It’s an issue that’s mirrored here in Ireland. In addition to the influx of global tech companies, more traditional businesses are also progressing towards more tech enabled practices and processes. However, when you look closely at their digital transformation strategies, the human element is very often overlooked. A 2019 study by IT firm Econocom, showed that almost a quarter (23%) of failed digital transformation projects were the result of a lack of skills.
Despite this, businesses across Ireland continue to highlight the ‘talent crunch’ – acquiring and retaining the right talent, with the right skills – as one of the greatest challenges they face. Time and again the issue takes centre stage at conferences, filling up column inches in the papers.
It begs the question, if organisations are struggling to source the skills they need externally, why don’t they invest in reskilling and upskilling those whose jobs are most exposed to automation? While the terms have different meanings, for the purposes of this article they will be used interchangeably , under the broad definition that investment is being made to develop their skills for the digital era.
Here are some helpful tips to future-proofing your workforce and filling your current and future skills gaps.
- Align your people and business strategies
By taking time at the outset to understand the skills you need today and in the future to deliver the those business plans, you will be better equipped to spot the current gaps and implement a more structured approach to talent management.
Remember, while automation technology may make a number of labour intensive activities redundant, it also creates new job opportunities. The technology needs to be managed and maintained. Depending on the industry, there may be compliance requirements that necessitate human oversight. These and any other factors need to be addressed in the planning phase.
- Assess and identify those who are ‘upskillable’
There are countless types of assessments available online. Which ones you choose will depend heavily on the skills you’re seeking and the traits you’re looking for.
- Map out a clear development plan
Such an approach also helps avoid a common training and development mistake – the one-off workshop. The vast majority of people require multiple touch points, involving different sensory stimulus to learn effectively. As such, it has been shown that the best training programmes are comprised of engaging online and in-person elements, where the majority of the course content has practical, real-world applications. Like a pilot learning to fly, giving them a safe simulation to build their skills and confidence, will best equip them for deployment within your organisation.
Learning and development is an incredibly complex area of HR, and it’s no surprise that an increasing number of businesses are appointing dedicated L&D managers. Over the coming weeks and months I plan to expand on a number of the points made in this article, in the hope that it will provide a useful resource for those interested in getting the very best from the employees.