by Divina Paredes

Kiwi employees fear they don’t have right skills to compete in the digital economy

Jun 20, 2018
Big DataCareersDigital Transformation

The changing nature of jobs enabled by digital technologies is unsettling the workplace landscape Tom Shields, Workday.

More than seven out of 10 employees in New Zealand are apprehensive about digital transformation.

Moreover, 31 per cent of employees fear their job is at risk due to the rise of digitalisation, and 40 per cent are worried they do not have the right skills to compete in the digital economy.

Sixty one per cent of Kiwi employees likewise believe their employer or manager is not actively engaging them or helping them acquire new skills to “future proof” their careers.

These are among the key findings of the IDC Asia Pacific Employee Sentiment survey commissioned by Workday.

Across the region, the survey finds 79 per cent of employees express job satisfaction; yet an equally high percentage (73 per cent) are likely to switch jobs given the right opportunities, with nearly half (43 per cent) expecting to do so within a year.

“An escalating war for digital talent is driving this phenomenon,” says Tom Shields, vice president Asia Pacific forWorkday.

“The changing nature of jobs enabled by digital technologies is unsettling the workplace landscape.”

The message here for organisations is to be really aware of the change that is coming and its impact on the workforce,says Shields at the Workday Discover event in Auckland.

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“In the war for talent, a lot of companies focus on recruiting,” he says.

“But the current data shows employee retention, and ensuring key employees stay relevant is a challenge.”

“Organisations are facing real business issues such as, are you going to lose your top performers? Are they worried about their career, that they do not have the skills to be able to potentially work for the next 10 to 15 years?”

61% of Kiwi employees believe their employer or manager is not actively engaging them or helping them acquire new skills to ‘future proof’ their careers.

“There is an opportunity for employers to keep their employees but if they don’t help them prepare for the future they will potentially lose them.”

He says organisations can look at training plans for their team.

He says one of the practical things they can do is to provide the traditional in class training or a seminar, and combine these with newer forms of learning like online courses.

He asks, “are you also providing chunks of training that allow people to stay fresh?”

For instance, today’s youth learn by doing and going online, like YouTube. “Are you providing time in your employees’ schedule to research on a subject matter or look at what is going on in the industry and help upskill themselves?”

He says everybody needs to be doing continuous learning, an approach taken by professional services firms for a long time now.

He says the responsibility for this sits both with the organisation and the employee. The manager can give guidance to employees on what training is out there, and track it to see what training they have taken.

“But you have to have the tools that allow you to track it and have the ability for a manager to not only suggest but also enroll people in training, or let them have a discussion with their manager.”

He says performance management is also shifting.

“Traditionally we have it once a year but the pace of change is so fast that once a year is not enough to have that conversation about personal development,” he says. “The conversation with the manager is now on a regular basis.”

Employee engagement is a critical part of this. He says one of the things they do at Workday is a weekly survey where employees answer two questions.The questions could be around training, or whether they feel they are included in programmes.

“That starts to give us a pulse on what is going on,” he says. “Having that data gives a feel for what the employees are thinking.”

He says Workday encourages employees to work in different areas of the business, so an employee, for instance, can work in development and move into the field.

“In the software industry, we are lucky to have that kind of movement,” says Shields.

We are seeing more global movement of staff,” he says. The multinational posts allow employees to “understand different cultures.”

“Employee retention, and ensuring key employees stay relevant is a challenge for all businesses, but, with the right tools, businesses can stay abreast of these and work with employees to ensure they are receiving the opportunities they are looking for in terms of training, career progression and engagement with managers,” he concludes.

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