How to prepare your workforce for the digital era

At the 2019 MIT CIO Symposium, Amy DeCastro of Schneider Electric discussed how HR and IT teams can work together to upskill workers.

How to prepare your workforce for the digital era

At the 2019 MIT CIO Symposium, TechRepublic Senior Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome spoke with Amy DeCastro of Schneider Electric about how HR and IT teams can work together to upskill workers. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

Alison DeNisco Rayome: And we know that a lot of organizations are undergoing digital transformation projects right now and with that comes the need to potentially upskill some workers. How can HR and IT teams work together on upskilling workers?

Amy DeCastro: I think what's really important is to understand our baseline and really understand what is our starting point as we look at talent across the organization. We look at digital, moving forward, as both the knowledge and expertise and technical ability but also that mindset and behavior. So really understanding what we can do to understand the starting point of where an employee or a talent is and what we can do as an organization to build a really specific and dedicated learning agenda for them.

So what we've done at Schneider Electric is, we have created a framework around digital citizenship and we have worked with our digital academy, part of our learning organization and we've built along Adcast, a platform that allows our digital citizens, no matter where they are, whether basic, intermediate, advanced or expert, we've built a learning plan specifically for them, to help them grow from one level of citizenship to another.

SEE: Special report: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Now, this learning is not only digitally available, we really look at the four Es of development within the organization. We look at education, exposure, experience, and then the environment. So when you look at IT, we're making mobile applications and learning available. But at the same time, what we're doing is, we're making experiences available through what we call the open talent market.

So, really creating an AI-based resume and social platform to give our employees an opportunity to see across the organization what opportunities might be available to them, whether it be a full-time role or just a project role to get that development they need.

Alison DeNisco Rayome: And why is it so important for organizations to make sure they're considering upskilling instead of just looking for newer workers with those skillsets they're looking for?

Amy DeCastro: You know, you can't underestimate legacy knowledge, and we have so many employees in our organization that have been through acquisitions and transformations and evolutions. And that legacy knowledge is so valuable. Business experience is equally important to that technical expertise. So it's important to evolve that employee base that has been on our journey for so many years and really invest in them to make sure that we're giving them the skills that we need for tomorrow.

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