Upskilling: Training to Address the Changing Workforce Landscape

There are seismic shifts underway in the global workforce that are challenging organizations of every size. While technological advances create powerful business opportunities, they also create significant skills gaps in various segments of the workforce. Adding to this challenge are generational issues. Many baby boomers are retiring and taking their sizable knowledge with them. And retaining millennials, who tend to job hop, is an ongoing challenge.

So, what is the solution? Well, we can begin with upskilling millennials with the knowledge and skills they require to do their jobs effectively and keep the organizations they work for competitive.  The right training and development programs, along with an intergenerational knowledge transfer process, will also ensure they stay longer.

Rapid Changes Ahead

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2018 “Future of Jobs” report, over half of employees will need “significant” reskilling and upskilling by 2022, which is just three years from now. Trends such as automation and the rise of cybercrime are quickly changing the skills companies need, but it’s difficult to find employees who have those skills.

The status of baby boomers and millennials complicate matters.

Baby boomers are leaving the workforce in major numbers, and in 2020, the youngest boomers turn 53, and the oldest turn 71, meaning a good number of them will be of retirement age.

A 2016 survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 41% of employed baby boomers had been with their company for at least 20 years. When these boomers retire, their organizations can lose a massive gap in knowledge of both the industry and what’s required to work in it.

And millennials are leaving jobs at a record pace. In Deloitte’s 2019 millennial survey, almost half of respondents said they would leave their current jobs within the next two years if they had the opportunity to do so  — a higher percentage than in any of its previous millennial surveys.

Upskilling to Retain Millennials — Right Now!

Organizations can no longer expect to invest three to five years to bring employees up to a master proficiency, especially for millennials. They must shift from individual expertise to system expertise, so employees can learn as they go. Through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, organizations can identify what information needs to be in place, deliver it at the point of need, and offer refresher performance-based training through adaptive learning or micro-learning when necessary.

A benefit of providing training to millennial employees is that it will help engage and retain them. Research has found that millennials want to work for companies that provide them with opportunities to grow and develop professionally and personally.

Organizations must respond to this challenge with effective knowledge capture and knowledge transfer processes. Mentoring and coaching is one method to include. When boomers and millennials work together on projects, they can share ideas, and the younger employees can observe experts in action. This also helps build an informal network and social capital throughout the organization.

Learning organizations can also use video to capture boomers’ knowledge for the day that they are no longer available to mentor and coach new employees. Micro-learning videos capture these insights in an engaging way. Then, adaptive learning platforms can help you index the videos and make them easily accessible to millennials in the flow of work.

Evaluation Using Performance-Based Training

It’s important to evaluate any type of training initiative, but it’s especially necessary in the case of critical cross-generational upskilling and knowledge transfer. Performance-based training, an approach that links learning with actual job performance improvement, enables both continuous evaluation and improved skills development.

By starting with a definition of the skills your organization needs and how they align with key business goals, you can ensure that millennials are learning the right skills — and applying them on the job — and that baby boomers are imparting the right knowledge to their younger counterparts.

We still have some time before the remaining baby boomers leave the workforce. By leveraging learning technologies like adaptive learning and video, implementing on-the-job mentoring and coaching, and using performance-based training to upskill employees and measure performance, organizations can make the most of that time and ensure success now and in the future.

By upskilling your millennials, you’ll make sure you have the skills your organization needs to be successful and ensure your company hangs onto its talented millennial employees a little longer. Let Raytheon Professional Services show you how.

Reach Out to RPS

Get in touch with our team now to identify and deliver effective upskilling initiatives. How would you tackle upskilling in your organization? Do you have lessons learned that you’d like to share? Start a conversation in the comments below or connect with us at @RaytheonRPS using hashtags #upskilling, #learning, #training.