By Matt Powell, Docebo
1 November 2019
Businesses favor stability, but it’s not unusual to anticipate some slight turbulence when introducing new technologies to the organization. Case in point, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has certainly created both a lot of fear and excitement.
A survey of 3,000 business leaders conducted by the Boston Consulting Group and MIT Sloan Management Review found 75% of executives believed that AI would enable their organizations to move into new areas of business, but almost 40% of managers see AI as a strategic risk. Meanwhile, a third of employees in both the US and UK say they feel pressured to learn new tech-related skills to protect their jobs, according to a recent Docebo Tech Skill Survey.
Indeed, some skills will lose their value more quickly compared to others, due to influence of automation and the pace of change that AI brings with it, emphasizing the importance of introducing technology into the organization that is not only intuitive and easy-to-use but drives performance.
Start with the people
All of us can appreciate that turbulence creates a sense of unrest within the business – the implications need to be mitigated carefully. Training is a great way to mitigate the risks of the future. Avoid skills gaps by appreciating that learning and development is a continuous exercise – and is one that is elevated when it’s powered by technology in a way that helps you align learning to organizational objectives. Doing so not only safeguards the business against the dangers of the inevitable skills gaps that will develop as your market evolves, but also equips employees with an innate desire to play a more proactive, and therefore, engaged role in learning.
Indeed, businesses need people, but there must also be a mindset shift that recognizes that humans are wonderfully adaptable. Utilizing social and collaborative tools is another way for companies to ensure employees adapt by capturing learning as it happens, in the flow of work. Social learning allows for teamwork to thrive, especially when everyone is comfortable, to share their experiences across the entire organization, which fosters an ideal way to curate internally-generated knowledge capital, identify subject-matter experts, fill knowledge gaps and cultivate a culture of continuous learning.
Embed digital training consistently
Technology is driving change in all sectors, including enterprise learning, and companies that recognize this will be better placed to manage disruptive technologies in the future.
Developing a strategy that focuses on upskilling hard-to-fill positions with existing employees can be effective in not only reducing turnover and retention issues, but also talent acquisition costs, while reducing the time it takes to fill a position should an employee leave.
Leveraging existing knowledge and experience to train others is a critical way to reskill and upskill colleagues. Tapping into their wisdom through a visual ‘lunch & learn’ whilst eliminating the chore of taking an off-site training course is far more cost-effective for businesses. This is especially pertinent when a new technology like VR teleconferencing could have a seismic impact on a business and its ability to meet present and future needs.
Bridge the skills gap quickly
Each time a business replaces a salaried employee, the cost of replacing him/her is said to be equal to 9 months salary. Another challenge for future-proofing is that understanding the complex skills needs of your business today, let alone in a year, is becoming much harder. Simply put, managing skills in the digital age requires organizations to harness technology that enables them to see what is needed and identify employees who could benefit from it. Artificial Intelligence is now being used to power a search engine within your learning platform which finds employees whose skills and proficiency levels best fit a given role, which informs them whether it is best to hire or train someone.
Yes, some see AI as a threat to job security, but it will also be crucial to keeping and training a valuable workforce.
Evolve to become future-fit
AI, virtual reality and 3D printing are just a few of the technologies being deployed in many businesses. These technologies are even more important when you consider the fact that workforces around the world are shifting from Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, making way for the mobile-first Millennial and Gen-Z contingent. Indeed, Millennials made the need for mobile learning clear, Gen-Z will be the generation that forces organizations to perfect it.
Mobile learning is now a must-have for organizations trying to connect all employees from an engagement perspective, but also from an upskilling perspective too.
Businesses must not only prioritise technology adoption to navigate a foggy future, but also educate their employees on the ways to make the best use of it, relative to the goals of the organization. It’s easy to obsess over improving your technology stack – it’s even easier to undervalue the importance of making sure your employees know how to use it.
Matt Powell is product marketing manager at Docebo, the company developing an AI-powered, cloud-based and mobile-ready learning platform.