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How to Stop Worrying About a Jobless Future

Digital business transformation and training expert Jean-Marc Tassetto, co-founder of Coorpacademy and former head of Google France, says new ways of helping employees to ’upskill’ are on their way

We all know that Artificial Intelligence and automation are coming at us at breakneck speed. So how will business cope? Will we all be unemployed soon?

According to The World Economic Forum, technologies like AI and Robotic Process Automation are indeed entering every profession, and at speed. But does that mean fewer jobs, as so many fear – or a completely new set of career opportunities?

The need for an in-work learning culture

That same study points to the latter, promising automation could create many more jobs than would be displaced. Importantly, it adds there will be “significant shifts” in the quality, location and format of new roles: machines are expected to perform about 42% of all current tasks in the workplace by 2022, compared to only 29% now, according to the study, while some authorities claim that only as little as 35% of current skills will still be relevant in five years.

That means we all need to change jobs and careers multiple times throughout our lives: an ability to adapt will be critical. Against this backdrop, the job of the responsible business owner is to create ways to help their employees access the kind of training that might help them adjust, as well as cope with any new advanced tech you introduce yourself.

This is being crystallised down as the need to create a ‘learning culture’ – encouraging workers to gain new skills that organisations require now or in the future and in attracting and retaining talent.

One problem: we’re not doing that yet. Training and HR teams are there to provide the resources, tools and time to support learning, scheduling the diaries and career plans of staff, booking the armies of trainers and projectors, and making hundreds of hours of relevant content available. But, traditional training culture seems to assume staff are passive objects that simply get shuffled in and out of all those training rooms!

Yet for any training to succeed and make a difference, it’s essential that employees buy into the concept and stop seeing the training as something done to them.

To get workplace training back to where it should be, this needs to change. In particular, if we are serious about our commitment to re- and up-skill and prepare for that near future, we need a way to connect back with the employee and deliver what they want. We also need to rethink the way training has traditionally been delivered – and we have to ask ourselves if it is realistic to expect people who work remotely and anytime, to stop everything and sit in front of a trainer with a PPT and a laser pointer for eight solid hours.

What does that look like in practice? Actually, very similar to what you and I are already doing in our day-to-day lives, and especially the Millennials and digital natives on your team. We live on our phones and we all try and make dead time waiting for a train as useful as possible, looking for content. We refuse to be delayed by a knowledge gap, turning to the Internet to plug any lack of understanding – and we might play a mobile game for a minute or two during a lunch break.

Move into the future together

The old method of scheduling fixed hours needs to be discarded in favour of a blended learner-chosen model, where classroom training could be supported by a virtual environment in which all lessons and material are digital and available, 24x7 and increasingly via mobile and in short bursts. In addition, incorporating gamification and collaboration features will increase staff engagement by activating the joy of competition, too.

Such learner-centric approaches really work – and can, our data shows, secure user engagement levels for digital training content of more than 80%.

But be warned: none of this will succeed if employees don’t see what’s in it for them. According to IT tech trend watchers Gartner, we need to therefore, “Place the learner’s experience and the solution’s usability at the top of the priority list for any new learning project.”

To sum up, training has to be about the learner now, encouraging employees to develop to their full potential and to future-proof their careers. That way you can shore up your firm’s future – and meet the future in a positive way together, too.

The author is co-founder of learning experience and upskilling platform Coorpacademy and former CEO of Google France

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Jean-Marc Tassetto .

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