possibilities, but in order to leverage them properly, companies must have people with a specific set of skills. A recent report from Deloitte predicts that by 2030, the demand for STEM and general purpose skills will require at least 4.5 million additional workers. At the moment, there is a clear lack of technology and AI skills amongst today’s workforce and the skills gap will continue to worsen if HR doesn’t step up.
In collaboration with Cornerstone OnDemand, the Institute for the Future presented a Future Skills Map highlighting 15 skills that today's workers must master in order to survive in an ever-changing work environment, where technology is increasingly important. So, what are these new essential skills? And how can we succeed in developing them?
To ensure constant professional growth, employees can no longer solely rely on the skills they acquired in the past. People need to behave like AI – learning continuously. Continuous training needs to be provided by companies to ensure their workforce grows, develops and advances. HR managers can identify the people who have attended certain courses, obtained relevant certifications or who have committed themselves to learning new skills and reward them to boost productivity and motivation. Seeing employees grow and develop also provides inspiration for their team members, who then also become motivated to learn and train.
Optimise digital skills
It is unlikely that robots will completely replace humans in the near future, however we should not ignore automation completely in the workplace. By 2020, 85% of UK businesses will have invested in artificial intelligence and over half will invest more than £10 million in digital technologies, so it’s important to get your employees up to speed with the latest digital innovations and tools to survive in the future.
Managers can help people who are warier of the technology around them, by focusing in on ways in which digital initiatives can simplify tasks and how artificial intelligence can support them in their everyday work. In customer services, for example, AI will play an increasingly important role in the digital verification of information, reducing service costs by 30%, freeing up time for office managers who can therefore devote themselves to projects with greater added value, such as the search for new technologies.
Thanks to increased mobility and connectivity, the modern workforce is now geographically dispersed yet widely connected. For this reason, having accurate information on the activities and projects that each employee is involved in can be complicated. Those who participate in continuous training will always strive to understand what their colleagues are working on – which is the only way to get an accurate picture of the organisation's goals and to bridge any possible skills gaps in the future. It is therefore necessary to help people, especially leaders, better understand how their teams work and consider adopting new technologies to make this easier where necessary.
Training for multicultural interactions
Today the concept of diversity is very broad and expands further than just race, religion or gender. What really matters is the uniqueness of experiences and the way in which they shape individuals and their interactions at the workplace. Those engaged in a continuous training process are not afraid to face unfamiliar situations or to work with new people and therefore are accustomed to rapidly – and correctly – changing attitudes and approaches according to the environment in which they find themselves operating.
A predisposition to diversity is not something that comes easily to everyone, which is why we need to work hard to bring out the diversity skills of people by challenging them in new environments. Does your organisation have several offices? Why not encourage your employees to visit them and interact with colleagues they don’t see every day?
Even in the age of automation and artificial intelligence, the role of humans remains essential in the workplace. In fact, it is humans who determine how machines must be programmed and how the information they collect must be applied. Empathy is an intrinsic characteristic of those who carry out continuous training. For others, however, it is an acquired competence.
The effort to create empathy should become a continuous practice in every organisation. Free discussions and respectful comparisons of opinions and prejudices are a good starting point. Programmes for greater self-understanding that help individuals to frame their personalities and their psychological needs can help people gain better self-awareness before trying to understand the needs of others around them too.
Creating a culture that fosters lifelong learning and encourages people to demand and get more from themselves is something that only works if senior management make it their priority. It is therefore up to the company to offer the kind of training experience that people want and an experience that is personalised, on-demand and holistic.