According to EY, 52 percent of Fortune 500 companies have either been acquired, gone bankrupt, or simply shut down as a result of digital disruption since 2000. The pace and volume of digital transformation have snowballed into a disruptive force with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, resulting in repercussions even in workforce management. Reskilling employees, therefore, has become an inescapable reality for enterprises.
A 2019 CIO Survey conducted by Gartner states that the number of enterprises applying AI grew 270 percent over the past four years – and tripled in just the past year. However, the survey also states that organizations that are leveraging AI for varied applications struggle with acute technology skill gap issues. Thus, what we are witnessing today is a massive demand from enterprises for upskilling solutions and programs.
Here are five key questions to consider while selecting an upskilling partner:
- Can learning paths be personalized? On-the-job learning cannot follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Each individual and his/her skill levels are different. Upskilling partners should conduct in-depth workforce assessments to identify learner’s current knowledge levels and the results should then be leveraged to generate custom learning paths – that can drive fluency and mastery in relevant skills. For instance, a fresh graduate on the job might require a more comprehensive course covering both foundational as well as advanced aspects of technology while a moderately experienced practitioner could directly progress into the advanced curriculum. Learning should be customized considering these dynamics to allow for more effective business outcomes.
- Who creates the content? A majority of the learning content out there in the market today has been created by academia. However, this only helps working professionals gain awareness about concepts and theoretical knowledge of topics. It does not offer them the opportunity to master those skills that help solve real-world problems. Enterprise learning should typically be aimed at helping working professionals achieve specific business outcomes. And to achieve that, fluency and mastery in skills are critical. That is where content and its comprehensiveness becomes pivotal. In essence, it makes a lot more sense for learning curriculums to be designed by industry leaders so that learners not only get relevant skills that correspond to actual market needs but also get exposed to cutting-edge and transformational curriculums.
- Are projects included in the course? For most courses, the number of projects is going to be limited and basic. This essentially means that the focus is more on theory than on application. On the contrary, projects are indispensable to holistic learning. In today’s world, where there is a growing need for learning to go beyond mere exposure and into an objective-led application, what you need is a robust curriculum with sufficient, well-designed projects that ensure a real-world understanding of what is taught. Projects should, therefore, be based on real business scenarios, and should be reviewed by SMEs, ending with detailed grading and feedback. And finally, employees who demonstrate proficiency through these real-world projects will have an immediate impact on your business.
- Are mentorship and peer learning offered throughout the learning engagement? For learning to be effective, there should be close and continuous interaction with seasoned mentors who are capable of resolving queries that come up during the course of training. Mentors, reviewers, and learning communities are an essential part of the learning experience. They provide personalized feedback and support to ensure high engagement rates. Additionally, a global peer community can help drive interesting discussions and brainstorming over ideas and challenges. The goal should be multifaceted growth, enriched by the assimilation of varied perspectives.
- How do you ensure engagement success? Once learners are onboard, there should be ongoing interaction to share knowledge and offer guidance – whether in the form of emails, virtual study groups, chats, community meets ups and so on. These should be anchored by dedicated customer success representatives. In addition to that, to drive higher completions and graduations, high impact initiatives such as webinars hosted by SMEs on specific technical aspects, trends, peer group learning, etc. should also be conducted.
Today’s workforce should be transformed, not displaced. An increasing number of organizations such as Amazon, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, PwC, and many more are quickly realizing this and are well on their way to embracing the technologies of tomorrow. The question is, how long will it be before you can say you’re ready for tomorrow?