It's no longer enough to bury your head in your work. Radical changes brought on by digitalization and automation require employees to constantly update their skills to stay one step ahead -- or risk becoming obsolete.
In recognition of this (and, likely, the cost of attracting new talent versus retaining existing employees), operators like Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) and Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) are prioritizing continued training and education for their employees.
Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke this week issued a challenge to his employee base, including more than 30,000 employees across 12 countries: to complete 40 hours of learning during 2018. Specifically, 20 hours can be completed on the Telenor Campus, an online learning portal with courses cultivated from sources like LinkedIn’s Lynda and Coursera. The remaining 20 hours can be from external sources or on the job training, but he says the focus for all should be on five key competency areas: digital marketing, digital channels, applied analytics, design and product development.
For Brekke, the goal is to put Telenor at the front of the digital race. For his employees, it is to stay relevant as the service provider goes all digital. It may also be to just keep their jobs in the face of automation and technology changes that could make old roles obsolete.
"As our and other industries transform, the future of work is that you may not have one career, but several -- and we as an employer must cater to that. 1.2 million hours is a significant investment across our workforce, and I truly believe that the return on this bet will put us at the forefront of the digital race," Brekke noted in a release on the challenge.
Swisscom has made a similar commitment to reskilling, although its came through the conclusion of its Collective Employment Agreement (CEA) negotiations with its trade union and staff associations. The operator says its goal was to make the CEA more conducive to meeting the demands of tomorrow’s workplace, one in which core businesses are under pressure, the market is saturated and digitalization is changing everything.
As such, the new terms including investing in employee training by giving all employees five training and development days per year. Swisscom didn't elaborate on what this entails, but noted that its designed to "maintain and increase the employability of its staff."
Notably, other terms in the CEA include an extra week of maternity leave (from 17 to 18) and paternity leave (from two to three), more flexibility for remote work and extended vacation days for employees over 35.
Hans Werner, the group head of Human Resources for Swisscom explained in the release on the news, "We need to redefine 'life-long learning.' This no longer consists of courses every 10 years, but regular, flexible, short or longer, web-based and traditional training courses."
-- Sarah Thomas, Contributing Editor, Telco Transformation