Future of Work ‐ New Ways to Upskill

So, what’s new? Why are all these articles about reskilling and upskilling your workforce popping up daily? What is the deal here? Has something changed? Is it no longer a case of upskilling your workforce the same way you have been up until now? You have been upskilling your employees, hey?

To answer the question, no, reskilling and upskilling is not the same as it has been in the past. You need innovative ideas and plans as the future is coming and fast. What worked before is not necessarily going to be working for you going forward. Tech seems to become outdated almost as soon as it is released. Tech is becoming smarter, and AI is able to do more and more than previously thought possible. The robots are coming people!

It is no longer a case of your job or position possibly becoming redundant due to new tech at some point. It is a flat-out possibility. Not trying to fearmonger here, just saying it like it is. So, how do we set our employees up to cope, develop new skills and thrive in the future environment?

Keep in mind that often this new tech that is looming over your shoulder is actually going to make your employees’ lives easier and better if you can get your staff to embrace it and learn how to use it to their advantage. How we do this is the million-dollar question. You really need to be looking at your development plans and making adjustments to future proof your staff. You want your employees to be happy and productive, yeah? Remember, when you invest in your employee’s development and skills basket, you are helping them to feel secure and excited about the future. They will feel valued, and this goes a long way to getting buy-in from your employees in order for them to embrace the upskilling and development that you have both (hopefully) planned. Let’s jump in.

When it comes to having your employees’ future-ready, you need to first figure out what the future could possibly have in store for that specific employee. Does said employee have a position that is likely to be disrupted by tech or worst-case scenario, be replaced by tech? While most positions would most likely be safe from a replacement aspect, they may still be affected negatively. Here is where you and your employee have the opportunity to figure out what to expect in the future. Once you have an idea, you can plan your way forward.

Is there a program or course the employee could take that will skill them in how to navigate and operate the new tech? This needs to be done in a way that benefits your employee. You want your employee to be great at this new tech, not just competent. You need to facilitate an environment where excellence thrives. You want your employees to have an edge over the competition, right? You will benefit as a result of having a loyal and hardworking employee but, this isn’t about you, just yet, ok? 

Once you have an idea of what could or is likely to happen in the future and, the likely impact of this will be, you will have some options available. Let’s have a look at some options.

First up, is possibly finding some short courses that will develop skills that your employee will use to stay on top of new tech and programs. These should be pretty easy to source and should be mostly found online. 

New technology in the case of new robotics or machinery should absolutely be included in the development program. If you are not using the new tech yet, chances are you will be in the future. That’s if you want to keep on top of your competition, yeah? So how about enrolling your employee in a week of offsite training using the new tech. By the time you begin to use the new machines or tech, your team already has the skills to operate them. Neat hey? It is not really just enough that they can operate the new toys, you really want them to be able to operate them better than the competition. I assume, else what’s the point? If your company strives for average, then you need not continue reading. Rather check out the new SpongeBob movie.

You could also source material from sites such as Udemy or Skillshare, which will help get the skills current and there are literally hundreds to thousands of courses. The downside to these types of sites is that anyone can teach any subject. You are not guaranteed to be taught by an expert in the subject.  Quick skills can also be picked up on Coursera and sites like those.

Your next option is a bit more formal and that is to possibly link up with huge online learning academies like Shaw Academy and get the most up-to-date content that is taught by subject matter experts who are at the top of their game. You will also receive support from the educators as well as a host of lesson notes and bonus materials. You are also tested well with the assignments that make sure you understand the work before moving on to the next section. Apparently, Shaw Academy is developing a specific business-to-business platform for exactly this space so check it out if you are interested. They both offer a huge array of courses from finance, business, marketing, tech, health and wellness, social media, and arts and hobbies.

Also, amongst the options available is cross-training via different departments or even businesses. This is a cost-effective method to get the skills basket in your company packed full of new goodies. This can take the form of job shadowing or even enrolment in a type of apprenticeship program. Something I’m hoping you picked up so far is that upskilling for the future needn’t always be spendy. You can easily find cost-appropriate options with a bit of digging. Often the companies or creators of the new tech will jump at the chance to showcase their new creations and would be happy to do one-on-one training. If you created the next big thing, surely you would be excited to show people how to use it. There is no harm in asking the company directly for training and if they do not do it themselves, they will likely have a training program to direct you to anyway. You could be cheeky and ask if at all possible one of your employees can join the company’s own internal training sessions. You may well have to pay for this but the training and development your employee will receive will achieve exactly what we are after here. A satisfied and valued employee who is loyal, hardworking, and who now has a brand-new skill to add to your skills basket. Wait, take this another step, and this original employee could then share the skills and upskill the rest of your team. Wow, now you need a bigger basket.

Above are just a few options to look into when preparing a development program for your employee’s future. Information is everywhere, you just need to know where to access it and you need to know that the information is high quality and correct. The rest is up to your employee. Your job is to facilitate the learning and open the options for them. Something about a horse drinking water or something.

Another aspect that is obvious but vital is that you need to continuously relook and rework the development plan. You want to continuously have to get a bigger basket to accommodate all the new skills. It is not a case of doing it once and then washing your hands of it. No sir/madam.  This is something you need to do genuinely and for the entire duration of the employee’s service with your company. Not being genuine is a sure-fire way to scupper the process as well as any respect the employee had for you. You need to do it, you need to want to do it, and trust me, your skills basket will be overflowing. Now is the time to find a new and bigger basket. What a wonderful issue to have.

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