Right-Skilling For Knowledge Workers


Learning is not a tick in the box activity and rather a critical agenda for business success. In fact, given the rapid pace of change and increased competition in the professional services industry, the focus is now more on right-skilling vs learning. By 2030, as many as 375 million workers globally will have to master fresh skills as their current jobs evolve alongside the rise of automation and capable machines, estimates McKinsey Global Institute. 

While some roles become redundant, with the rise of digitization and automation, the role of knowledge workers as high-level workers becomes even more crucial. They would be the game-changers in helping companies build and leverage the best of innovative solutions. With their knowledge and indispensable skills, they will enable companies to get their competitive edge. To build these capabilities employers have to make a continuous investment in right-skilling their knowledge workers and that too in the new hybrid work system. Let’s explore what all it entails:

Identifying specialized roles & competencies for business

Unlike frontline talent, the skills required by the knowledge workers are very niche. Hence, the approach to enable this part of the workforce to advance in their career requires a different approach and dedicated effort.  

The organizations have to invest a great deal of time and effort to identify future capabilities and skills required. It involves understanding the changing landscape of business, driving functional team assessments, and analyzing what percentage of existing employees have these skills, and what percentage need to be reskilled. But how? Most high-growth companies have switched to an AI-driven approach and use data to identify the right skills needed for their knowledge-workers. 

The tools enable them to do role-based skill benchmarking and help them identify their current availability of skills as opposed to industry needs. For instance, post pandemic the tech adoption has been on the rise and so has the demand for niche digital skills. Organizations should enable their current tech teams to build or enhance their capabilities to be ready for a more digital future of work. 

Understanding the learning goals of knowledge workers in your organization

To be able to create a relevant and engaging learning experience it is important for businesses to respect and acknowledge the learning needs of the high-level workers as well. Their learning and skilling journeys must be personalized for them and also be more driven by them. It starts by involving learners from the very beginning to create their own unique learning pathways. Here’s where AI can play an instrumental role. The AI-driven learning tools recommend the right learning for the right persona, based on the learner’s learning history, interests and role.

Additionally, business leaders, line managers, and /or L&D leaders must also have conversations with the employees to understand what skills they wish to invest in, while they also guide them and make them aware about the industry trends. 

Many organizations are also curating unique learning journeys through learning experience platforms and making them available to their employees. The learners have the opportunity to choose and opt for learning modules or certifications they are most interested in. A robust learning management system enables employees to not just be more job-ready but also future-ready, by aligning courses that will help them in their desired career path. 

Asynchronous self-paced learning management systems further provide employees insights on their learning progress and create a more immersive experience for them. L&D leaders through these systems can also monitor the learning journeys of various employees and gather data and insights on what’s working and what’s not. These insights can further help them create more personalized learning experiences for knowledge workers. 

Building more knowledge workers within the organization

As per a Gallup report, Fortune 500 companies are losing an estimated $31.5 Bn per year because they don’t have effective strategies in place to encourage knowledge sharing across teams. Knowledge workers don’t have to restrict their skills and expertise. They are valuable because they possess certain skills and knowledge which they can also share with others using knowledge sharing best practices and initiatives. To close the widening skill gaps, organizations must look at ways to get the best out of their knowledge workers. 

As a solution, organizations should look at building internal talent marketplaces where employees can work along with each other on various projects and learn from each other on the job. Using AI, the Talent Marketplace can help match relevant opportunities to various employees looking to build niche skills or looking to grow in a more strategic role, and enable the organization to benefit from the untapped ambitions and potential of its people. Let’s take the example of NASA, which thrives on its people’s knowledge and subject matter expertise. To uncover the disruptors driving the changes and unlock new insights and opportunities for building the workforce of tomorrow, NASA built an internal talent marketplace to foster continuous development. Through NASA’s Talent Marketplace employees now have access to a wider range of internal career development opportunities at their center and across NASA.

Investing in the growth of knowledge workers is not only good for their development but also helps in keeping them more engaged and motivated at work. When top talent realizes that an organization is interested and invested in the success of their employees, they are more likely to be inspired to contribute.

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