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Amazon jumps on the upskilling trend

BY: SGI|17 July 2019
BLOG| Deciding to study online

This past weekend, global Goliath Amazon announced the company would be investing more than US$700-million to retrain their employees across its operations. According to TechCrunch, the programme is one of the largest in corporate retraining history to date and is set to provide employees with the necessary skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). But Amazon isn’t the only company pushing to retrain their staff. Over the past four years, Accenture has retrained nearly 300 000 employees, says Business Insider SA, while retailer Walmart is using virtual reality (VR) to upskill its team.


These companies and many others have realised that digitisation, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are quickly reshaping the world – and their employees and processes will need to keep up in order for their businesses to survive. A recent report by McKinsey Global Institute, “Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation”, cites 64% of executives surveyed across the world believe an investment in retraining helps increase employee productivity; one of the largest factors contributing to output and employee satisfaction.


To help you transition your employees into the 4IR workplace, we’ve rounded up three of the essential skills you should invest in right now.



AI might be great at adapting to new tasks, solving and anticipating problems, and analysing data, but it’s not able to emulate unique human capabilities like empathy, compassion and motivating individuals to get the most from a team. HR and first-line managers understand the unique aspects of each of their team members as well as the work they do, which perfectly positions them to identify areas for development. Our online microlearning course, the definitive leadership skill (talent management), will give managers the push they need to help educate, train and develop their teams. And to spot top talent to fill pivotal roles down-the-line through smart succession planning.



As many large tech companies illustrate, a workplace culture that encourages ongoing learning and development is key to happy, more productive employees. One way Google creates this is through employee-to-employee learning. Our online microlearning course build a wise organisation (learning culture) will help you promote and implement a learning culture in your own business, where team members prioritise collaboration and the continuous sharing of knowledge.



While retraining and upskilling your employees is key to moving your organisation into 4IR, it’s important to ensure that internal relations are positive and that your workplace is an open environment for discussions. Do this by establishing clear communication processes upfront and encouraging your employees to provide feedback on their work and training. Our clear the lines course can help streamline internal and external communications to ensure everyone is always on the same page. That’s key to building an inclusive culture.


The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2018 Future of Jobs report suggests that by 2022, 54% of all employees (or more) will need significant reskilling and upskilling. The skills required include active learning strategies and analytical thinking capabilities, amongst others.


The take-out? Now is the time to seriously start the journey of closing the gaps and getting the skills you – and your team – need to thrive. Visit SGI.co.za to find out how we can help.


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