Prepare Your Workplace for 2023 (and Beyond)
As businesses prepare for a potential recession in 2023, the technology industry faces two conflicting, yet-coexisting realities: On one hand, many technology companies are resorting to layoffs to fortify bottom lines and streamline where possible. At the same time, across industries, the imperative of digital transformation shows no signs of stopping. So, while companies may be focused on cost-cutting during the current economic downturn, more than half of executives are increasing their investment in digital transformation and IT initiatives according to a PwC pulse survey. The efficiency and scalability such investments help improve will in turn drive overall savings and give their people additional capacity to spend their time upskilling and applying new technology processes in the flow of work.
To succeed during the uncertain year ahead, businesses must navigate both realities: conserving costs while continuing to grow and transform for the future. Leaders can build company-wide resilience by investing in the technologies that I believe will redefine the future of work in the coming year and beyond, namely big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain. These technologies are at the forefront of global business, with AI projected to contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy and blockchain projected to enhance around 40 million jobs globally by 2030.
However, emerging technologies only aid growth and resilience when used effectively by an upskilled and well-trained workforce. To transform big data, AI and blockchain from buzzworthy trends to substantial business drivers, companies must follow three critical rules: upskill staff, hire for the future and build trust.
Upskilling Staff to Manage Emerging Technology
Technology investments will not yield a return without a skilled workforce behind them. For instance, data collection tools provide a wealth of information on consumer preferences and behaviors, but only a skilled professional with knowledge of the business can select, analyze and synthesize data to make informed recommendations. Upskilling employees in emerging technology allows companies to automate processes and maximize the technology investments that they make, thereby enabling growth while conserving costs.
Not only is upskilling a way companies can create long-term value from their investments, but can also help their employees add the skills they need to expand their opportunity for career advancement. Through upskilling, employees can better address present needs and develop skills that will give them an advantage in the future job market. Digital skills are a key concern for today’s workforce, as an estimated two in every five workers say they are worried about not getting sufficient training in digital and technology skills from their employers. Accordingly, leaders should create a culture that rewards and prioritizes development, so employees are continuously learning and making use of new technology.
Related Article: How Digital Upskilling Is Redefining the Talent Marketplace
Hiring for the Future
Upskilling employees into technical positions is an effective way to invest in digital growth without incurring additional costs through hiring and onboarding new employees. However, if leaders do need to recruit new staff, they should select potential candidates based on how their skillset aligns with the organization’s future needs.
Since big data, AI and blockchain will only grow more ubiquitous in coming years, leaders should consider not only how a candidate’s skills fit the current job requirements but also how their talents could launch the organization ahead in a digital-first marketplace.
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For example, if an organization needs a marketing professional, hiring managers should look for candidates with experience analyzing data and making insight-driven decisions. Even if the company does not need data skills in the short-term, these skills could pave the way for growth and success in the future.
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Building Trust With Employees
A digitally skilled workforce is vital for cost efficient transformation. However, skills alone will not be enough to achieve optimal results; organizations also need their employees’ buy-in. Many workers can be reluctant to adopt emerging technologies, believing that traditional operations are more effective or technology will negatively affect their jobs status. If employees do not trust the technology they work with, companies risk low adoption and poor return on investment.
To combat this, organizations must put trust at the center of their entire operation. Promoting best practices in data ethics, governance and management is central to advancing this mission. By managing data ethically, employees will feel more confident making decisions based on the dataset, which in turn will help the business run more efficiently.
AI, big data and blockchain will drive global technology and business in 2023. Companies that want to grow despite economic downturns will have to weave technology innovation and integration into the fabric of their organization and workforce. Leaders that maintain a digital-first mindset when hiring, upskilling and building trust with employees will lay the groundwork for success and growth in the years ahead.
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