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Upskilling, reskilling & retaining multiple talent pools

digital skillnet blog kathryn

We know enough about the future of work to understand that we have to be completely flexible and creative in ensuring that upskilling and reskilling is available to all of our employees. As is now abundantly clear, digital and AI technologies are transforming the world of work and today’s workforce will need to learn new skills and learn to continually adapt throughout their careers.

Upskilling and reskilling is the essence of our mandate at Technology Ireland Digital Skillnet. We support thousands of learners each year through a range of Masters and Postgraduate diplomas in core tech areas like IoTUX DesignDigital Transformation and eLearning, which were specifically designed to meet industry talent gaps. This gives us a good vantage point for understanding how to upskill and reskill different types of talent pools.

 

"As is now abundantly clear, digital and AI technologies are transforming the world of work and today’s workforce will need to learn new skills and learn to continually adapt throughout their careers."

 

As the future of work dawns, every conceivable job will have new technologies to adapt to as roles fit and re-fit into an ever-changing technological landscape. Indeed, experts tell us that the majority of jobs that will exist in 2030 have yet to be invented. How do you prepare for unknown job categories? The answer is that you create a learning environment and growth mindset in individuals that adapts to the unknown as it arrives through a process of upskilling. Skills and knowledge in certain areas are improved whilst the process of upskilling and reskilling involves learning new skills to do a different job. For both elements, individuals require a real sense of agency to achieve their learning goals and companies must create an environment that fosters that sense of agency.

We know from neuroscience that various conditions can optimise learning growth factors – exercise, sleep, silencing the mind, nature and nurture all affect the learning brain. People have different genetic predispositions, but we know that permanent brain connections are made only when people combine a number of activities such as reading, writing, listening, talking, practicing, collaborating and reflecting.

 

Powerful training initiatives use multiple learning and delivery channels, vary the type of activity and employ instructional methods that stimulate active engagement including facilitation, stimulation games and role play.

It’s important to build a company culture in which employees are encouraged to learn new skills; have access to high-quality learning programmes and platforms; are free to learn in whatever way is most effective for them; feel empowered to act as teachers, mentors, and coaches; and have permission to experiment and to learn from failure.

"Research indicates that although we may have high performers who are good at their job and are well rewarded, it does not necessarily reflect in their job satisfaction."

 

 

Companies must also understand the current skills in their workforce and the gaps to the skills that may be needed in the future; strengthen innovation, creativity, empathy and leadership capabilities in their business alongside critical tech skills; make talent and capabilities management a matter of urgency; build and nurture adaptability in the workforce by harnessing a flexible talent mix, new ways of working and leading and radically different career paths; and redesign traditional one-size-fits-all HR programmes and policies to deliver on new learning and development models.

This may seem like overwhelming agenda for HR & L&D teams, but we can attest that a lot of this transition is in flight already with our members. It is also encouraging to see their approaches for addressing the "the great resignation" risk. While there is no silver bullet, it includes supporting the development needs of their workforce in a way thats adaptable to them but also by really getting to know what motivates them at work. Research indicates that although we may have high performers who are good at their job and are well rewarded, it does not necessarily reflect in their job satisfaction.

An older but I feel still relevant HBR (Job Sculpting; The Art of Retaining Your Best People) review explores the concept of how the retention of top performers will have a dependency on their role coinciding with their "deeply embedded life interests". This is challenging for organisations and particularly for managers to play a "psychologist" role on top of the regular managerial responsibilities. However good managers will already have a strong interest in the motivational psychology of their teams. By tapping into this conversation during regular one-to-ones, organisations will not be surprised by resignations and instead will be buoyed by top talent retention as they excel is their chosen or "sculpted" careers.

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