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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

How Companies and Governments Can Advance Employee Education | Education - Harvard Business Review

Advice for organizers, speakers, and attendees, inform Anand Chopra-McGowan, First Hire and now VP, Managing Director at General Assembly, responsible for the international expansion of the company’s enterprise business, where he spends his time advising large companies on how to prepare their workforce for the future. 

Photo: Eoneren/Getty Images
The business world is undergoing an unprecedented rate of change. While core metrics like CEO tenure, shareholding periods, and product inventory levels are stable or slowing, our access to an extensive amount of data — from social media, online browsing, and an increasing number of mobile devices — makes it feel as though things are moving faster. The more information we gain access to, the faster we are able to react, transform, and improve. Companies that do so tend to gain a market advantage, and in turn, the pressure to keep up grows.

This is largely the result of digitization. Today, a company’s systems, processes, and products are underpinned by a layer of technology. McKinsey & Co. recently reported: “Bold, tightly integrated digital strategies will be the biggest differentiator between companies that win and companies that don’t, and the biggest payouts will go to those that initiate digital disruptions.” In short, businesses that make fast and bold investments in digitization will see outsize gains.

So what does it take to successfully digitize?...

Upskilling can also help ensure that employees’ expertise are being put to the best use as new tools and technologies come to the forefront. Deanna Mulligan, CEO of the Guardian Life Insurance Company, believes upskilling actuaries is crucial to the success of her 160-year-old firm. Like all insurance companies, Guardian’s business depends on its ability to articulate and act on patterns found in vast quantities of data. Historically, the bulk of this work has been done by actuaries — highly trained statisticians who calculate insurance risks and premiums using a number of variables. Today, however, new technologies like Fitbit monitors, car sensors, and others are generating important data about health risks, driving habits, and a plethora of data that can help companies calculate the risk of insuring a person or a business more precisely. These sources churn out an astonishingly higher volume of information than simple actuarial tables and demographic metrics had in the past.

This is where the skills gap begins. For insurance companies to make better calculations and stay competitive, actuaries need new tools to make sense of all the data at their disposal. Purchasing these tools is one thing, but training employees to use them is another. 

Source: Harvard Business Review