In trying to make sense of change and growth quotient, look around to see its disruptive potential – ‘computers’ unleashed a new way of thinking – digitization. Suddenly the physical rows of levers and buttons on panels were reduced to digital switches on screens. While sea tankers can be steered from a digital dashboard (for factual purposes, they still have manual steering wheel onboard).
Human interaction and workplace relationships have shifted and adapted as well. Brevity to focus on dynamic, parallel and on-the-fly workplace environment is presenting new opportunities and challenges. The strategies from mechanized ‘past’ are often found lacking to run the digital ‘future’.
With the rising tide of technology, older employees struggle to cope while new ones are on the lookout for guidance – the prospect of being a competitive organization hangs in balance.
Future-proofing has the potential to deliver within the context of a thriving opportunity. For the purposes of this narrative, let us designate future-proofing to large and medium multi-tier organizations, for now. Let us see this with some (or largely limited) experience in indigenous digital transition or collaborative adoption.
“Future-ready” is when the organization has planned for digitization with an alignment strategy in place. We are talking about a system-based responsive approach that has supervisory roles possessing knowledge, driving its implementation and deployment.
What is Future-proofing?
Future-proofing is the introduction of automation as an ‘organization wide’ concept through first-of-its-kind approaches within the organization.
A case in point is the historical exposure of blue collar workers in automobile industry to hazards. Earlier, assembly line work between several people would cut manufacturing complexity while saving time. But, hazards due to moving machinery, metal and chemicals overturned this efficiency into a looming challenge. Modern automotive manufacturing combines robotic precision with human-aided action to cut worker exposure to hazards, resulting in significantly less injuries while improving time gains. This makes a positive case for automation, overall.
However, automation needs to gain acceptance, demands skill and responsive attitude to derive its true value.
Future-proofing strategy can achieve this by deploying the right training(s) in action. These trainings deliver the desired understandability to gain acceptance. Using demonstrable knowledge, skill development can be improved and behaviour based learnings can shape-up proactive attitude.
Tools for next mile
Training to upskill or re-skill has often fought a losing battle. Set quotas, dreary sessions and 100+ slides in a dim-lit room have only evoked disdain from the workforce. In a counter intuitive way, training can leverage digitization itself turning any future-proofing pursuit into a learning feedback loop.
For digital transformation, organizations need to embrace automation at several levels. For starters, mobile penetration can become an active influencer. Mobile based micro-learning delivered through weekly training sessions can elevate interest and positive response in workforce. Accessibility and on-demand content delivery assures better success rate than largescale sessions. Online course providers with a partnership network of top universities illustrates this in the wild.
Movie based SOPs and SWPs can enhance the value of craft and engineering involved, thereby, decreasing the learning gaps. Trainings as part of the work routine rather than fixed “training calendar” can propel a growth trend.
Organizations need to grasp the importance of limiting their exposure to fiscal, safety, health and environment based hurdles. Future-proofing means tackling those hurdles via training to help workforce understand the relevance of automation. It would need to empower them into becoming active users that in turn leverage automation, suitably.
Training for the future
To allow this environment of digitization to thrive, training with the right mindset would be essential. Trainings on their own, even with the best people and latest technology behind them, cannot achieve much without the right conditions. “Learnings” do not come by that easily and stick too often.
Here is a quick point-by-point primer to create the environment that will set the organization on course to becoming future-proof:
- Constantly plan and prepare for both good and bad outcomes
- Allow the workforce to express themselves
- Smart and cost effective experimentation and failures build resilience
- Partnerships and collaborations promote character and innovation
- Positive and courageous behaviour should be promoted
- Skill improvement will deliver long-term rewards
Levels of training, skill development programs and mentorship opportunities separate leaders from lagging partners. Training as a tool has a lot more prospects to deliver when timed correctly.