Upskilling the Workforce in the Digital Era

As digitization, automation, and artificial intelligence change the face of work, companies are realizing the importance of learning new skills for existing employees as their job function evolves. According to the McKinsey report “Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation,” over 14% of the global workforce is expected to change their occupational categories in the near future. At the same time, more than half of all “work tasks” will be capable of being carried out by machines by 2025, meaning over 75 million jobs will be displaced.


At the pace of how fast robotics and AI technologies are moving, executives are seeing the urgency in upskilling and reskilling their current employees. In a study that polled 300 executives at companies with more than $100 million in annual revenue, 66% believe that addressing skill gaps due to automation technologies is at least a “top-ten priority.” Companies that have invested time and money into upskilling programs have already reported a positive correlation between employee training and productivity.


Why Upskilling?

why upskilling

To stay ahead of digital disruption, enterprises have to bridge the skills gap and empower staff with the right training and knowledge. New emerging technologies in big data analytics, AI, and machine learning are now advanced enough to replace entire job roles and the workforce will need to adapt to new tasks and change how they bring value. The gap between demand and supply of highly skilled talent is widening fast, while industry standards continue to evolve for advanced technical skills.


It’s essential to plan ahead.


With an upskilling program in place, organizations have witnessed increased productivity in their workforce, seeing a correlation between employee training and engagement. When employees are confident in their job security and see a clear career progression in place, their contribution to the workforce greatly increases. Upskilling existing employees is also incredibly cost effective compared to hiring an entirely new team and spending time and resources training them.


Barriers to Upskilling the Workforce

barriers to upskilling

Although it’s clear that enterprises see the importance of upskilling, there are some common setbacks across the board.


  1. A majority of business leaders feel unprepared to address potential skill gaps in the workforce - they see glaring issues in existing HR infrastructure that make it difficult to implement a successful reskilling program.

  2. Executives are also struggling to predict exactly how job roles will change and what kind of talent will be required in the next decade. Leadership in large corporations often admit they lack an in-depth understanding of exactly how automation and digitization will affect future skill needs.

  3. Finally, traditional means of training often don’t deliver the desired results because they focus too much on theory versus practice and provides no clear pathway to new work.


A company’s transition into the digital age can also be discouraging to the workforce. If there is no clear pledge from executives to retain and retrain existing employees, there is no incentive for workers to be proactive in developing new skills.


Approaches to Developing an Upskilling Program

Investing both time and money into reskilling and upskilling existing employees ensures that companies are agile and adaptive to future technological advances. The core of upskilling is engrained in the company culture - having an accurate representation of the organization’s mission and culture can encourage employees to be more productive and proactive in improving their skills. 


Once the company has full buy-in from employees, startup technology dedicated to training for the digital age makes it easy to implement an upskilling program. 


Ambit: Ambit improves human connection & empathy by helping new managers master communication and more effectively lead. As a spin-off from SRI International - the birthplace of Siri - Ambit leverages world-class audio AI technology to quantify verbal communication and use those metrics to provide insights, coaching, and behavior change. Today 60% of employers complain their workforce lacks sufficient interpersonal and communication skills.


Talespin: Talespin is disrupting the future of work through radical change in enterprise tools. By leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) Talespin is changing the way we engage, educate, and empower the next generation of the workforce.


Cloverleaf: Cloverleaf is a development tool for teams. They take employee data and provide visual insights into the team. Cloverleaf positions team members into the right roles, giving resources for more effective communication and identifying the right people to add to the team for improved productivity.




Our Enterprise 2.0 program is dedicated to disrupting the foundational status quo of every company: HR, IT, Accounting, Legal, and Operations. Find out more here.

If you work for a corporation that is interested in meeting cutting edge startups dedicated to training your workforce for the digital age, contact us here

If you are a startup with an amazing idea and great technology looking for an accelerator to grow, get investment, and find new clients, contact us here

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