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The need for upskilling in the age of automation

From a business perspective, upskilling essentially concerns itself with “improving the skills of employees, so that they will be faster and better at their jobs”.

Source | Moneycontrol Contributor@moneycontrolcom Ranganath Hayagriva Vadavi

11 May 1997 is an important date in the human-machine relationship timeline as this was the day when IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue defeated reigning world champion Gary Kasparov in a game of chess. The realization that machines are here to stay dawned upon many that day.

Humans also collectively felt the need for upskilling in order to keep up. But it was not the first time that such an awareness was felt.

Upskilling, has in fact, existed for ages. From Industrial revolution, internet, e-commerce era to the current automation age, upskilling has always focused on enhancing the existing skillset of a group to stay on top of the competitive business world.

From a business perspective however, upskilling essentially concerns itself with “improving the skills of employees, so that they will be faster and better at their jobs”.

In the present scenario of disruptive technologies and operational transformations, the need for agile upskilling of the workforce has risen again.

Before we discuss upskilling in the current backdrop, it is necessary to identify its overarching merits from a business point of view-

Increased Productivity:

With new skills, employees are enabled to explore and complete their jobs with a faster turnaround time. Moreover, it opens up more avenues for employees to invest in higher order thinking as they can easily employ futuristic technologies to tackle the routine functions.

For instance, last year, Morgan Stanley equipped more than 16,000 of its financial advisers with machine learning algorithms that catalogued every interaction and recorded trades, thus freeing the advisers to attend to individual clients and generate better business.

Improved employee retention

Train to retain is the mantra that needs to be followed by companies looking to smoothly make the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution brought about by AI, Machine-learning etc.

Talented and high-potential employees always like challenges and an environment that gives continuous learning opportunities.

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