By Jason O’Neill, Kepner-Tregoe

It’s never a bad time to take stock of where your employees strengths and weaknesses are and what you can do as a company to help them prepare for the future.  For many workers, the technology advances taking place all around us will cause a significant career disruption over the next few years that will require an open-mind and a new set of skills to successfully navigate.

In 2015, the World Economic Forum published a Future of Jobs Report, looking at the impact of Industry 4.0 on training and hiring and highlighting the top skills that companies would need to advance in their workforce by 2020.  The report was compiled from interviews and surveys of human resource and strategy leaders from leading global companies. Here is a summary of their projection:

 

We are now over halfway there and find the WEF projections confirmed and reinforced by direct observations in the global workforce. A recent study from the McKinsey Global Institute published by CNN further quantified the disruption predicting 375 million jobs likely to be replaced by automation over the next decade requiring employees to pick up new skills as they transition to new roles.  Machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics were highlighted as key disruptors impacting both manual jobs as well as many roles dealing with information collection.

Both of these studies are telling essentially the same story - widespread workforce disruption is taking place (fueled by technology advances) and causing companies to take a hard look at the employee skill gaps in their organization.  Fortunately, there is still time to help employees prepare, but the sense of urgency is growing stronger.

Problem solving and decision making were highlighted as 2 of the most critical skills for 2020 in the WEF report. These skills are not only projected to be in high demand, but are also an effective transition aid – providing employees with a change oriented mindset to help them navigate their way through the career transitions that they are likely to encounter over the next few years.

Another critical skill is innovation and how we think about making big changes. A recent webinar led by Western Digital’s Learning & Development Program Manager, Veena Rajkumar, highlights how important this kind of new thinking is for the future of work.

In addition to looking at the disruptors and skills, the McKinsey report specifically calls out the important role that companies and government organizations will need to play in preparing employees for the future workforce. Managers, HR professionals and leaders of training organizations cannot just sit idle in light of the information that is known and let employees spend another year thinking their jobs are secure and their skills are sufficient.  By the time individuals realize they have a problem, it will be too late.

 As you look towards 2020 and assess your company’s training needs, consider the impacts of technology disruption on your employees and whether this might be the ideal time for you to invest in the fundamental (and universal) skills that employees will need to excel in the workforce of the future.  Kepner-Tregoe has been an global leader in problem solving training and consulting for over 60 years – helping companies and their employees solve the operational problems of today and prepare for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. 

Read Jason O’Neill’s Future-Proofing Your Organization.  This whitepaper is a discussion about how businesses will soon experience a productivity decline due to the shifting needs of our modern environment and what companies need to consider to future-proof their organizations.

 

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