Reskilling Needed to Keep Pace With the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Shadows of black robots set against a cityscape sunset.

Your great-great grandparents saw the cotton gin and steam engine in action. Now it’s your generation’s turn to live through an Industrial Revolution. According to the World Economic Forum, the rapid development and integration of new technologies are forcing companies to add new jobs and redefine the tasks of existing roles. This Fourth Industrial Revolution is akin to the tectonic shift from agricultural work to manufacturing. Driven by rapid advances in technology, this upheaval requires significant reskilling for organizations to survive.

Reskilling promotes business transformation, but it can be costly to undertake. As this industrial transition evolves, consider not only the challenges but also the business case for how building new skills creates bottom-line value that contributes to sustainable, long-term operations.

Create a competitive advantage

Taking a future-focused approach to workforce demands gives organizations a competitive edge. Rather than playing catch up to get workers trained in required skills, organizations should assess current skills against the capabilities needed in the future. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, “Among [CEOs surveyed], 66 percent see ‘addressing potential skills gaps related to automation/digitization’ within their workforces as at least a ‘top-ten priority.’ Nearly 30 percent put it in the top five.”

AT&T has seen the positive results of reskilling, Forbes reported. Thanks to retraining efforts, they reduced their product development cycle by 40%. A forward-thinking view allowed their organization to add skills to remain competitive now and in the future.

Eliminate the need to hire new workers

A tight labor market combined with rapid technological advances also makes recruiting talent to fill needed roles challenging. As a report from LinkedIn indicated, hundreds of companies are hiring for roles such as data scientists, but the supply of candidates does not meet the demand. Eliminate the need to hire new employees by evaluating internal candidates who might be a good fit after some upskilling and reskilling. Training programs help organizations reduce talent gaps and demonstrate a commitment to internal talent.

Improve retention

As job descriptions change and roles evolve, employees want to remain relevant. Reskilling helps employees meet current demands as well as advance in their career. When employers invest in training efforts, staff members are more likely to feel engaged. Engagement improves retention, as employees not only feel prepared to meet the next challenge, but they also want to do so within an organization that supports their growth.

Boost scalability & flexibility

With the right learning management system, reskilling can be addressed cost-effectively from any device. While employees are on the job, microlearning allows learners to reskill rapidly within a short period. This type of on-demand training boosts an organization’s ability to not only train workers, but to scale and flex to meet market demands.

It’s a challenge for human resources and learning and development leaders to know when to recruit and when to look at training internal talent in new skills. An LMS with robust reporting features provides analytics that inform the skills employees possess, how they map to skills required in the future and how to navigate the path to a strong internal talent pool. A solid L&D strategy creates a competitive advantage in retaining and attracting top talent and supporting a sustainable, flexible workforce that adapts to your ever-changing needs.