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Longer lives mean seasoned employees will need help to adjust to digital workplaces ǀ View

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The British economy has undergone major changes in the last 30 years, excelling in various areas while crippling others, such as construction, mining and manufacturing. Subsequently, this has placed the root of power in the hands of the capital, propelling the economic growth of South-East England to new heights through nurturing the latest innovations. This ultimately solidified the UK as a flourishing knowledge economy and global player for technological advancements. However, other areas once considered the backbone of the British economy, fuelled by traditional and practical skills, dwindled in obscurity.

Now with Brexit uncertainty leaving a country divided, this poses the question of whether businesses can continue to rely on recruiting talent overseas or instead rely heavily on the talent pool here. Currently, there are more than 11.9 million people aged 65 and over in the UK, and with some arguing the state pension age should be raised to 75, older people are becoming more readily available to continue working or step back into the workforce. However, as the economy focus shifts to utilising technology in order to propel various industries to heights, many traditional skills are proving obsolete. Because of this, many organisations worry about whether hiring older talent is worthwhile. What was once a clear path to a better quality of life through traditional learning has been mystified by the disruption of technology, and the saturated job market is filled with candidates with acquired skills proven outdated in the digital age.

As the economy focus shifts to utilising technology in order to propel various industries to heights, many traditional skills are proving obsolete. Because of this, many organisations worry about whether hiring older talent is worthwhile.
Nelson Sivalingam
Co-founder and CEO of HowNow

However, once considered a hindrance to the ageing population, technology has the potential to bridge the gap between the seasoned worker and the savvy millennial with a start-up attitude.

Let's take a look in more detail.

Can’t teach an old dog new tricks - or can you?

As the UK population continues to age, the choice between continuous personal economic growth or personal wellbeing through retirement has become difficult for many. Seasoned workers must continue to work to ensure they maintain a better quality of life, so employers must consider different options to take advantage of older employees in the workplace. According to a recent report by Deloitte, organisations are already looking at different strategies to equip their workforce with the right tools as emerging technologies continue to rise.

Currently, tax preparation’s fate is almost certainly sealed with a 99% chance of being automated, leaving many people’s skillsets and jobs under threat by the fast-paced nature of technologically advanced industries.

This has driven many Human Resources (HR) departments to accommodate valued older employees by bringing a fresh approach to reskilling and upskilling through the power of technology. If implemented correctly, this could potentially eliminate labour exclusion, driven by outdated training programmes and software, as well as subsequently thwarting ageism in the workplace in a digital world.

Learning smarter in a fast-paced world

Data analytics has already proven its value across many industries and has already propelled many businesses by providing key insight and market edge against their competitors. An example of this can be seen within the booming Fintech industry and its recent success of robo-advisors, showcasing how data can be leveraged to deliver compelling customer experiences. Now, HR departments can utilise this by collecting and analysing data collected within their organisations to not only personalise training programmes but also to spot specific skills gaps to meet the firm’s talent requirements. It can also be leveraged to pre-empt new skill sets necessary to drive the business forward. Key insight taken from the data can also give HR a clearer understanding of what areas employees struggle with, and what resources are needed to eliminate the risk of a complacent and antiquated workforce.

Personalisation has proven paramount in customer experiences, but it has the potential to greatly enhance employee experiences, especially for businesses undergoing digital transformation. Overhauling internal processes is a critical time for businesses and the people within it, and must not be taken lightly. The best method for minimal disruption during upskilling and reskilling is utilising an AI-powered vendor specialising in providing training solutions that can be tailored for the entire organisation.

Is lifelong learning the answer?

A football coach continuously optimises his training strategy against changing opponents to curate a more valuable and adept team. The same can be implemented for organisations who wish to stay ahead of the curve, by continuously adapting and improving their learning and development strategy based on demand.

Lifelong learning reaps many benefits that can not only help upskill but empower your workforce. Seasoned employees can be invaluable and help educate their younger peers, and this must not be taken for granted. Creating a culture of cross-generational working, with workers who mentor and exchange knowledge with one another, is key to ensuring your employees have the key skills needed to excel against recurring challenges. On the flip side of this, younger employees can empower older employees with the knowledge necessary to pivot in a digital workplace.

Creating a culture of cross-generational working, with workers who mentor and exchange knowledge with one another, is key to ensuring your employees have the key skills needed to excel against recurring challenges.
Nelson Sivalingam
Co-founder and CEO of HowNow

One way this can be achieved is through an AI-powered Learning Platform taking a different approach to knowledge-sharing that can be integrated seamlessly between multiple employees on a single interface. This enables a full knowledge trail which is accessible to everyone within the organisation. It also allows for easy information sharing as well as making it easier to develop and learn new skills as new job requirements emerge. By leveraging an ‘organisational memory,’ the platform can ensure businesses are not losing out on critical skills to competitors.

Businesses with a keen interest in utilising an older workforce can leverage a platform of this nature for employee empowerment and personalising Learning and Development (L&D) programmes, so key learning can be digested easily. Not only this, it can also be embedded into workflows, enabling continuous learning for professional and personal development.

In this economic climate, one thing is clear; in order to attract and retain top talent, innovative solutions must be deployed to upskill talent efficiently during the age of technology.

  • Nelson Sivalingam is co-founder and CEO of HowNow, an AI-powered Learning Platform.

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