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What Exactly is Upskilling Anyway?
Capgemini defines upskilling as large-scale programs designed to train and develop a workforce to deal with automation-driven change. As part of an organizational research initiative, the consulting corporation surveyed more than 2,000 employees worldwide including academics, supervisors, and executives to better understand how companies are pairing automation solutions with an investment in their workforce.
Time is money
Contrary to popular belief, automation is forcing positions and responsibilities to evolve, as opposed to merely thinning the labor pool. Even Elon Musk admitted that a reliance on full scale automation was a mistake. Instead, companies must implement a comprehensive upskilling strategy so employees can effectively work with automation tools.
Capgemini’s research showed that companies employing automation in tandem with a strategic upskilling program save more than 50 hours per year per employee and more than $300 million over a three-year period (at least 50,000 employees). Even after the money spent on upskilling, companies with these programs saved an average of $278 million more than companies that rely solely on automation.
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But what about the employees?
The research showed that 2 in 3 employees prefer to join organizations that have greater transparency and more accessible management. Upskilling initiatives not only bolster productivity, but they also aid companies in recruiting and retaining the best talent. Additionally, direct communication with management and on-the-job training builds the soft skills necessary to adapt to continuously evolving demands.
Upskilling provides peace of mind to employees who remain unsure about the security of their jobs, and their buy-in is crucial to a successful automation strategy. Upskill-active companies showed a 26% advantage in overall employee morale.
When evaluating how to implement upskilling, consider the following:
- How will this affect both current job responsibilities and new jobs that will be created moving forward?
- What timelines exist in conjunction with these new jobs?
- What skills do we need and when do we need them?
- Define core skills and what skills may become core skills in the future. A long term outlook is essential here.
- Flexibility is valuable, but an over-reliance on a flexible workforce might fail to develop a strong base of skilled employees.
Read the full report “Upskilling Your People for the age of the Machine” here.