Upskill, Or Your Competitors Will Get Ahead

Mohd Khaidzir Shahari, KPMG in Malaysia

Keeping up with the rapid pace of technological advancement is a challenge for companies of all shapes and sizes. While it is evident that technology enables new business opportunities, it also creates a skills gap within the workforce that needs to be addressed.

An employee upskilling program is seen as the solution as many organizations have recognized training employees is easier and more resource-effective than sourcing for new hires. An investment in an employee’s skills and knowledge can return dividends to the employer – this is as true now as it has ever been.

However, the pace at which that education needs to happen is accelerating. With remote and hybrid working policies here to stay, providing flexible, versatile and fast-paced learning opportunities that also keep up with the latest regulations and industry trends are imperative to attract and retain top talents. This has given corporate training a sense of urgency that has not existed before, paving way for online learning as the preferred approach today. 

Anticipating this shift, we introduced the KPMG Learning Academy in 2020 to provide organizations with access to an online platform to enable individual learners to develop measurable skills and capabilities. Since then, we’ve observed improvements including reports of a workforce that is future-ready, messages on governance, risks and controls received in timely manner, strong ‘audit evidence’ that staff are trained on regulatory compliance (particularly on Sec 17A, MACC act) and a positive change of mindset on new ways of learning. Unlike traditional methods, online learning is easily scalable, time and cost-effective for both employees and employers with also the added advantage of convenience.

We also identified some essential topics companies should consider incorporating into their organization’s learning and development programs to remain fit-for-future:

  1. Legal and regulatory compliance. As business laws and regulations are constantly evolving, especially in new sectors such as digital services, it’s important for your employees to be well-trained and updated on the laws that affect your business. This protects your organization from a legal and reputational aspect as non-compliance can result in a negative public image, which in turn will affect your revenue potential.
  1. Cyber security. Over 10,000 cyber incidents were reported in 2021, which could potentially cost Malaysia RM51 billion in economic loss as indicated in the Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy 2020–2024.,

As cyber criminals avail themselves to new technology, your approach to cyber security must evolve as well. One approach is to educate your employees – your first line of defense – to learn best practices and procedures for keeping networks and data secure, and be made aware of the consequences of not doing so.

  1. Sustainability matters. Today, organizations are under increasing scrutiny from investors, regulators and their customers for their sustainability ambitions and measurable achievements. Placing your employees at the center of your ESG strategy and investing resources and time to educate them on sustainability matters is a great place to start. Because when employees use the sustainability lens to make decisions, business resilience will be an achievable goal no matter the form of the next market disruption.

The COVID-19 pandemic represented a global reset for all organizations across all industries, including the ways staff are trained. People’s behaviors and mindset had to shift to the situation, and the result is a new reality where people and technology must work in harmony. So, take this as an opportunity to enhance your organization’s learning and development programs so as to attract and retain the quality talents you need. Because if you don’t, your competitors surely will.

 By Mohd Khaidzir Shahari, Head of KPMG Learning Academy in Malaysia

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