According to a recent survey of more than 3,000 global business decision-makers, nearly 70% said they planned to increase or maintain their digital transformation spending, despite recent setbacks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are you planning to follow suit? As you look for ways to keep your business competitive, you may find that digital technology, such as ERP systems, can deliver the capabilities your team needs to gain efficiencies.

If so, workplace adoption will be a key factor in the overall success of your investment. In other words, you need skilled, capable employees with the ability to navigate the new setup, so reskilling employees should be your focus as you move forward with implementation.

In addition, you should be prepared to change the job descriptions of employees, especially those whose jobs will be mostly automated once the new system is implemented. In cases like this, it’s important to equip these employees with higher-level skills.

Today, we’re sharing how reskilling – as part of a comprehensive change management plan – can help employees learn new technology, and in other cases, how it can equip employees with higher cognitive skills when they are automated out of their current job.

A Structured Process & Set of Tools to Manage Change

Our organizational change management experts can help you prepare your employees for change and ease difficult transitions.

How Digitalization and Automation Affects Employees

Whenever new technology, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, is implemented, employees are directly impacted. These changes affect employees by . . .

  • Rendering some manual tasks obsolete
  • Overwhelming employees who lack the technological skills to perform in their role
  • Lowering morale as employees adjust to the change

Nowadays, it’s impossible to have this conversation without also mentioning the impact of remote work and the new technology and skills that entails.

Many companies are realizing the cost efficiencies of transitioning to a long-term virtual work setup. In fact, according to a recent Gartner survey, around 74% of CFOs expect at least a portion of their current virtual workforce to continue working remotely, even after the pandemic ends.

Long-term virtual work means organizations will need to address any skill gaps that may exist in their workforce when it comes to using the technology that facilitates remote work.

4 Tips for Reskilling Employees

Whether you’re implementing new technology to increase efficiencies or to facilitate remote work, you need to equip employees with the skills they need to perform in a role that looks markedly different from the one they signed up for. The key is understanding where these skill gaps exist and knowing how to address them.

Reskilling efforts work best when they are initiated as part of a greater change management plan. What is change management? This refers to the actions required to manage the “people side” of change. It’s about helping your workforce embrace new technology and business processes.

Rather than holding a few training sessions and expecting employees to jump seamlessly into their new role, let’s take a look at a few steps you can take to gradually transition and train employees:

1. Develop a Roadmap

We’ve long heralded the importance of creating a roadmap any time your organization is faced with a major change. When reskilling employees, this tool is equally helpful.

We recommend looking at the skills your organization currently possesses and outlining the steps you will take to link these skills to the ones you’ll need in the future – not just post-implementation but in the long-term as technological change accelerates and your organization continually adapts. 

reskilling the workforce

2. Focus and Fine-tune Your Training

Trying to address every aspect of technology adoption in a few general sessions can leave both your trainers and employees overwhelmed. Instead, focus your efforts by dividing your training into four categories:

  • Digital skills
  • Higher cognitive skills
  • Social and emotional skills
  • Adaptability and resilience  

For instance, if an employee working in inventory is going to be automated out of a job, you may want to equip this employee with higher cognitive skills so they can stay with the company.

3. Research Virtual Training Options

Due to the pandemic, in-person training sessions are unlikely. As such, you should consider platforms and resources that can help you reskill remotely. 

There are many software solutions that can do the job, but the key is to tailor your content to fit this virtual environment. For example, rather than keeping the same slide deck and transcript, consider using more slides with fewer words to encourage more interaction.

Many platforms include features that encourage active participation:

  • Polls
  • Annotations
  • Chats
  • Emoticons
  • Breakout sessions

4. Communicate the Benefits

As you reskill your employees, there will likely be some pushback from those who saw no issue with the former setup. It’s common to become attached to legacy systems and former best practices, even if they were no longer serving the workforce.

To help remedy this, we recommend clearly communicating the benefits that new technology will provide. For instance, in addition to making an employee’s role less manual, technology may free up the employee to focus on more interesting, higher-level activities.

Navigate Reskilling and Change Management in Your Organization

Reskilling is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be wrought with challenges. Successful companies will be those that approach reskilling as part of an overall organizational change management strategy.

To speak with one of our organizational change management consultants, request a free consultation below.

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