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4IR Capability Building

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4IR Capability Building

Opportunities and Solutions for Lasting Impact


5 min read
3 take-aways
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Successful digital transformation initiatives put employee learning first.

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution makes it imperative for companies to upskill and reskill their workforce. Capability building – teaching the skills to undertake new tasks – can’t be accomplished in a one-off training initiative, however. It touches on every aspect of working, including how to lead through transformation, uncertainty and change. This McKinsey report outlines four best practices companies can employ to initiate and sustain successful capability building. The authors’ conclusions are useful for leaders working on a comprehensive learning strategy in the midst of a digital transformation.


The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) requires organizations to adopt a holistic program of capability building.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is shifting the workforce away from manual tasks toward more automated and data-driven work. 4IR, thus, creates the need for new workforce skills – which 80% of surveyed CEOs consider their biggest challenge. For one, people will need to learn to work with and utilize new tools and technologies. For another, leaders must receive training in overseeing work process transformations and in supporting the people tasked with implementing them. It is also incumbent on leaders to promote a growth mind-set and engage in continual learning themselves.

Companies are usually unable to close all their skill gaps by hiring new people or relying on freelancers. Upskilling their existing workforce, therefore, is essential and brings additional benefits. Not only is reskilling and upskilling cheaper than hiring new people, it also boosts company culture and employee engagement. Effective reskilling and upskilling programs implemented across the organization have been shown to increase business impact and return on investment...

About the Authors

Wim Gysegom and Roberto Migliorini work as partners in McKinsey’s London office, Sven Houthuys and Dado Misljencevic serve as associate partners in the Amsterdam office, Sid Khanna is associate partner in the Southern California office, and Mikael Robertson works as a senior partner in the Stockholm office.

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