Automation, digitalization and the future of work are on the minds of every organization. In the past two years, technology has increasingly impacted and intersected every aspect of our lives. It has become more critical than ever that workers are equipped with the proper digital skills to perform well in their roles. This is why today many companies have realized the importance of digital upskilling and reskilling to address this challenge and ensure a future-ready workforce.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, technology rapidly changed how we lived, worked and learned. Since 2020, digital transformation has accelerated and reshaped our world in ways we could never have imagined. The pandemic has forced organizations to reevaluate their business strategies and adapt to a new normal. And like many other learning leaders, you may be wondering how you can support digital upskilling and eLearning to enable a future-ready workforce ready to thrive in this new world of work.

While some of the changes we’ve experienced over the past year may disappear once the pandemic subsides, many will remain and become commonplace in the workplace. To keep up with this changing landscape — and thrive within it — your employees will need access to continuous learning opportunities that build vital skills for today and tomorrow.

Close Current and Future Skill Gaps

An organization’s human capital is its most valuable asset. Therefore, it’s no surprise that employees are the first to be affected by a crisis. Many organizations have been forced to reduce head count in training due to social distancing mandates and to challenge leaders to upskill and reskill their employees.

However, in these circumstances, it can be challenging to deliver learning to everyone in the organization. One way to tackle this challenge and develop a culture of learning and development (L&D) is by building an effective program for digital upskilling and reskilling employees.

In the future, machines are expected to handle more process-oriented tasks, leaving humans with higher-level tasks like analyzing, problem solving and interacting with other people. A study by PwC says that 38% of jobs are at risk of being automated in some capacity by 2030.  This means that many people in the near future may be working alongside artificial intelligence (AI). But to be able to perform well in this new business world, employees must focus on digital upskilling and reskilling to ensure continuous success.

Forward-thinking organizations understand that supporting reskilling to enable employees to learn new skills before their jobs (probably) become obsolete is a prime driver to solving employee retention and avoiding issues surrounding layoffs.

3 Ways to Digitally Upskill Your Workforce

One thing is for sure: Your workforce will need ongoing digital upskilling to remain relevant in today’s fast-paced business environment. Let’s evaluate three effective best practices to digitally upskilling your workforce for the future.

1. Integrate reskilling and upskilling into your training programs.

Many employees in today’s business world are already embracing reskilling and upskilling. Though continuous and agile learning never stops, you as the learning leader still must support your employees so that they can learn new skills on their own time as well.

You can introduce self-directed learning as part of your training programs to allow learners a way to learn new digital skills on their own time. This way, your employees can get help from an expert when they need it most and be able to troubleshoot their skills acquisition independently after that initial period.

By integrating eLearning and asynchronous learning into your training program, you can help ensure that learners keep up with their skills training and the rapid pace of technological advancement without losing interest or momentum.

2. Utilize the help of technology.

Employee upskilling is no longer an option but rather a necessity in today’s competitive business environment. To keep up with the ongoing changes in today’s technological landscape, companies need to invest in training their employees so that they can take advantage of new technologies AI, machine learning (ML), blockchain and the internet of things (IoT).

Employees skilled in these technologies will have a better chance at solving complex problems that organizations are facing today as well as help them be more productive in their role.

3. Earning and learning.

Organizations can also demonstrate their training investment by providing a learning stipend to fund employees’ continuing education to build their digital literacy. Another strategy could include holding company-wide hackathons and providing learning as a prerequisite to participate in the hackathon.

With these strategies in place, you can prepare your people for current and future opportunities, while keeping them on board. More importantly, if it’s related to what they do every day at work, this collaboration can increase employee retention and company culture.

Digital Reskilling is Good for Everyone

As our workforce opens its doors to digital natives (born in the age of the internet), businesses face a new form of competition. While in the past it was enough to simply hire skilled and trained employees, now, employees must also be digitally literate.

So what are businesses to do in light of this? How can businesses keep up and stay attractive to potential employees? The simple answer: digital upskilling or reskilling.

And not only is it a valuable asset to ensuring a future-ready workforce, but it helps promote a happy and healthy learning culture — a win-win!