In recent weeks, we’ve written about employee engagement, a growing digital skills gap, resistance to change, and other challenges organizations are faced with today. And although there’s no simple formula for easily overcoming those hurdles, there is one area of approach that comes the closest to “magic bullet” status: learning.
Learning can boost employee engagement, it can help organizations close the skills gap and find new paths to innovation, and it can break down employees’ natural resistance to change. Organizations have been slow to recognize the need for more robust learning systems, but they’re beginning to come around.
If your organization is still on the fence, consider these stats:
ON THE SKILLS GAP
- More than 120 million workers worldwide may need to be retrained or reskilled in the next three years as a result of intelligent/AI-enabled automation. (The enterprise guide to closing the skills gap, IBM Institute for Business Value.)
- CEOs rank investment in people as the number one way to accelerate performance. (The enterprise guide to closing the skills gap, IBM Institute for Business Value.)
- The time it takes to close a skills gap through traditional training has increased by more than 10 times in the past four years, jumping from 3 days to 36 days. (The enterprise guide to closing the skills gap, IBM Institute for Business Value.)
- Nearly 40 percent of current US jobs are in occupational categories that are likely to shrink between now and 2030. (The Future of Work in America, McKinsey Global Institute.)
- The share of jobs in the US economy using higher-level digital skills rose from almost 5 percent in 2002 to 23 percent in 2016. The digital content of many jobs—including nurses, HR specialists, and automotive technicians—rose by 50 percent or more during this period. (Digitalization and the American Workforce, Brookings Institution.)
- According to a report by consulting firm PwC, CEOs now rank “availability of key skills” as their third-biggest concern. More than half of the CEOs surveyed for the report (55 percent) say the top impact of the skills gap is an “inability to innovate effectively.” (22nd Annual Global CEO Survey, PwC.)
- When asked how they plan to build new skills for the future, almost two-thirds of HR leaders said they will recruit for the new skills they need, according to a Deloitte report. This is costly: Studies show that reskilling an internal hire may take a little time, but it can be done for one-sixth the cost of hiring an external candidate. (2019 Global Human Capital Trends, Deloitte.)
ON EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
- 84 percent of workers globally are simply “coming to work,” while just 16 percent are fully engaged and contribute all they can to their organization. (The Global Study of Engagement, ADP Research Institute.)
- 94 percent of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. (2019 Workplace Learning Report, LinkedIn.)
To be clear, there is no such thing as a magic bullet. Transforming an organization—creating a culture of continuous learning, encouraging new ways of working, fostering an engaged and agile workforce—will require considerable effort. Organizations that include learning in every stage of their transformation will be better equipped to compete in the digital future.
IMAGE: Pop-up casket (talk); original by User:Fool [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Jen is an award-winning journalist who writes about workplace productivity and technology for Vitalyst. She believes in the power of using plain language, especially when writing about technology, and lists “achieving and enabling clarity” among her life goals.