Published on November 20th, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
A New Take on Reskilling: it’s About the Collective, not the Individual
It’s hard for companies to admit that the traditional method of training employees is mostly ineffective and should be changed. They have a lot of time and money invested in their training and change is difficult. At TechNative.com, Gianni Giacomelli shares how reskilling can provide some answers to employee knowledge capital. Instead of making employees master of one skill, train them up in several complementary skills so they can be more effective in multiple channels. In these times of rapidly changing technologies and business goals, more versatile employees are essential.
In 2007, Apple introduced the world to the iPhone. In the same year, we saw the launch of Amazon’s Kindle and the Android operating system
IBM began working on its Watson supercomputer then as well. It seems like it’s been ages, but these major innovations only happened 12 years ago. And the speed of technological change has only gotten faster, especially with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI).
As AI and other digital technologies permeate our workplaces and business practices, employees now have to acquire new skills and evolve just as quickly to keep up with the pace of change. What we find across many enterprises, however, is a growing talent gap, where people want to learn the latest necessary skills, but not enough companies are providing the right reskilling options.
According to Genpact’s own AI 360 study, 80 percent of workers say they are willing to learn new skills to take advantage of AI in their current role. Yet while more than half of senior executives state their organisations offer reskilling opportunities, only 35 percent of workers report these options are available at their companies.
Where’s the discrepancy? And why is successful reskilling not happening on a large scale? One major problem is the traditional approach that many organisations take to reskilling their workforce.
What the traditional classroom setting gets wrong
Most businesses tend to concentrate on drilling individual employees on a specific skill in traditional, “teach-and-test” classroom settings. Anyone who has been in a work-related training session, such as a seminar or lecture, knows what this is like. These sessions aim to build expertise one subject at a time, with the goal of cultivating specialists in these categories. For instance, a data science course might cover programming languages like Python and R. While data science skills are certainly important, it’s hard to say if these languages will be around in a few years’ time.
Today, such technical skills have a very short life, with new tools and practices quickly coming and going. Unfortunately, the traditional classroom concentrates too much on specific skills in isolation. These methods aren’t scalable, as there are too many new skills to continuously design courses around. What’s better is cultivating the understanding of multiple things, developing “T-shaped” talent as opposed to “I-shaped.”