by Matt Alderton | November 20, 2017
Faced with radical shifts in technology, the world is changing. And with it, so is the workplace, according to Harvard Business Review contributor David W. Ballard, director of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Center for Organizational Excellence.

"As topics like automation, artificial intelligence, and skills retraining dominate conversations about the future of work, some predict catastrophic job loss and a dystopian future where legions of unskilled workers languish unemployable in the margins. Others … remind us that we've been here before and that, rather than simply increasing efficiency and cutting costs, emerging technologies can be used to augment our work and raise the quality of life for the population as a whole," observes Ballard. "Regardless of which view prevails, navigating this terrain requires a workforce that can adapt to changing environments and acquire the skills necessary to be successful in the future."

Unfortunately, employers are falling short when it comes to creating that workforce, according to Ballard.

"In the surveys of the U.S. workforce that we conduct at the American Psychological Association, training and development consistently emerges as one of the areas employees are least satisfied with," he continues. "And while employees acknowledge that staying up-to-date on competencies is important, a recent Randstad survey found that more than a third of U.S. workers report that they haven't done anything to develop new skills in the past year."

As a leader, you can make your employees more future-ready by setting clear training and development expectations.

"Make ongoing job skills training and career development part of the job," Ballard advises. "Build it into job descriptions, make it clear to employees that staying on top of their game and preparing for the future is part of their job, and include it as part of their regular performance evaluations."

Set similar expectations for supervisors.

"Make developing employees part of every manager's job description and train them in how to effectively work with employees to set training and development goals, monitor progress, and provide feedback," Ballard continues.

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