Reskilling and Upskilling through Behavioral Change: AI’s Ascendance in the Midst of the Skills Gap Crisis

There is currently a problem when it comes to professional learning and development and unfortunately, it is not a small one. An evident skills gap is becoming glaringly apparent within numerous organizations. In fact, a recent IBM conducted study suggests that over 120 million workers worldwide will need reskilling and upskilling in the next three years given all the current business changes and technological disruptions. Many actually feel that this number barely scratches the surface.

So what exactly is the key to addressing the rising skills gap? How does a company ensure that its employees get the learning they require in order to address at-work issues and what’s more be able to do so in an effective and multi-dimensional way? Many experts note that spurring the right kind of behavioral change, in general, is going to increasingly come into play as machine learning, AI and data science become part and parcel of a business’s every day. These same technologies and innovations are going to become central in terms of how we train employees, how information is received, and consequently, how we can more effectively reinforce the learning that does take place. Emphasis needs to be placed on personalized experiences that truly do impact an employee’s development and perhaps more importantly, set them up for professional success over the long term in a digitized world that refuses to slow down for anyone.

Six Keys to Effective Behavior Change

It’s no longer about generic programs, long-form learning, and a one-size-fits-all approach to training, reskilling and upskilling. Rather, we live in an era where, fortunately, innovative technology and data-driven strategies are helming the L&D ship, so to speak. This enables managers to individualize training approaches, effectively deliver just-in-time learning when needed, and far more efficiently assess how the training is actually working.

1. Consistency. The problem with the “old school” way of corporate training was that it essentially was a one and done initiative. That is to say, during onboarding, a new hire was flooded with information—so much so that generally little failed to stick. And then that was it. Reskilling and upskilling were barely touched upon ideas and so an employee was left to just “figure it out.” Given the more intelligent technology now at our disposal, training managers and leaders can offer consistent, regular learning opportunities. Able to be delivered to phones even, relevant nudges when necessary and real-time training moments lend themselves to a far more consistent and thus meaningful experience.

2. Personalized Microlearning. When it comes to talent development and training efforts that actually have an impact, personalization is everything. Behavioral change can really only come about by addressing specific behaviors. Needless to say, behaviors vary dramatically from person to person. What works for one, may not work for another. A personalized approach in tandem with a more streamlined and relevant-to-the-moment strategy is how companies are answering the call to make their training programs more effective.

Employees are overwhelmed at times; most typically have about twenty minutes per week to set aside for any learning that needs to take place. So instead, we are seeing a shift to a targeted microlearning: short 3-5 minute texts/videos/audio files that can be digested quickly while having maximum impact.

3. Just-in-time Learning. Hand in hand with the efficiency of microlearning, just-in-time learning is there when the employee needs it. As opposed to being force-fed training modules during a moment that bears no connection to the task at hand or a challenge faced, workers, can instead access the material they need at the relevant time. Think about a call center representative whose response time is lagging behind his peers: with just-in-time learning this one employee will get a specific short overview on how to ramp up his productivity. There’s no need to make the rest of your team waste their time on a learning module that is irrelevant to them.  

4. Knowledge Reinforcement. Of course, it is a critical part of any training program to be able to consistently reinforce the knowledge that has in fact been acquired. Behavior change is as much about reinforcing what has been learned as it is about teaching new skills. It’s about presenting employees with appropriate content at predetermined intervals, thereby refreshing the information that they initially acquired and ultimately making it stick more effectively. Such content that an employee recurrently gets is presented in bite-sized chunks; the experience is thus more memorable, more meaningful, and more relevant overall. 

5. Knowledge Sharing. Furthermore, giving employees opportunities to share what they learn and the experiences they’ve encountered via a community platform, without question promotes a more comprehensive culture of learning. With so many companies facing a challenge as far as knowledge transfer due to their baby boomers leaving the workforce as well as millennials shifting from one job to another at a speed of light, having the right knowledge sharing tools and strategies in place is critical to sustaining uninterrupted operations for continuous growth.  

6. Scalability. Any good talent development program will enable managers to engage their workforce at scale. If learning initiatives aren’t addressed at all levels and geared specifically to individuals, these initiatives are ultimately going to go by the wayside. Especially with such rapid advances when it comes to AI, the ability to track, monitor, and deliver the right training automatically to each employee at every stage of their growth is going to be fundamental moving forward. And this is especially true for those companies gearing toward rapid business and operations growth. 

The Impact of Driving Behavioral Change

As companies gear up for the major technology changes and AI advancements on the horizon, we’re apt to see an increased focus on in-house reskilling and upskilling. The war for talent aside, efforts to this end will not only ensure that individuals can keep pace with the hard and soft skills needed but also managers are supporting HR with human capital management, precisely when needed.

Talent development, along these same lines, stands to come into a more robust framework. It’s a competitive climate out there. Especially post-pandemic, we are going to see more and more businesses scampering to draw in customers. They need a strong team to support these efforts. By developing the talent they currently have they enhance their human capital, building a stronger foundation from which to compete. To this same end, stronger and more innovative employees ultimately equal greater workforce productivity.

Finally, by driving behavioral change in key ways, training managers and leaders ensure more dynamic employee engagement. Cultivating your company culture, its mission and vision should be a central focus for all team members, and so by instituting more relevant learning experiences and more engaging training opportunities, leaders can help bring everyone together for the greater good of the business.

Rallyware supports business leaders who want to see their employees attain the skills needed to be competitive in a constantly changing landscape. Schedule your demo today to see how we can help you bring growth to your company.