Given the accelerated impact of technology, today’s workforce appears dated, with skills tuned to technology that is already antiquated. This talent challenge creates one of the greatest obstacles to business transformation. In fact, while nearly 80 percent of business leaders expect their organizations to be digital by 2020, half of these leaders don’t believe they have a digitally skilled workforce.
The challenge is to evolve talent to embody the New—to be highly skilled in new technologies such as big data, automation, and analytics, AR/VR, machine learning, AI, etc. and to embrace the cultural shift from output to outcomes. This imperative has driven organizations such as AT&T to invest $250 million on its Workforce 20/20 initiative, reskilling over 100,000 employees.
When a business sets out on its digital journey, it fundamentally changes how it delivers products and services, requiring new thinking across the board—not just around technology choices but also in how technology is deployed and employed. The digital transformation must be approached holistically, to include operations models, organizational design, workforce strategy, talent assessment, reskilling and culture.
At Accenture, our methods and assets have not only been developed through years of experience helping clients transform their workforce to become digital, we put them to work on ourselves. We’ve undertaken a complete talent transformation, reskilling a quarter of a million of our technology employees. To pull off this massive initiative with speed and at scale, we applied a strategic five-step methodology:
Roles: We adapted existing roles and created new ones to deliver on our New IT operating model.
Skills: Defined required skills and level of competencies by role.
Assessment: Assessed existing workforce and identified New IT skill gaps.
Staffing: Developed a dynamic approach to source IT talent to enable faster time-to-market.
Learning: Re-skilled and re-tooled existing workforce on New IT capabilities using collaborative learning.
Today’s typical workforce is made up of five generations, each with distinct attributes and ways of learning. Learning methods have changed too. To support our talent transformation, we applied more customized, learner-driven training, enhanced by digital technologies such as video, social media, mobile and analytics. We created a digital learning platform available as software as a service. This platform is robust and scalable to accommodate the 270,000 learners that are using it today.
For Accenture, as a people business with employees spread across more than 120 countries, this feat would have been effort intensive and expensive without the leverage of Learning Boards—online resources for users to explore over 70 New IT topics created and managed by emerging tech experts inside and outside of Accenture—a New IT microsite and a mobile app that provides real-time learning results to leadership and executives, enabling them to track progress. This digital learning approach and tools, coupled with business curriculum supports our overall cultural shift to driving business outcomes.
Our talent transformation methodology and learning platform is not only helping us rotate our own workforce to New IT but is also helping our clients equip their people with critical technical skills for the digital world. In fact, we used the platform for a retail client to up skill their people with critical technical know-how to deliver projects and platforms for improved sales and customer service. Technical topics included Adobe Experience Manager, Agile, artificial intelligence and SAP Hybris. Today, the client can launch new services on its ecommerce site 75 percent faster.
Not only are we in a new era of technology, we are in new era of learning, that is:
Personalized—Learning can be tailored to individuals rather than designed to meet the needs of the largest groups of employees.
Interactive—Interactive and social experiences “by” and “with” the learner, delivered in bite-sized chunks (in classrooms, online and hands-on, such as hack-a-thons) replace traditional passive training directed “at” the learner. This approach is scientifically proven to improve retention. Management is engaged daily (via mobile app) in understanding how their workforce is progressing against learning goals.
Heterogeneous—Individuals can develop a wide range of technology skills simultaneously, replacing the single career track training that was sufficient for yesterday’s more homogeneous enterprise technology landscape. Curriculum is sourced from a varied ecosystem of internal and external providers and academic institutions, rather than developed in-house or from a few partners.
Organic—Fluid curriculum evolves with market and business needs. Workplace learning is a continuous activity, rather than something done a few times per year. Progress is measured by frequency of participation, employee engagement and business outcomes, rather than completed modules. This contributes to a culture of learning rather than transacting. An online learning platform allows new topics and programs to be rolled out rapidly, at scale.
With our investment in this powerful learning platform, we believe that we are ahead of the game, leading digital transformation globally, and prepared to lead our clients as they transform their businesses. We are now taking our new learning experience and approach to our clients to help them make a smooth transition to the New. For instance, Accenture is working with a European bank to launch its own School of Automation. The program includes identifying new roles and skills and curating a curriculum for an initial class of 100 employees that will use to learn in an easily accessible, interactive environment.
We truly believe that human talent is ultimately what separates one company from another, which makes it all the more important to leap to the new era of learning, and ultimately, to become a dynamic, digital learning organization.
Traditional workforce strategies are unable to deliver the agility that digital businesses demand. Explore our latest thinking on humans + machines, artificial intelligence, crowdsourcing, continuous reskilling and adaptation and how they are transforming the IT workforce of tomorrow.