The plot around successful AI adoption only thickens as we progress further into 2024. While most leaders link it to a positive impact on performance, most professionals don’t think they have the skills needed to work with new tech effectively.
Don’t let these winds of dilemma overwhelm you. Ever since the dawn of industry, professional skills have been subject to evolution. Right from the hunter-gatherers who mastered crafting sharp spears to healthcare scientists working with blockchain, keeping pace with emerging skills and role expectations has been a rite of passage.
Wondering how to improve professional skills in 2024? In this article we’ll take a look at takeaways from three phases in the evolution of professional development.
- Machine-centered skilling
- Specialization-focused development
- Continuous learning
The age of machines saw skilling move beyond the realm of art and science. Operating a machine skillfully… mastering efficiency that reflected the assembly line advantage… producing consistent output at scale became the new, in-demand skills.
Mastering new technology for career advancement became critical as technology itself became more and more important in the world of work.
The trend wasn’t limited to training employees on factory floors. The benchmark for performance across jobs, be they desk-based or on the field, was output at volume. Such a quantitative approach to talent evaluation had professionals prioritizing skills around process optimization and time management apart from signing up for PC courses.
The big takeaway:
Employees are more receptive to new skills when there are proven models to validate impact. For instance, the assembly line model inspired mass adoption, even among small and non-manufacturing business owners, because just everyone had a clear picture of how it impacted productivity.
So before you introduce the next round of skilling opportunities at your company, make a clear, data-substantiated case about how these stand to aid your audience’s performance. Of course, how you communicate matters.
Learn more about integrated communication and why top leaders are embracing it.
As the world woke up to corporate wizardry, just getting the work done wasn’t enough. Suddenly, value was being placed on sophistication and scale. This led to companies and individuals recognizing the value in skills that turned specialization into a superpower. From workshops and conferences to books and structured programs, the 80s and 90s saw trainings turn as glamorous as the movies. Today, the trend continues with DEI and ESG-focused professional development programs.
The big takeaway:
Professionals want to take out time to learn skills that can skyrocket their careers. Only, they want to be more in control of their skilling velocity while organizations lay the right groundwork.
As a leader, it’s important to build a skilling strategy with employee experience at its center.
As it stands today, skilling as it stands today, no longer follows a linear path. It’s relentless, fluid, and all-pervasive. At any time, a professional may be pursuing skilling at multiple levels – self-enrolled certifications, company-mandated skilling around new tech, and soft skills development by way of a structured program, paid for by their company. Beyond training, today’s professionals are constantly exploring new task-aiding tools with their own learning curve.
The big takeaway:
As much as change fatigue and anxieties around AI-centered skilling are realities, so are employee interests in enhancing existing skills and picking up new ones. The benefits of continuous professional development are immense, and it’s big business, too.
The global professional development market is set to grow by a CAGR of 7.83% between 2022 and 2027.
How to improve professional skills in 2024
If you’re convinced of the benefits of continuous professional development and sold on the importance of mastering new technology for career advancement, you’ve been nodding in agreement with everything we’ve said thus far. But now, it’s time for the next step. You may be ready to improve your own skills, but how can you support the continuous growth of your team?
As a leader, what can you do to maximize professional development, especially when it comes to new tech skilling?
1. Co-create skilling goals
Increasingly, employee priorities and career paths are unique. This demands that you build a fluid, collaborative skilling ecosystem rather than one that’s standard. How? Lean into employee needs with intent; place well-designed employee experience surveys regularly throughout every employee’s journey to ensure relevant feedback is coming in to power proactive experience management.
Pro Tip: Make sure your survey ecosystem allows you and your team to access live results and spot response patterns. That’s the only way you will ever meet employee expectations in terms of response time and intuitiveness.
2. Tap into sentiment trends
You don’t want to be that leader who’s introducing all the top skilling opportunities and yet, falls short of employee expectations around skilling-led growth. Keep a tab on employee pulse and sentiment around:
- New tech/tool training
- Active skilling programs
- Top market certifications
- Formal or informal skilling being pursued by employees voluntarily
This can help you get an authentic sense of what your employees truly value and their immediate skilling priorities.
3. Uncover priorities
If you have 20 data points about everything that’s wrong with your approach to skilling, take it from us, that’s a nightmare situation. You cannot possibly make an informed decision about what top three actions to take in order to drive the most positive impact.
Invest in an EX platform that does the analytics for you instead of demanding you to start crunching nymbers!. Go beyond text-based feedback and get comprehensive insights to get down to implementation, real fast.
Align your skilling and professional development ecosystem to employee expectations with SogoEX, our end-to-end employee experience management solution that gives you the visibility you need to unlock success. Connect with our team to learn how you can leverage your own data to get deep, clear insights into employee psyche and unlock effective skilling at scale.