Digital transformation and automation have created a need for businesses to upskill and reskill employees to remain competitive. In a recent study by McKinsey & Company, more than one in four leaders reported having a lack of tools and knowledge to help them fully understand the impact of automation, leaving them unprepared to tackle the skills issue.

Most organizations are looking to adopt a hybrid upskilling/reskilling approach for highly technical roles and existing frontline roles. In “Building the Vital Skills for the Future of Work in Operations,” McKinsey reports that the most successful programs share four strategies:

  • Focus on smart technologies while equally prioritizing business processes, management systems and people.
  • Treat automation and digitalization as a comprehensive program. Top management needs to involve employees from all levels in the organization in the process.
  • Cater employee training resources to match the organization’s goals and employee needs.
  • Create technical content and adult learning material that helps employees alter their mindsets for personal and professional growth.

McKinsey also outlines a three-phase approach for skilling employees – scout, shape, and shift. Companies scout employees to understand what skills will be in demand, reduce the skills gap by shaping new roles at the company and shift priorities to create an infrastructure that properly trains all employees. Some companies are providing incentives such as public recognition and financial reward for top performers in training.

For more information, review McKinsey’s full report


Bhaskar Aggarwal received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology and is working toward completing his master’s degree in industrial technology and operations with a specialization in supply chain management from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Bhaskar is a highly driven, self-motivated individual with experience in manufacturing, sustainability and supply chain. He has worked on multiple projects regarding sustainability, solar panel project simulation for net zero energy building and energy audits. His career interests include innovation, automation and green technology.

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