Upskilling in the Age of Digital Transformation | Modis

The Need for Upskilling in the Age of Digital Transformation

Modis Posted 13 October 2020
If you're an employer in the IT & Engineering space, then you probably already know how difficult it can be to ensure your workforce has the skills they need to help grow your business. After all:

  • 83% of HR professionals are having recruiting difficulty. Of those HR professionals, 75% say there's a shortage of skills in candidates for job openings according to SHRM's skills gap research
  • 79% of CEOs are worried about the relevance of employee skills in the digital era according to PwC
  • 87% of executives say they are experiencing skill gaps in the workforce (or expect to within a few years) in a recent McKinsey Global Survey

In this blog post you'll learn about the skills gap, the importance of upskilling and reskilling employees, and how offering training helps with retention as well as successful digital transformation. Let's dive right in...

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Digital Transformation Driving Demand for Skills

Projections suggest worldwide spending on digital transformation will reach 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020 despite the economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But, in boardrooms and C-suites across the nation the conversation is centered on the skills gap. A skills gap occurs when the existing workforce doesn't have the skills required to perform a job.

Without employees with the right mix of hard and soft skills, organizations will struggle to remain competitive, especially in times of economic difficulty.

Almost 70% of U.S. employers reported a talent shortage at the end of 2019 according to recent data from Bloomberg. And Gartner reports that “by 2020, 75% of organizations will experience visible business disruptions due to skills gaps, which is an increase from less than 20 percent in 2016.”

One reason we've arrived at this juncture is companies have reduced investment in worker training over the past 20 years. This has forced employees to seek training on their own at community and for-profit colleges, often going into debt to pay for it.

Less than one-fifth of workers have access to employer-sponsored or on-the-job training according to a recent report from the Aspen Institute, and those workers tend to be the highest paid and already the best educated.

This is a big problem.

AU.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation report says employers are “coping with new hires who are unsure of how to write a professional email, struggle to organize and prioritize tasks, or have a difficult time collaborating with coworkers.” When the Society for Human Resource Management surveyed more than 1,000 hiring managers they found a similar phenomenon: About one-third cited a lack of soft skills among candidates as the reason they had trouble filling positions.

It's becoming clear organizations are simply not prioritizing employee development. But, with workers expecting employers to make an investment in their skills, it's no longer enough to only offer training once a year. It's time to make professional training for employees part of workplace culture.

Employee Retention Is More Important Than Ever

One way employers can reduce turnover is to use training as a tool for retention. This is especially important in light of employee preferences:

  • Companies lose 25% of all new employees within the first year according to an Allied Workforce Mobility Survey
  • 72% of candidates are driven by career advancement opportunities, the number one reason people change jobs according to MRINetwork
  • 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers according to LinkedIn's 2018 Workforce Learning Report.
  • 83% of survey respondents say company-offered training is a factor in job happiness says a recent Ceridian report

As you can see, companies that don't offer opportunities for advancement are missing out on a cost-effective method of retaining top talent.

Employee turnover is a costly, constant issue.

  • Turnover can cost organizations anywhere from 16% to 213% of the lost employee's salary according to a report from the Center for American Progress.
  • Replacing a highly-trained employee can cost more than 200% of their annual salary.

Despite the negative impact turnover has on organizations many still neglect employee development.

A recent Degreed/Harvard Business Review Corporate Learning report found only 39% of managers give regular feedback on performance or skills and only 38% hold periodic check-ins with their employees.

Training and development is not an extra perk or a boon reserved for certain positions. Today's talent expects the opportunity to learn new skills. It indicates the employer values workers and are actively interested in their careers.

Upskilling and Reskilling to Meet Demands of Digital Transformation

The growing skills gap makes reskilling and upskilling an urgent business priority.

There's good news for companies looking to use training as a tool for retention. 78% of people want more digital upskilling post pandemic.

There is a growing body of research supporting the link between employee training and retention. So, what does this mean?

Employers should make upskilling and reskilling integral pieces of the company's overall strategy.

What's the difference between upskilling and reskilling?

Upskilling is when employees learn new skills within the same job function. Reskilling is training for employees who've shown the aptitude for learning a completely new occupation.

In 2020, the fast pace of technology change is causing organizations to focus on helping employees build new skills. Nearly half of them plan on reskilling some portion of their workforce this year.

  • 51% plan to launch upskilling programs in 2020.
  • 43% plan to launch reskilling programs in the future.

L&D's upskilling and reskilling programs should always be tied to key business priorities like attracting and retaining the best talent and building the capabilities needed to support the strategy.

How Modis Academy Can Help

We know it's getting harder to fill roles requiring cutting-edge skills in fields like software development, data analytics, and UX design, which is why we created Modis Academy. Our goal is to continue providing access to training programs that not only add value to our clients’ business initiatives, but also promotes career progression and professional development opportunities for our associates on assignment.

Through our alliance with industry-leading training partners, we have the ability to create uniquely tailored training programs specific for each individual need. Our Modis Academy team works alongside you to fully understand your business needs and how we can develop a program to achieve your business goals.

To ensure our offerings result in measurable outcomes specific to your business, Modis Academy works in close collaboration with Modis Consulting. This alignment of technology capabilities, thought leadership, and consultancy services from Modis Consulting, coupled with the training solutions from Modis Academy, creates uniquely customized offerings that matter most to your business. And these offerings are not only aimed at the Modis associates supporting your initiatives but can also be provided to your full-time employees working alongside us. This holistic approach ensures our partnership is collectively ahead of any skills gap that can impede project execution and business innovation.

“The best leaders know that continually investing in people development will always yield success.”  - Pete Broding, Head of Modis Consulting & Academy

Key takeaways

Talent is a perpetual issue for organizations, particularly in a growing economy. Before COVID-19 spread, three-quarters of CEOs expressed concern about finding the talent they needed. Competition for talent seems unlikely to diminish so it's essential for organizations to prioritize developing skills.

We've seen the impact of training on employee retention and the problems caused by the skills gap. You understand the value of upskilling and reskilling employees. Now, it's time to prepare for what's ahead.

Contact us today.

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