Want to Leverage Intelligent Automation? Invest in Your People

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There are benefits to outsourcing specific features and responsibilities. Organizations can keep costs down and leverage the skills of outside specialists. They can also scale up and down quickly depending on the need. However, outsourcing isn’t always the answer for driving crucial business outcomes, especially when it comes to innovation.

The best approach is often to invest in internal resources – the people who work day in and day out on your business. But what does “investing” in people mean exactly? It means providing employees with the tools and education they need to do their jobs effectively. It’s about aligning training and professional development with your organization’s goals and employee needs through work-based learning programs that enable teams to acquire skills and capabilities. 

What’s more, in today’s workforce, training must account for the importance of human-machine partnerships. Innovating successfully in the modern era often depends on how well people work with machines and utilize automation. To unlock automation’s full potential, companies must provide automation-specific training that equips employees with relevant skills.

The right training program can address critical skills gaps across large organizations. It can also empower employees, improve working experiences and increase buy-in.  When many companies struggle to find and retain top talent, a well-designed training program can keep people engaged while boosting performance. 

The Skills Gap is Real

Before diving into specific strategies to improve workplace training, it’s important to address an essential underlying assumption – that many people in the workforce are unsatisfied with where they are in their careers. 

According to a Work Trend Index surveyOpens a new window conducted by Microsoft in 2021, 41% of employees were likely to contemplate leaving their employers within the next year. Nearly 50% were considering a major career change altogether. Back in 2020, these figures were much lower. Seven in ten people planned to be with their current employer within two years, according to data gathered by Glint. In other words, job-switching intent is much higher in 2022 than it was a few years ago.

Of course, higher turnover means more talent and skills gaps to fill. When organizations don’t have the needed team members; processes move slower, productivity decays, and innovation plummets. Incorporating new technologies into everyday operations is also more difficult when the workforce is in flux.

What makes this problem challenging is that people want more than just flexible work hours and higher pay. While these perks matter, they aren’t enough to keep people from exploring opportunities elsewhere. What employees want now more than ever is equitable, tailored, and adaptive professional development. Rather than bridge skills gaps by bringing in fresh talent, the most efficient path forward is to fine-tune the learning and development for current employees. 

See More: How to Fix the Skills Gap in Your Organization

Intelligent Automation Requires Robust Training

Not only do organizations need to provide continuous learning opportunities, but they also need to ensure those opportunities map to their goals and broader marketplace trends. Intelligent automation is one area where leaders must build proficiency for many companies. 

Intelligent automation refers to when people use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and process automation to streamline end-to-end workflows. Intelligent automation can accelerate innovation as it helps users collaborate and become more productive. Employees can automate repetitive and mundane responsibilities to create capacity for more value-added activities, but companies must ensure employees understand this and the purpose of automation. 

Implementing intelligent automation effectively happens if employees have ample training. Otherwise, any new software, systems, or platforms can create additional administrative burdens rather than tangible efficiencies. The key is to establish a robust training and development capability that supports all employees, no matter where they are in their career trajectories. Well-trained employees will not only positively impact automation implementation but can also champion its advantages to the rest of the organization. 

See More: How Intelligent Automation and AI Address Key Problems Facing the SOC

Build a Learning Culture

The professional development you provide should be relevant to what your employees do and related to your innovation goals. Upskilling and reskilling should be incorporated into work-based objectives and avoid pulling people out of their jobs for long periods. For instance, implement “just-in-time” training rather than continue with one-time workshops, e-courses, or multi-day conferences. Give employees chances to absorb new information and practice it immediately on meaningful work. 

Professional development needs to be tailored to the needs of the individual. Don’t distribute the same curriculum or lessons to all learners. Discover your employees’ aspirations and create training opportunities that correlate to what your people want to learn.

One way to ensure your organization stays on track with learning and development is to invest in a digital platform that employees can use to access educational content, subject matter experts, coaches, and peers to further their learning. The right solution will offer diverse learning pathways and experiences that satisfy different learning styles. 

Staying competitive is now less about outsourcing and creating a healthy, learning-forward culture. Invest in your people – the ones who are already bought into your mission and business. Give them opportunities to grow and apply new skills in their jobs. Then, they’ll stick around long enough for you to tackle the exciting and innovative projects that truly differentiate your organization. You’ll be able to harness the power of things like intelligent automation that take your enterprise to the next level.

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