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How can HR support seasoned employees in the digital workplace?

2 Dec 2019 By Nelson Sivalingam

With an ageing population and people choosing to work for longer, it’s imperative that employers don’t alienate their longer-serving staff as technology advances, says Nelson Sivalingam

As our population ages, the choice to work longer for both economic and personal wellbeing is a well-documented one, yet according to a recent Deloitte report, employers seeking to gain the competitive advantages of older talent pools must rethink their strategies against the rise of emerging technologies. 

The relentless digitalisation of many services demands new skills and renders others obsolete. Tax preparation, for instance, faces a 99 per cent chance of being automated, driving the need for efficient learning solutions to propel organisations forward in the digital race without leaving valuable workforces behind.    

The stage is clearly set for a fresh approach to HR infrastructure to accommodate the reskilling and upskilling of older employees. Labour exclusion, driven by out-of-date training programmes, is a global problem that new protocols can solve, if implemented properly. 

Data analytics intended purely to provide a market edge can now lend itself to in-house development. After all, data insights are the new basis for business growth, efficiency and adaptability. The recent success of fintech robo-advisers shows how smart data can be when converted into compelling customer service. 

HR can now leverage real-time analytics within organisations to spot specific skills gaps and fine-tune personalised training programmes to meet a specific firm’s talent requirements. While undergoing large-scale digital disruption, efficient understanding of where older employees may be struggling and what resources are needed is critical to eliminate the risk of eroding your workforce. 

The importance of personalised and adaptive learning methods can’t be underestimated when embarking on digital transformation. Firms must do everything in their power to minimise innovation risk against its employees. 

With time to market often treated as the most important variable in any technology project, organisations that come out on top will be the ones that adapt their learning and development model at the speed of need – in the same way a football coach continuously adapts their training strategy against changing opponents to curate a more valuable and adept team.

The strategy lies in identifying and utilising the benefits of life-long education and experience. Employers must recognise that when older employees leave a company at the expense of new technology, their valuable skills leave with them. It’s important then to create a multi-generational workforce who mentor and exchange knowledge with one another.

Most likely, an older employee has come up against an integration challenge they’ve seen and solved before, so they’re able to draw on broad and diverse experience in a way someone new to the job market may not be able to. 

Businesses must show a commitment to equipping older employees with the skillset to deliver tasks in the digital landscape with confidence. By using the right learning platform, companies can embed learning into seasoned employees’ workflows by allowing them to continuously develop personally and professionally in real time. One thing is clear – the goal to attract, retain and upskill talent to match the digital race is well underway.

Nelson Sivalingam is CEO and founder of HowNow

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