Training in the transformation era
Companies and educational institutions are increasingly organized in ecosystems and, together, they seek to update the training of professionals according to the new demands of the digital and Industry 4.0 world.June-August | 2019
Imagine yourself in the position of a young man who just got his undergraduate degree. Confident, he enters the job market sure to have learned the most up-to-date academic content in his area of expertise. How can we tell this hypothetical young man that within five years more than a third of what he has learned will be worthless? The alert comes from the study “The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, published by the World Economic Forum. The document points out that, on average, 35% of the skills developed today by professionals in a large number of sectors (media, retail, health, energy, services, IT, mobility, infrastructure and financial market) become “unstable” in half a decade – that is, they are going to lose their usefulness.
It is precisely to avoid the dilemma of our fictional student that companies and other organizations have been creating collaborative ecosystems with educational institutions. It is a two-way street: the market participates in the construction of a new professional profile, adequate to the rapid technological and social transformations of our times, and the academic world updates its content by absorbing the companies’ real experiences and demands.
According to Ana Mocny, Deloitte’s director for the Human Capital Management Consulting practice, the competencies required by the digital transformation in the business world represent the big gap in the Brazilian workforce’s résumé. “There are many challenges for those who want to keep their employability in the coming years. There is an ongoing revolution, based on themes that until recently were not part of our training”, describes the expert. “Ecosystems bringing together companies and academic institutions are a means of combining practical experiences and new conceptual references, benefiting everyone. Companies have the challenge of creating suitable spaces for this collaboration.”
How is it possible continue on a career journey these days? By teaming up with schools, institutes and universities, companies share experiences and accelerate the qualification of professionals, Ana Mocny, Deloitte’s director for the Human Capital Management Consulting practice.
Gap generates loss of competitiveness
The delay in updating and preparing professionals has a direct impact on the country’s competitiveness. This is the vision of Paulo Magalhães Sardinha, president of the Brazilian Human Resources Association (ABRH). “With unemployment rising, which affects young graduates in particular, the professional already arrives in the company with outdated skills, creating a delay in the formation of leaderships and reducing the potential of productivity” explains Sardinha. “Overall, Brazilian companies have been struggling to reduce this gap. Compared to other Latin American countries, we are fine, but there is an abyss between Brazil and countries like Germany and Japan.”
For the ABRH leader, there is also a cultural impasse to overcome. “A lot of people still fear the digital and the transformations it brings. This holds true for society as well as for companies: a fear of adapting”, he says. Sardinha believes that specific training (like MBAs), geared to the market and designed in conjunction with the academy, can minimize the problem. “A new career needs to be created: the technology manager, the professional who will show that the digital transformation has not come to alienate people, but to integrate them.”
The data on the rapid obsolescence of academic content mentioned in the first paragraph is remembered by Osvaldo Lahoz, Technology Innovation manager at Senai São Paulo. “It’s a worrying percentage that refers to the world economy, not just the Brazilian economy”, clarifies Lahoz. “Skills lose their reason to be due to the rapid pace of technology. And this also applies to the internal training provided by companies. Organizations need to seek to re-feed the education system. Those who handle human capital in companies should be aware of this.”
Senai seeks to do its part with the work of technical-sector committees that bring together educators and leaders from various sectors of the industry. “Everything we think of in terms of innovation is required by the need to increase the industry’s competitiveness” says professor Lahoz. Among the activities developed are technological advisory services, training for Industry 4.0, laboratories for practical experimentation of new processes, and “intrapreneurship” products and initiatives. “It’s a close tune with the companies”, confirms the Senai manager.
The role of companies in updating skills
The Deloitte study “Reimagining Higher Education” presents a few steps companies can take to ensure that their workforce is attuned to contemporary transformations. According to the analysis, one third of companies in the United States suffer from the inability to fill vacancies that require up-to-date skills. To avoid this situation, organizations can:
– Recognize alternative academic backgrounds: not all knowledge must be obtained in universities. Technical courses, free subjects and online degrees are examples.
– Reconfigure the talent selection process: the digital world offers multiple experiences and opportunities to obtain skills that are not always considered in traditional selection processes.
– Adopt a continuing education model: enterprise empowerment initiatives should address a world in which learning and recycling must be constant.
In line with market needs
Other recent examples of integration between companies and the academic environment, aimed at improving the training of professionals, can be highlighted. A project by Trevisan Escola de Negócios promoted the integration of teachers and audit professionals into research and academic recycling activities. At PUC-Rio, consortiums bringing together the IAG-Escola de Negócios team and companies such as Deloitte, Vale and IBM offered open meetings with debates on topics such as the use of analytics applied to people management and stimulating diversity in corporate environments.
“There is an accelerated need for recycling and capacity building at an almost daily pace. Professionals cannot stay away from the school and vice versa”, believes Antoninho Marmo Trevisan, founder of Trevisan Escola de Negócios, who accompanied the integration between educators and Deloitte professionals. The partnership, which will continue in 2019, included the construction of an accounting sciences course given remotely, adequate to the busy schedules of the auditors. “There was a specific demand for content update. We perform very closely with auditors, forming teams, organizing debates. The experience of learning in a university environment is much richer” Trevisan says. He recalls that the project was praised by representatives of Rutgers University, one of the most traditional business schools in the United States.
Coordinator of IAG-PUC’s Human Resources MBA training, Eliane Santos Leite sees multiple possibilities at the intersection between schools and companies. “It’s a fundamental ecosystem for the recreation of professional skills. An opportunity for cooperation among stakeholders who share competencies, focusing on a common purpose.” The experiences of the Rio de Janeiro’s University in this area will continue with the Pedagogical Innovation Laboratory, a unit that IAG is implementing under the direction of the undergraduate degree in Business Administration. “It is a concrete example of overcoming the old prejudice that ‘academia thinks and companies produce’. We will listen to companies to update the curriculum of the Administration course, in search of a true complementarity.”
In the project developed at PUC-Rio, Ana Mocny participated in discussions about the possibilities opened by digital transformation in the area of human resources. “There is a great difficulty for companies to accelerate the use of resources such as analytics and artificial intelligence in people management”, explains Ana. “The data is there, but there is a shortage of people capable of dealing with them and using them in interesting analyses. And companies resent this. The union between educational institutions, companies and other organizations will foster this skill.”