Change Management Topics: Digital Disruption and Upskilling

Digital disruption is one of the most important change management topics today. It drives digital adoption, upskilling, and will define the workforce of the future.

In Silicon Valley, disruption may be a bit of a buzz word.

But in reality, digital disruption drives many of today’s change initiatives.

Digital technology fuels:

  • Automation
  • Digital adoption
  • Digital transformation

And other change initiatives.

Below, we’ll look at these three trends in more detail, how they drive organizational change, and how these changes are increasing the demand for skilled workers.

Change Management Topics: Digital Disruption as a Change Driver

By 2030, McKinsey estimates that 375 million people will have to transition to new occupational categories.

They also expect:

  • Up to 130 million new jobs in health care
  • 50 million new technology jobs
  • Up to one third of the workforce in the USA may need to find new work

Clearly, such disruptions spell big changes in the coming years.

But are these changes all bad?

McKinsey’s report also uses historical examples to show how job responsibilities have changed.

Graphic designers, for instance, gained computer skills and took over for typesetters.

The steam engine raised productivity for unskilled workers. This mechanization allowed them to take on higher-skilled work, boosting their incomes and output levels.

Such technological changes had both positive and negative impacts on workers.

The mechanized loom, for instance, raised many out of poverty. At the same time, it drove down the wages of artisans.

Regardless of the specific effects, the effects on today’s businesses are clear:

Disruption Drives Transformation and Adoption

Digital disruption introduces new technology and new ways of doing business.

Competition and growth opportunities are two of the biggest reasons that companies undergo digital transformation.

Along with digital transformation, of course, comes many other changes:

  • Digital Adoption – New software must be installed, deployed, and fully implemented by an organization
  • Business Model Changes – Today’s digital businesses operate differently, enhancing business models with customer feedback, online collaboration, and digital-first business processes
  • Cultural Changes – Foundational changes such as these usually uproot traditional cultures and ways of thinking

One of the common threads tying all of these changes together is the need for ongoing learning.

Because of this, it’s no surprise that learning has become one of the central themes in today’s digitally transforming business.

Career Development: A Trend that Benefits Employees and Organizations

Among the biggest changes to result from digital transformation is education.

As we’ve seen, digital disruption will soon increase the demand for skilled employees.

However, organizations are also feeling this pressure.

CEOs have declared that skilled employees are needed to keep their companies competitive and innovative.

And employees are more likely to stay with companies that offer digital skills training.

The bottom line is that career development is on the rise.

With this in mind, change managers should take appropriate measures when designing their initiatives.

Here are a few ways that change managers should approach job-based education:

Use online learning platforms.

Online learning tools – such as learning management platforms, e-learning tools, and knowledge bases – deliver significant ROI.

Employees can find the information they need when they need it.

Tools like these reduce learning times, decrease training costs, and make life easier for training professionals.

Take advantage of digital adoption platforms.

These platforms are useful for companies implementing new software:

  • They integrate with software, offering in-app guidance and contextualized learning
  • Digital adoption platforms offer returns above and beyond other e-learning tools
  • With AI-driven analytics and personalized support, they greatly reduce employee frustration

As a result, productivity increases faster.

And, as an added benefit, these tools help employees achieve their own learning objectives without additional labor costs for the employer.

Remember that onboarding makes a big impact.

Onboarding is an essential part of many projects.

It can refer to:

  • User onboarding
  • Customer onboarding
  • Employee onboarding

Regardless of the context, onboarding, training, and orientation all help employers increase retention rates.

Because the user learns more quickly, they are more likely to become loyal and productive.

Poor onboarding experiences have the opposite effect … users are more likely to give up, costing companies time and money.

Make permanent career development a priority.

Not only is it important in a given change project – it is also important as a permanent feature in an organization.

If a company doesn’t have a career development program, change managers should consider proposing one.

As we’ve seen, on-the-job education plays a very important role in a company’s health.

Employees are more likely to:

  • Contribute to a happy, pleasant work environment
  • Stay at the company
  • Become engaged and productive

All of this directly impacts a company’s bottom line.

Final Thoughts

Career development, employee training, and upskilling are all results of today’s competitive economy.

Digital disruption has increased competition – as well as opportunities – making digital skills more important than ever.

By preparing their employees, change managers can make their companies more competitive, create happier workplaces, and help their fellow employees succeed.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.