Organizational change involves managing change for people, processes and technologies. Emerson executive president, Mike Train, joined a CERAWeek 2019 panel, Digital Skills & the Workforce to look at the people part of this change management process.
Panel moderator Susan Kish opened the panel describing the change in the workforce from the early 1900s through what it’s expected to be by 2030. The shift continues toward more service sector employment and increases in manufacturing and production. One panelist noted that new members to the workforce understand the importance technology although recruiting for the energy industries is harder compared with other technology-based industries.
Another panelist shared Saleforce’s TrailHead educational site. It’s a free service to allow anyone who has the initiative and access to the web can build IT-related skills.
Mike described the need to keep the workforce updated with the latest technologies to take advantage of the productivity it offers. But looking forward, there is a growing skills shortage. It started by creating interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at all levels of education—elementary, middle and high school. Emerson encourages its employees to be active in their communities to foster this interest and show the careers that are possible by pursuing STEM.
When ask why people pick Emerson, Mike noted that Emerson looks for very specific skills, people that are collaborative by nature, and people who understand and want to contribute to the noble causes that automation technology touches—the medicines families take, food quality, energy, and so much more that we have in our daily lives.
Continuous learning means having to accept failures and being able to move on. You have to let people discover the answer even if it may take them longer to arrive there.
One panelist noted that India has one of the youngest populations and the government is very focused on training technical skills. They have an initiative to train 400 million people with technical skills both for companies within India and abroad.
Mike described how Emerson trains 28,000 customers each year. Emerson partners with 350 colleges and universities around the world to get hands on the latest instrumentation and automation technologies and develop skills valued in the industry. These technologies include Industrial Internet of Things-based sensors, analytics, edge and cloud computing which together enable broad collaboration.
Fostering creativity is an important element in upskilling. If it is nothing more than memorization and routine those skills will not be long-lasting and possibly automated away in the not-too-distant future.