The need to upskill digitally has never been greater

May 18, 2021 | David Daly 5 Mins read

Many people would argue that there was a pressing need for multinational companies to invest heavily in the digital upskilling of their international workforces long before the global pandemic came along.

Whether you agree or disagree, the global pandemic has added new urgency to this need for digital upskilling. All of a sudden, the vast majority of office workers have been forced to carry out their duties remotely from home. This comes with two implications – firstly, this now makes digital upskilling that bit more difficult to achieve as it rules out face to face training and learning. And secondly, the very nature of remote working and the new technology stacks required to make this happen requires staff training, as not everybody is naturally familiar with the technology designed to facilitate remote working.

Companies might also have to take into account significant advances in this remote working technology that have taken place in the last 12 months.  So, there is a lot to consider but it is now abundantly clear that organizations who have not yet prioritized digitally upskilling their workforces must now work on a plan to make it happen

Access and collaboration

It is important not to overlook the obvious area of access and collaboration. Not every multinational company operates in a secure cloud environment by default. Many companies may have had plans to invest in a cloud platform but had not yet got around to it.

Then the pandemic hit, and the whole business landscape changed. As much as a cloud platform was still important, companies were initially simply focused on survival and had other priorities to attend to.  Now that things have settled down to a degree, and remote working has been accepted as the new normal, it is important to return to the issue of data access and digital collaboration tools.

We are not likely to return to the way things were -and the future of work is likely to be a hybrid mix of remote working and office collaboration. A cloud platform is needed to ensure employees in different locations around the world can access and share data securely. But they also need to be trained in how to do this -digital upskilling is required.

It is not just about access however it is also about collaboration -a geographically dispersed workforce also has a need to interact and collaborate with each other using digital tools -again, it may not be second nature to all individuals when it comes to using and optimizing the use of these tools. Only comprehensive digital training will ensure that staff know exactly what tools to use and how to use them when it comes to accessing the data they need and collaborating with colleagues in a global workforce environment. News skills are needed, and this means educators and training programs are needed too.

Cloud computing upskilling

Cloud computing has been on the rise in the last decades and all the indications are that this rise will continue in strength for the remainder of this decade. The widespread training of digital cloud computing skills should therefore be a priority in the human resources department at multinational companies everywhere.

If cloud applications, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning are likely to play a significant role in the future of your business, then right now is the time to consider how to best equip your workforce with the necessary skills to operate efficiently within this environment.

You will also have to consider how best to deliver this training and upskilling in a remote working environment. Video conferencing technology, social media tools, podcasts and a range of interactive learning methods need to be considered as people learn in different ways and training needs to be tailored to different knowledge levels.

As cloud computing supports remote connectivity, you can expect to see an upsurge in companies leveraging this technology to deliver projects. A continued and consistent deployment of cloud tools needs to be matched with training initiatives and learning opportunities that ensure a global workforce is comfortable using that technology and has the ability to leverage it for successful business outcomes.

HR technology upskilling

Ironically, while it may fall upon HR teams to roll out digital upskilling training across an international workforce, the HR department themselves may be most in need of some digital training.  Their learning and development needs to be prioritized as they must feel empowered with the necessary skills to deliver employee training as part of a company-wide upskilling initiative.

This is down to the new reality that most recruitment and onboarding of new employees is now happening in a digital environment. The effects of the pandemic are still being felt across the workforce – but business must go on, key roles need to be filled and new starters need to be integrated into the global workforce.

This is about more than simply being comfortable using video technology conferencing to get the best out of a candidate who is interviewing for a job. The entire recruitment process has now moved over to digital technologies-from candidate searching for current jobs to initial conversations to competencies to successful interview to formal offer and all of the documentation and conversations that need to happen around employee onboarding.

New HR technology is coming on to the market to help under pressure human resource teams apply structure and management to the delicate and sometimes complex process of recruitment. New skill sets and digital training will be required to ensure that HR teams leverage and optimize this new technology so that it enables them to move with pace conviction during the crucial recruitment process. This new HR technology needs to be an enabler to business success, but digital upskilling and training must happen so that the people using it are also business enablers.

Well-being training programs and tools on the rise

Employees around the world, regardless of what job they are doing, seem to be constantly interacting with digital devices at present. the long-term implications of this are not clear but discussions around mental health and well-being are being taken seriously by most organizations who have very real healthcare concerns around staff burnout.

A micro industry has cropped up in the area of digital wellness and mental health in the corporate world. A range of useful applications, videos and mental health related social media channels have appeared in what is becoming a crowded and competitive landscape.

All of these well-being tools are still very new and there are very few people who can make claims about being proficient in the use of them. So, this is a new and unexpected area of digital upskilling and employee training- skills will be needed to deploy these applications across the business, HR management and team members will need to be upskilled when communicating about the value of them and the end users, the global workforce will need introductions and tutorials to learn how to use them.

There are valid concerns that high levels of productivity are masking an exhausted workforce, especially those with family commitments at home who are attempting to juggle family life with remote work deliveries. These tools may prove to be a valuable resource for the future of work, but they are not simply out of the box applications -so training and upskilling are required across the board.

While the specific departments and areas of learning where digital upskilling is required will vary from company to company, it is very clear that the global pandemic has exacerbated the need for new levels of understanding around digital technologies. The need for digital upskilling has never been greater and human resources departments at multinational companies need to take proactive steps in the coming months to ensure the global workforce is fully prepared for the challenges ahead.


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Using Payslip, we can manage all our payrolls across nine in-country vendors on one platform. When the global Covid-19 pandemic arose, it was not an issue from a payroll perspective, and critically getting everyone paid. The Payslip platform enabled continuity for our international payroll service including the fast and seamless implementation of the Payslip Employment Self Service during this time.

Colin Smith

Payroll Manager, LogMeIn

Payslip as a technology platform has added a missing piece in our payroll set-up. As an international company with offices in 16 countries, it’s important to us that every employee at GetYourGuide has the same great experience when accessing their pay data.

At the same time, we work well with smaller local payroll providers, supporting us with direct local expertise in their countries. We were able to combine those two elements by placing the Payslip platform in the middle, to simplify reporting and communication with local providers, and to have one simple employee-facing solution across all locations.

Julian Fichter

Head of HR, GetYourGuide

With business and employee growth rates of above 50%, we rely on our vendors to deliver on time, every time. Payslip’s workflow automation, enables Phorest to manage our payroll provider process – data driven, real time and transparent. Payslip saves us time so we can focus on our business growth.

Ana Kelly

International Payroll Manager, Phorest