Workforce

Learning Accelerator Program: Worker Skills Keeping Pace with Technology

By Tim Wright Consultant, Workforce Transformation, Dell Technologies Education Services November 24, 2020

The current global rush to digital transformation makes employee learning critical in terms of technology consumption and business outcomes. The greater the degree of digital transformation, the greater the need for continuously improved learning opportunities. The greater the business impact of digital transformation, the greater the demand for revised learning strategies.

The introduction to Dell Technologies’ Realizing 2030 report states:

Emerging tech today is not only creating new possibilities for how people and jobs find each other more seamlessly, they are also enabling new ways of working together. These advancements in technologies will require new skills and capabilities for workers to excel in the 2030 work environment.

First, this article will validate the current and future realities of digital transformation and the several disruptions it causes. Then, we will explore the specific, unique learning strategy needs it produces and how companies can respond with an effective upskilling and reskilling strategy. Finally, we will examine a specific response that provides effective means for increased, improved employee training.

Digital Transformation: Current and Future State

Dell Technologies’ Digital Transformation Index: 2020 reveals the undeniable presence of digital transformation:

  • 80% of the companies fast-tracked digital transformation programs in 2020
  • Just 41% accelerated most or all their programs

Digital transformation began with the computerization of processes in the early 1990s. Today it is a full-scale strategy as every industry and product now use digital technologies to provide better outcomes and experiences regarding:

  • Products and services
  • Customers and customer satisfaction
  • Operations and operating expenses
  • Employee performance

“Digital spillover” is the total impact of digital technologies rather than just the amount of technological manufacturing. A 2017 report by Huawei Telecommunications and Oxford Economics reported that the digital economy, including digital spillover, was 15.5% and $11.5T of the global economy. From 2002 to 2016, the digital economy had grown 2.5 times faster than the global GDP.

We are currently living through digital transformation at an ever-accelerating rate. The rush to stay-at-home and work-from-home drove an upsurge in usage of digital hardware, services, storage, communications, analytics, decision-making, and more. While Huawei reported growth of 24.3% to the global economy by 2025, KPMG earlier this year commented that the rate of digital expansion can now be spoken of in months rather than years.

For the 3 decades that digital transformation has had an identity, its accompanying disruptions have become familiar if not common knowledge. These disruptions occur in technology, data, security, analytics, storage, integration, collaboration, competition, workplace, and workforce. Rather than separate disruptions in each of those areas and more, the disruptions are now taking on an integrated, sweeping effect.

What’s new in the coming disruption? In earlier stages, innovation destroyed the barriers between industries. But today, innovation is wiping out the barriers within industries, as technology innovation transforms workflows, value chains and entire industries. In the 2020s, this radical new kind of disruption will accelerate. New technologies will collapse industry boundaries, wiping out sectors and functions. Every business will be in direct contact with customers and will be forced to master customer intimacy. The pace of change will grow ever faster, and once-dominant technologies will be overwhelmed and replaced. An entirely new business ecosystem will be the result. (Chief Executive)

Digital transformation is a reality now and will increase at an ever-faster rate. KPMG, previously mentioned, reported the following forecasts by the 1,250 CEOs surveyed:

  • 74% – digitization of operations and creation of next-generation operating models
  • 70% – creation of new digital business models and revenue streams
  • 66% – a new workforce model with human workers augmented by AI/ML and automation

Digital Transformation: New Skills Required

Dell’s Digital Transformation Index: 2020 reports that when asked what enabled their transformation acceleration, 41% credited “the right in-house digital skills”. That response says two things: first, digital skills are recognized as critical, yet as many as 59% of the companies surveyed are in need of these ever-changing skills.

Gartner’s HR Survey in 2019 showed that 71% of HR leaders cited growing the business as their highest priority. Almost the same percentage of business leaders (67%) see successful digitalization as key to business success. Conclusion: developing employee skills to drive digital transformation is critical to future business success.

Currently, three trends are impacting technological skills:

  1. Expiration of skills once performed by humans now performed better, cheaper, and faster by technology
  2. Evolution of skills that enable employees to work with higher levels of technology
  3. Introduction of new skills thanks to new technologies and advancements

Those trends create the need, as reported in 2018 by the World Economic Forum, to upskill or reskill at least 54% of the global employee population. Additional evidence is PwC’s commitment to providing “tools, training, and technologies” at the expense of $3B to upskill its 55,000 employees by “arming them with digital acumen, understanding data, visualization and analytics” (Suneet Dua, US Chief Products Officer at PwC). Among the seven “digital pivots” necessary for a business’s digital maturity listed by Deloitte (2020), is

Digital savvy: Retooling training programs to focus on digital competencies, and staffing teams through flexible, contingent talent models to rapidly access in-demand skill sets and flex the organization’s workforce based on business need.

Skills development that will satisfy demands from the digital revolution relies upon successful identification and determination of what skills are needed. Dell’s Realizing 2030 report states:

There is little debate that the pace of change is accelerating—and with it, the rate at which people acquire the ever-evolving skills and knowledge they need to execute their jobs. Yet, our ability to prepare today’s learners for tomorrow’s work is hampered by a lack of shared understanding of what people will need to know to be successful in the 2030 work environment.

Digital Transformation: Steps to Satisfy the Skills Demand

Businesses today face this three-part challenge:

  1. Ever- and faster-changing skills required
  2. Identifying the skills required now and in the future
  3. A tactical approach to provide training for in-place and incoming employees

 

Dell Technologies Education Services Learning Accelerator Program (LAP) offers businesses integrated tactics – needs-analysis, problem-solving, and consultation – that work best in your culture by accomplishing essential skills development and skills improvement to meet the digital revolution. A Learning Architect will provide a customized learning strategy for every key role, involving deployed and planned Dell Technologies solutions as well as non-product industry-standard training, such as IT-as-a-Service.

As a top-down consultative approach, LAP works with business leaders to correlate business goals and learning needs, relevant to the education of current and new workers. By interactive interviews with business leads and stakeholders, the LAP identifies the employee transformation elements aligned with long-term business goals.

The Learning Architect uses anecdotal information from the interviews to develop a customized skill survey that considers business goals and learning culture. The survey results identify skills gaps confronting what the business wants to achieve. The Learning Architect then creates a report with specific recommendations of learning paths and modalities that can satisfy those goals. These customized engagement steps include:

  • A training curriculum and delivery modalities
  • Individual learning paths per skill and skill set
  • Training delivery plan (calendar-based) including courses, people, outcomes, and cost

The Learning Architect pulls data every three months to determine that the plan is being followed, the learners’ degree of satisfaction, and the fulfillment of KPIs. The information is gathered to guarantee accurate skills are covered and the specific Learning Accelerator Plan is followed. If necessary, this provides a real-time opportunity to adjust either.

Summary

Digital transformation depends upon workforce transformation sooner rather than later if both are to be successful. These three facts prove that professional coordination and alignment of specific, relevant skillsets can hasten your journey to digital transformation:

  1. More digital transformation happens every day at increasing velocity
  2. Workforces require upskilling and reskilling to support the digital transformation
  3. Learning paths should be relevant to specific job roles, with attention to business goals and technological changes

Digital transformation is happening now and will continue. Now is the time to build a workforce transformation for your business to help it succeed.

Visit the Dell Technologies Education Services Learning Accelerator Program; see what it can do for your business’s digital transformation.

Then you will want to download the Learning Accelerator Program flyer.

 

Sources:

Dell Technologies’ Realizing 2030: The Future of Work
Dell Technologies’ Digital Transformation Index: 2020
Digital Spillover: Measuring the True Impact of the Digital Economy
Digital Acceleration (KPMG)
Technology Outlook 2020: A New Breed of Disruption (Chief Executive)
The Digital Skills Gap Is Widening Fast…(World Economic Forum)
Dell Technologies Education Services Learning Accelerator Program

About Tim Wright


Consultant, Workforce Transformation, Dell Technologies Education Services

Tim Wright joined Dell EMC, now Dell Technologies, in 2013 as Consultant-Professional Development in the then GSD L&D organization. His focus initially was on providing professional/personal skills improvement resources for members of the training delivery organization. That soon expanded to Tim’s development of a series of virtual instructor-led professional development courses that ran successfully for the SDS organization.

After teaching middle school for 13 years—to individuals now in their late 40s and early 50s!—Tim navigated to corporate training and development. He’s been at it as the industry’s changed its name from “corporate training” to “training and development” to “corporate learning” to “L&D” to “digital learning”….. His focus has always been in the area of interpersonal skills: professional development, soft skills, generic training. Whether communication skills or team building or leadership development or problem-solving and decision-making, Tim’s passion is helping people discover ways to improve their performance while increasing enjoyment of what they do.

As much as possible, Tim enjoys a 40-40-20 approach to his work. Ideally, he spends 40% of his time interacting with stakeholders to engage in the observation-interview-empathize segments of Design Thinking. The next 40% continues DT practices of prototyping, sharing with stakeholders, testing. The last 20% is the delivery or iteration where failure is discovered as the fastest step to improvement. He even envisions a project that allows him to fit that formula into a 5 day week: M-T is design, W-T is development, F is delivery.

Tim’s pretty much given up running for long-distance walking/hiking. His golf game is improving. He journals like crazy and is always working on another poem.

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