You can give back to the community by helping workers prepare for an automated future.
In the coming years, automation will displace millions of workers. However, this prospect isn’t as bleak as it sounds. Humanity has a remarkable ability to adapt, and so it shall again.
As an employer, you can help workers upskill, while at the same time ensuring that there’s enough talent around to help your business meet its objectives now, and well into the future.
Position Your Enterprise on the Right Side of History
Today, brand image is becoming increasingly relevant. Consumers are making their opinions known not only with their voices, but also with their dollars. For instance, a McKenzie & Company report reveals that investment in socially responsible companies will surpass $300 billion by the year 2020.
Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum estimates that automation will supplant the jobs of nearly one and a half million people. Business leaders, employees and investors know that automation is here—and it’s going to become more prevalent very soon.
Typically, the words corporate social responsibility (CSR) conjure images of environmentally friendly as well as diversity and inclusion practices. Relatively recently, however, CSR has come to include making job training available to the community.
It may seem counterintuitive to train employees who don’t work for your company. However, employment experts suggest that upskilling potential employees holds merit. Accordingly, tech firms small and large have been quietly offering training to external candidates, hoping for a short- and long-term payoff.
Planning for an Automated Future
There’s no need for your company to absorb all the costs of upskilling. For example, you can direct female employees toward educational stipends that can help them move up the leadership ladder.
Unskilled workers face many challenges. Resultantly, community groups and officials have been working to create opportunities for individuals who lack marketable skills.
You can partner with these interests to access community constituents as well as subsidies that may help you pay for training. In some instances, the government can issue subsidies to your organization to enable you to upskill entry-level workers to high skill careers.
Apprenticeships are another training option. Typically, you’d think of blue-collar skills such as plumbing, welding and machining when it comes to apprenticeships. However, you can also leverage apprenticeships to groom individuals for middle-skill roles such as lab technicians, as well as for high-skill careers such as computer programmers and cybersecurity.
By offering a combination of on-the-job experience and training, you can leverage apprenticeships to ensure that potential job candidates are learning skills that your organization needs now.
Some roles may require a bachelor’s degree. However, you can supplement a lack of formal training with a two-year degree and on-the-job training, allowing you to tap into a larger pool of available talent.
Get Used to Reskilling
Even with a degree, employers believe that half of advancing students aren’t ready for the workforce, according to a Deloitte study. Although a four-year degree prepares job candidates for a career, most new hires will likely need reskilling because of rapid advancements in technology.
This circumstance also applies to current employees. As a result, it makes sense to add continual learning to your internal career development toolkit.
Academic leaders recognize that today’s job market is entirely different from the one that existed 20 years ago. Resultantly, many institutions have upgraded their curriculums.
Still, they are slow-moving ships. As a result, many institutions have had trouble keeping up with the learning needs of a rapidly evolving work environment.
Getting Ahead of Upskilling
In 2019, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published several workforce resources, including guidance for change management for federal agencies, a workforce reshaping playbook and a reskilling toolkit. The office released the resources intending to modernize the federal workforce for the future work environment. Still, it’s an excellent primer for any business leader who desires to upskill their labor force.
The OPM toolkit highlights things that you should consider when evaluating whether to reskill or upskill workers, as well as how to communicate those plans. It also highlights the roles that employers, managers and other stakeholders should play in preparing for these activities. The toolkit also includes a sample action plan that you can use to inform a draft of reskilling or upskilling strategies for your organization.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for organizations to hire and retain skilled workers. Partnership with community and government stakeholders may serve as a solution to fulfill your current and future staffing needs.
From a community perspective, low skill workers are getting left behind. At the same time, employers are left wondering where to find skilled talent. By collaborating with community and governmental stakeholders, you can build a promising path forward for employees—and your enterprise.