Organizations worldwide have been gearing up for the fourth industrial revolution for some time now. A revolution which is set to unveil a ‘new world’, where tech and artificial intelligence will change the way we work forever. Unsurprisingly, the global pandemic has expedited this revolution and businesses must act now. But with change, comes risk. And with risk, comes cost.
The fourth industrial revolution has brought with it an abundance of risk for businesses. Perhaps most worryingly is its impact on the workforce. Dubbed the ‘skills gap crisis’, it is expected that this industrial revolution will cause a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people. And this isn’t simply due to bots and technology replacing people in organizations. Our people will need to acquire and learn new skills to work alongside the new technology that is heading our way.
But rather than see this upheaval as a business risk, why do we not perceive it as an opportunity? A chance for our people to reskill, redevelop and perhaps most importantly, for our businesses to stay competitive?
The real cost of non-compliance
It’s true, much of this change comes back to compliance – a word most businesses shudder at the thought of. There are many preconceived notions about the role of compliance in business – which are often along the lines of ‘it’s boring’, ‘unimportant’ or ‘a waste of time’. But overlooking compliance can actually cost businesses three times as much as compliance itself. And what savvy business leader would run that risk of inflated costs? Coupling this cost with other damaging risks, such as business disruption, loss of reputation and unsettling working environments and it’s a no brainer to tackle it now.
Instead of treating risk minimization with nonchalance, it’s time to embrace change and tackle business risk head-on. And there are many reasons why it’s not only recommended, but increasingly critical that businesses do just that.
Why business risk should be taken seriously
When thinking about business risk, we rarely consider the benefits that come with it. But the truth is, being compliant is a great way of improving performance and embracing change. It allows businesses to reflect, improve efficiencies and introduce technology to increase competitiveness. And it’s also a great time to change organizational culture; creating an environment where your employees embrace learning – which in turn, will help close the skills gap.
But when 45% of executives see training as a cost center, rather than an opportunity for improvement, it’s clear that we have a lot of work to do to change perceptions. And much of that change comes from an education about the benefits of training; and encouraging your people to embrace change instead of avoiding it.
How to change the perception of compliance in your organization
1. Give your learners more credit
Often, organizations will blame learners for poor learning impact. But the truth is, your people want to learn, but they want to understand the benefits of doing so. And to encourage this change; we need to change how we approach learning.
Organizational learning often follows a push down approach – the business creates learning content, learners take it, no questions asked. To truly enable our people to embrace change and alter perceptions about being compliant, we must put them in the driving seat. We must utilize platforms that enable the workforce to manage and share their knowledge, whilst also allowing them to create their own learning scenarios and opportunities.
For example, imagine a scenario where your field engineers are able to share their critical expertise by recording themselves solving problems or sharing a troubleshooting process. Your people become privy to a wealth of business-specific knowledge and your engineers are empowered by sharing that knowledge. It’s a win-win.
For this to have real business impact, you need to ensure the right learning is in front of the right learner, at the right time. Fortunately, as the business world has changed, so has learning technology. And by using artificial intelligence and recommendations many learning management platforms can point people in the direction of the content they need to learn, grow and be compliant.
2. Simplify the process
Often workplace learning requires people to move away from their usual workspace to learn. Which causes a disruption to their working day and doesn’t facilitate learning in the flow of work. This concept is perhaps synonymous with classroom training – where learners had to go to another physical location to learn. But it is equally apparent in digital learning.
In the online world, we ask people to leave tools and software they’re familiar with – such as Microsoft Teams or even mobile-based communication tools such as WhatsApp – and log in to another platform to complete learning. This in itself causes disruption and creates a deterrent for learners. Instead, utilize tools that integrate learning into their roles. For example, integrate your learning platform with Microsoft Teams, so that employees can collaborate and solve complex problems with a central digital space. The easier you make the learning experience, the more likely it is that your employees will embrace it.
3. Empower employees
We are entering a new era of work. The fourth industrial revolution, and the introduction of technology that comes with it, will simplify working processes. And learning should be no different. In our new working world, we should allow learning to be self-service; empowering our employees to take ownership of their learning experiences, whilst still ensuring they receive the upskilling and reskilling they need.
Empower your employees with workflows and task management from within your learning platform to ensure they tick all the boxes (even the compliance ones), whilst feeling empowered to learn when and how they want to. Go even further by providing them with modern tools such as video and user-generated content to create and share powerful, useful content in just a few simple clicks.
4. Break the habit – it doesn’t need to be mandatory
To overcome problems of poor learner engagement, many organizations opt to make learning mandatory. Instructing learners to complete a course or workshop by a specific date – or face some type of punishment. However, this type of extrinsic motivation does nothing to improve learning outcomes. Instead, learners will rush, panic and speed their way through the course content, without actually taking any of it in. Which does not lead to real behavioral change.
Instead, as an organization you must tap into their intrinsic motivation. Encourage and educate them about the benefits they will get from completing the program. And ensure that they’re embarking on learning because they actually want to. It is only at this point that you will create long-term behavioral change in your people, and truly boost the competitiveness of your business.
The truth is, change is hard for organizations and their employees. But embracing these business changes and challenges is the only way to remain competitive and at the forefront of your industry. And this must start with your people, upskilling and reskilling them to ensure they are ready for the fourth industrial revolution and the new technology that will come with it.
Want to learn more about how to prepare your organization for the future? Why not explore our ebook?