Long before the pandemic forced everyone into working from their kitchens, home offices, or bedrooms, the world was very much on its way to eliminating the need for conventional workspaces. Today's younger generations have grown up in digital environments and already feel pretty comfortable doing much of their work online. But even though those digital natives probably find the prospect of working from home less intimidating than many members of older generations, in 2020 people of all ages are facing the same challenge: familiarizing themselves with the digital workplace.
Professional development and training can yield huge benefits, which is one reason why 94 percent of employees want to work at companies that offer such opportunities.1 However, a heavy workload may discourage the development of new skills: when employees feel they have to complete projects first, training can take a back seat. Microlearning is one option that can help workers (and organizations) strike a balance between learning and work obligations. Because it helps employers offer more training in less time, microlearning can provide the kind of development employees want without cutting into their work time and without requiring companies to invest in pricy corporate training sessions.
Amid rapid advancements in technology, employee expectations of consumer-like experience and engagement, and a quickly shifting economy, companies are looking for ways to gain a competitive advantage with their people. This puts the spotlight directly on HR. Professional development is important for everyone but is especially critical for businesses to think about when creating learning and growth opportunities for an existing workforce.
Executives increasingly see investments in “upgrading workforce skills, especially retraining midcareer workers” as an urgent business priority in the near future, thanks to increasing growth in automation and digitization.1 This challenge lies at the heart of training and development for the existing workforce: companies will need employees prepared to move up within the organization.
Thanks to the effects of AI and automation, an estimated 375 million workers may need to switch jobs by 2030. These changes will surely reshape the working world, but the outlook isn't all doom and gloom. Companies can have some control by proactively preparing their workforces through "reskilling (learning new skills for a new position) or upskilling (learning current tasks more deeply)." Unfortunately, although business leaders and employees alike are well aware of the impending digital revolution, most executives have not yet started such preparations or are simply getting it wrong. ReWork recently chatted with Vikita Poindexter, the owner of Poindexter Consulting Group (a full-service human resource consulting firm), and asked her to explain the crucial missteps that organizations are taking and what they should be doing to prepare their workforces for the future work scene.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, companies were already facing several challenges, such as the growing skills gap and the continued rise of technologies (in particular, AI and automation) in the workplace. Recognizing that encouraging and enabling skill development on an organization-wide level can foster an environment for growth, more and more companies seek to provide employees with learning opportunities to help them adapt to these shifts. Expanding employee skill sets increases organizational adaptability and prepares the business world for the next version of "normal." But learning during times of change - such as during a pandemic - can be extremely difficult.