Your Future-Ready Workforce – Part 3
The days of employees having a single deep expertise, for 40 years of a career, are forever gone.
An agile and resilient workforce of critical thinkers, instead, is required. As critical thinkers, they are also lifelong learners, which in the words of futurist Alvin Toffler, allows them to “learn, unlearn and relearn.”
These workers have the ability to solve complex problems and make the difficult decisions necessary for your business to grow and remain competitive.
Employees with this skillset and mindset (the two are interdependent) will never become obsolete since they can accomplish the work that machines are unable to do. Many experts agree that the low-hanging fruit of mindless, repetitive, labor-intensive tasks will be taken over by AI, digitalization, and automation. What remains for human workers will require higher cognitive capabilities.
This is the reason behind the ever-expanding skills gap that many employers are experiencing.
Is a Skills Gap Restricting Your Corporate Growth?
Per PwC’s Workforce of Future 2030 white paper, “Those workers performing tasks which automation can’t yet crack, become more pivotal – and this means creativity, innovation, imagination, and design skills will be prioritized by employers.”
“This view is supported by business leaders worldwide who responded to our most recent CEO survey. While CEOs are keen to maximize the benefits of automation – 52% told us that they’re already exploring the benefits of humans and machines working together and 39% are considering the impact of AI on their future skills needs – the majority (52%) were also planning to increase headcount in the coming 12 months. Finding the skills they need has become the biggest threat to their business, they say, but the skills they’re looking for are particularly telling: problem-solving, adaptability, collaboration, leadership, creativity and innovation top the list.”
Gartner also sees the skills gap increasing in size, “The number of skills that employers are looking for has risen dramatically — Gartner analysis shows that companies listed about 33% more skills on job ads in 2020 than they did in 2017.”
Luckily, there is potential for you to tap, which exists within your own workforce.
Optimizing your employees’ critical thinking skills and lifelong learning mindset is the best way to make your company future-ready. This combination is the foundation that will support your internal mobility programs. It allows you to economically fill skill gaps for digital skills and other in-demand hard skills, through Learning & Development.
Reimagine Your Workforce
LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report 2021 cracked that old chestnut that Learning & Development is a bad idea since your workers could take their skills elsewhere. In fact, when tied to internal mobility, training increases your employee retention rates as well as engagement. “According to LinkedIn data, employees at companies with high internal mobility stay almost two times longer than those who don’t. … Recent Glint data tells us that employees who have found new roles internally are three and a half times more likely to be engaged than those who haven’t. … 82% of L&D pros report that engaged learners are also more likely to participate in internal mobility programs. That’s a win-win-win for you, your learners, and your organization.”
The report further busted the myth that new skills must be closely related to employees’ present positions, “It’s a commonly held belief that talent with ‘skills adjacencies’ — or skills that are similar to other skills — are the people who can most easily make the leap from one role to another. But, we’ve found that’s not entirely true. An analysis by LinkedIn’s data science team conducted for the World Economic Forum showed that many employees who have moved into ‘emerging roles’ over the past five years came from entirely different occupations. For example, half of the employees who moved into data science and artificial intelligence (AI) roles were coming from unrelated industries. That number jumps when we look at engineering roles (67%), content roles (72%), and sales (75%). What is even more interesting is that the people who transitioned into data and AI had the largest variation in skill profiles, with half of them possessing skills with low similarity.”
The people that you need for the future of work are already in your employ.
How to find them?
Well, bridging the skills gap starts with assessment (see Part 1 and Part 2 of this series). You need to measure the capacity of your workers to be successful in both learning mindset and workplace performance. The top scorers should be on the fast track of your internal mobility system. These are your prime candidates for upskilling and reskilling.
But don’t stop, there. Know that critical thinking and lifelong learning can be taught and that dramatic increases in proficiency can be achieved (we had over 30 years of research into this topic from serving business, healthcare, government, and academic clients—not only that it can be accomplished, but the best methods). This is a worthwhile endeavor, for your employees who are adept, along with those employees who are challenged in certain areas. In this manner, you’ll be developing additional candidates to fill your skill gaps as well as improving efficiency and productivity, overall.
You require the strongest critical thinkers, possible, at every level of your organization.
These workers are the ones responsible for quality problem-solving and effective decision-making in a complex, ever-evolving world of disruption and new technology. Developing your workforce’s critical thinking and lifelong learning, whatever its current state, will directly boost your company’s bottom line.
The latest McKinsey Global Survey on reskilling agrees, “The survey asked about 25 specific skills that companies have prioritized to address through reskilling, and more than half of respondents report a focus on developing leadership, critical-thinking and decision-making, and project-management skills.”
Maximize Your Talent
INSIGHT Development provides a safe, non-punitive, environment with self-directed eLearning that is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our online modules may be used as independent study by employees or integrated, seamlessly, into your existing training programs.
Employees are empowered to learn with visually stimulating and engaging content as well as interactive exercises. They will gain an understanding of strategies used to reason through problems and arrive at workable solutions. As they move through the modules, the value of improving their thinking skills and avoiding common cognitive errors becomes apparent. The motivation to use critical thinking skills, to make sound decisions, is further reinforced.
When your employees have the opportunity to reach their greatest potential, everyone benefits.
Don’t take our word for it—your ROI can be clearly demonstrated. A free assessment is included with the INSIGHT Development package, so that employee progress can be evaluated after competition of the program.
Contact us, today, to learn more about this cost-effective and proven program.
- Did you miss the first part of the “Your Future-Ready Workforce” series, featuring our recommendations for Cutting Your Skills Gap Costs? Click to read!
- Otherwise, check out part 2, Are Your Employees Obsolete?
- For more insight into critical thinking and lifelong learning, follow our blog, Thinking Insight.