“The lack of digital talent supply everywhere is a challenge for many companies, and the biggest challenge HR departments face is not bridging the technological gap between the millennials and older workers, but bridging the entire digital skills gap itself,” said Lim Loo Yee, country manager, NetApp Singapore.
“In this digital age, or to be more precise, the phase of digital transformation we are in, the importance of acquiring new knowledge and skills which are relevant to the digital economy cannot be emphasised enough.”
Technology is acknowledged as a key enabler of the modern workplace, she said, and as it brings about “drastic changes to the environment and new technologies emerge, employees must now refresh their knowledge and skills regularly in order to stay relevant and competitive.”
At NetApp, they use a combination of digital and hands-on methods and data driven insights in order to train and retain their employees.
Big data allows the firm to assess and pinpoint an employee’s strengths and weaknesses and guides them to come up with personalised development plans, she said.
It also helps them better understand what factors motivate the employees to be their best, she added.
“For example, we observed productivity and job satisfaction spikes in employees who had flexibility in creating their own customised schedules,” she said, adding that this prompted them to give employee greater autonomy in dictating their flexible work schedules.
They also created NetApp University that offers more than 1,000 formal programmes that can be used for role-specific training, boost communication and interpersonal skills, and strengthen their leadership pipeline by offering core leadership development curriculum for managers and directors.
“All communications on employee development frequently emphasises the 70/20/10 distribution, where employees take ownership of their development by ‘doing’ (70%), 20% from ‘feedback and mentoring’, and 10% through formal trainings,” she further explained.
“It is very important for companies to offer all employees opportunities for further education or skills upgrading, be it through their own e-learning platforms or through external educational partners,” she emphasised.
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Data management firm NetApp was recently ranked in the Top 10 Best Companies to Work For by Great Place to Work Singapore and one of the reasons they were lauded for is their pursuit to bridge the digital skills gap not just between generations but also as a whole.