Sharon Collins, Co-Founder & MD – My Career Lab

According to recent research from EY: Stop Talking About the Future of Work,”Companies have dramatically increased their investment in automation technologies but are struggling to transition workers into future jobs”.

They understand the need for transformation and that this transformation will ultimately mean new skills will be required while some current skills will not, but many leaders are unsure how to take the first steps in helping their people up-skill or re-skill for the future.

Start by having transparent conversations with your teams

Your people will be well aware that automation is occurring and that jobs could be at risk, so don’t be reluctant to have open and transparent conversations with them about the future.

Recent research suggests that people are very complacent about preparing for the future. Telling people that they need to start thinking about their future and that they should be constantly up-skilling or considering re-skilling should not be avoided but embraced. If done openly and honestly it will act to enhance employee engagement and help them unleash their full potential.

Help people understand what skills they do have

In my experience, many employees do not fully understand what base line skills they do have, so are unsure what skills they need to build or build on to transition into other areas. There are a number of assessment and skills finder tools available to help you do this.

Ask people if they are interested in retraining while they are working

If the tone at the top and action of leaders supports it, people will jump at the opportunity to learn new skills on the job. As a leader, your role is to ensure than they have the right motivation to learn and fully understand the commitment required.

Tell people what they need to learn

According to LinkedIn’s 2019 workplace learning report, 75% of employees said they would take a manager suggested course, but only 46% of employees said they discover learning programs through their managers.

What is important is that they know that what they learn is going to equip them for their next role and will actually get them a job (not just training for training’s sake) so help them by making some recommendations.

A recent Swinburne report also states that 3 out of 4 workers are motivated to learn new skills in the next 12 months.

Tell people where the jobs are

People need to understand where the demand for jobs is going to be for the next few years. This isn’t to suggest they need to move right away, but it will give them an opportunity to start developing skills for these future careers while in their current roles.

For example, we do know that there is a need for more people with skills in Cyber Security, Operational Risk and Data analytics. Up-skilling and re-skilling in these areas is very achievable while in your current role.

Tell people what is actually involved in these jobs

The age old saying you can’t be what you can’t see holds true.

Your people may not understand what someone might do in these different roles, which will make it hard for them to throw themselves completely into a re-skilling program. As a Leader, your role is to help demystify the actual work being done.

For example, people think of Cyber Security as an industry you can only work in if you’re a hacker or programmer, but a growing number of Cyber Security roles are non-technical and require multi-disciplinary skills. The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network – AustCyber reinforces this message in their 2018 sector-competitiveness plan and are calling for better transition pathways from other sectors to help increase diversity and fill medium-term skills gaps in the Australian Cyber Security sector.

Now you understand how to talk about the problem, it’s time to start doing something!

My Career Lab has a unique and trusted solution to help you understand, adapt and mobilise your workforce, ensuring they have the confidence, skills and credentials they need to be successful. We move beyond a narrow focus on retraining towards employability.

We are currently piloting programs with some of Australia’s largest companies – we take an agile approach, we run experiments, we make it simple.

If you’re looking for an easily accessible, cost-effective and ready to run up-skilling or re-skilling solution, My Career Lab can help.