There is a disconnect between the current skill sets of the tech industry and the required skills for Industry 4.0. CIO’s and other IT leaders face issues with a clear vision on future business challenges and how their companies will work to solve for them. This cross-industry challenge makes it difficult to understand what type of talent to hire, what skills to build, as well as what business stance to adopt and lead by.
In addition to their leaders, IT workers face new challenges in the way work is performed. Up until now, an IT professional could hone a specific skill, branding themselves as SCRUM master or SAP expert. They may have spent their entire careers focused on contributing to a single proficiency and never considered, possibly hesitating at the thought of, taking on another highly technical role.
However, becoming multi-disciplinary, not necessarily multi-expert, is paving the way for agile teams who can collaborate among skills sets to stay ahead of productization. The assistance of automation and machines further decreases the need for a sole subject disciplinary. Automation does the hard work, freeing IT workers to learn, knowledge share and collaborate.
Leaders have recognized that cross-skilled employees help solve the question of a future proof workforce. While they can make a point to hire multi-disciplinaries who are experienced in adapting to change, what are they to do with current staff who are only masters of one? Directional questions reappear – What skills building should I, as a leader, task once SAP gurus with learning to prepare them for anything in the future? How does my organization best approach multi-disciplinary training while fostering an environment that welcomes task flexibility and knowledge sharing?
In a study by the Association for Talent Development, companies that offer thorough training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. These companies also have a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training. Research shows that a full 40% of employees who don’t receive the necessary job training to become effective will leave their positions within the first year.
The message is clear across industries but especially in IT -prepare for the uncertainty of Industry 4.0 by cross-training and lean on automation to supplement skills and expertise. Offering a range of training will not yield results without understanding the organization’s scope of needs. The question of what to do to prepare is answered. The question of how remains. Solving for the how of training goes back to evaluating future needs.
Solve for how
Leverage industry ecosystems to anticipate new technologies. Leaders must creatively consider their networks and collaborate with organizations that are constantly developing technology. Universities, Incubation Hubs and Startups are a great investment. Companies should set up a news loop of the latest developments by these agencies and open their organizations to collaboration. These companies are then positioned as insiders and potential innovation partners.
Having insight on how the industry will take shape will allow you to prioritize certain skills sets over others. You can create relevant training based on future tide shifts. Utilizing a learning management system (LMS) is a scalable solution to encourage continuous growth. An LMS offers the flexibility of change. In most cases it can become an organization’s staple system for learning even outside of skills building.
Encouraging knowledge sharing among experts fosters an environment of collaboration. Facilitating sharing events and one-on-one experience-based training on a consistent basis
creates a community of multi-talented contributors. Learning new skills means nothing without practice. It’s imperative that organizations follow up on training with planned work and newly
devised career scopes that reflect an employees new skills.
Speed to market rules supreme in today’s world. Producing a minimally viable product that can endure iterations along the path to completion is becoming the delivery standard. Building a workforce that is flexible in skillset makes for agile production. It blends basic knowledge with speed.