Digital transformation is human: A chicken-and-egg problem of the fourth industrial revolution?

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According to a recent Bitkom survey, 60 percent of German companies do not provide training to improve their employees’ digital skills. Yet digitisation is changing job profiles in fundamental ways. Preparing employees for ‘Work 4.0’ is one of the key success factors for companies in a wide range of industries and managers must provide such training if they want their businesses to be competitive in the next two to five years. However, the German industry is not only about to miss out on digital transformation, it is even at risk of failing to explore the possibilities or raise awareness among staff. 

The recent Bitkom survey conducted with 504 managing directors and HR managers of German companies having more than ten employees across all industries showed that only 31 percent have a central strategy for training employees in digital skills, although 97 percent of those interviewed believe employee training is important.

Meanwhile, with regard to subject matter experts, the respondents rated the skills of job applicants and employees as only satisfactory or adequate. Nevertheless, no corresponding further training is taking place. The situation is compounded by the fact that, according to the survey, one in three companies is of the opinion that employees over the age of 50 do not need to receive any digitisation training at all – an erroneous conclusion with serious consequences as employees (across all age groups) are key to whether or not Germany will play a global role in Industry 4.0.

Sebastian Grodzietzki, Chief Growth Officer (CGO) of PARIS AG, a provider of digital training and business process support, puts the issue in a nutshell: “Companies today are employing three or four different generations of workers – from baby boomers to Generation Z. All of them have their own working methods and habits, but time and space are also changing, affecting the use of devices, place of work, the way people learn new things or activities, and much more. For instance, there is a clear trend towards flexible working from home, on the road or with a constantly changing mix of colleagues in shared-desk offices, according to the individual needs. This does not make it any easier to share knowledge about new company processes, new software, new hardware or any other relevant issues. So if a company wants to be successful in the long term and retain its staff, the only way is a different approach including new training concepts that cater to the individual.”

Jan Korhammer, Customer Success Director at PARIS AG, adds: “From the diversity and experience of different employee and company cultures across more than 1000 customer projects over the past few years, we have come to understand what is important when it comes to conducting efficient and effective staff training. Our customers can maximise their results with efficient concepts and technologies, such as those available through the datango performance suite, which focus on the individual but still offer cost-effective, scalable options. For instance, real-time help and context-specific instructions that are available at the press of a button, are an ideal approach in any industry.” Mapping the maximum possible outcome against what is necessary and looking at cost and effect reveals that companies cannot afford to make compromises if they strive for continuous growth, particularly when it comes to employee training. Korhammer continues: “As digital training experts, we have developed ‘service à la carte’ options in collaboration with our customers that have achieved excellent results in the area of staff training. For instance, we offer implementation and training services for any authoring tool, we create application profiles and content for entire training courses, including a training needs analysis to identify areas with the greatest need for training. We are here to help our customers with everything from targeted coaching in the use of specific tools, authoring crash courses, and strategy and concept planning days to end-to-end training project management. At the end of the day, digital transformation and Work 4.0 have different implications for every customer: Should I display warehouse management instructions on smart glasses using augmented reality or should I help employees with process execution at their computers via intelligent on-screen support? And if the help system is also adaptive in the way it responds to the user, it will provide the perfect support for every generation of employees – no matter if millennials or baby boomers.”

PARIS GmbH and its datango division offer companies professional consultancy, including all services relating to company training and increasing staff performance – regardless of whether the training tools to be used are the datango performance suite or other training products. The innovative provider of digital training solutions, process automation and optimisation also covers special needs, such as 24/7 support for international rollout projects and business process analyses to identify and improve performance bottlenecks.

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