How bosses can use a Wharton professor’s simple management exercise to bring out the full potential of any employee

adam grant

In a Davos panel last year moderated by Business Insider, Wharton’s Adam Grant said the key to thriving in the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” was the development of internal skills training.
He said if he were running a company, the first thing he’d do is make a list of skills his company required, and develop training courses to teach those skills to existing employees.
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The communications firm Edelman found last year from a survey of 33,000 people around the world that 59% of employees worry about not having the training and skills necessary for a well-paying job, and 55% worry automation and other tech will make their job obsolete.

Their fears are understandable. The developed world is once again undergoing changes with increasingly sophisticated technologies like artificial intelligence, at a scale large enough and speed fast enough, that World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab thinks it warrants the label “the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Jobs will be replaced and existing jobs will change.

At WEF’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in 2019, Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget moderated the panel “Learning Today for Tomorrow’s Jobs,” with the aim of finding solutions for surviving this shift and keep as few people as possible from being left behind.

Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, was one of those panel members, and he said that internal skills training is of prime importance. “I think that employers need to step up,” he said. He offered a simple approach that can be adapted to companies of different sizes and industries.

How Warby Parker gained an advantage against giant competitors

He said a discussion with eyeglasses company Warby Parker’s chief technology officer showed him how to do it well. The company was having difficulty attracting software engineers because of a crowded job market. Warby Parker is quite successful, but as a retailer based in New York City, it was outmatched by Silicon Valley tech giants.

One day the CTO was dealing with a technical issue and asked his executive assistant if she could look further into the problem to help. Three days later, she returned with a solution. The CTO knew that his assistant had an interest in coding, but the way that she embraced the problem and solved it convinced him he was going to retrain her as one of the software engineers he was looking for. It worked out well enough that the CTO has done another internal retraining.

Take that approach to your own team

It inspired Grant to formulate a practical exercise, which he said he’d do if he were running a company:

Determine gaps in your organization.
Make a list of all the skills that you either can’t or don’t want to acquire through new hires.
Create a set of job descriptions that incorporate these skills into existing roles, or replacement roles.
Build training programs for each of these skills, and assign employees to teach them.
Present the roles to your employees and, if they want to pursue …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Finance


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