​The business pivot: staying nimble to stay profitable

Technical disruption causes a change in the way we work. Maybe not today or even tomorrow, but eventually. Or we risk getting left behind.

In the 2019 Daily Oil Bulletin Service and Supply Outlook report, employees in Alberta’s energy industry indicated that technology disruption was happening now or soon will.

What does technology disruption mean to your workforce? To your profits? Craig Hess is the Director of Global Corporate Development at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). He says training is the key to embracing the power of new technology.

“Innovation, disruption and change are going to happen,” says Hess. “The job of leaders is to help their workers be ready to adapt, and that means having the skills needed for changing work.”

Technical training and workplace skills

Hess encourages leaders to consider what skills their workers need to strengthen to perform their jobs.

For example, industry relies on SAIT to train Operations and Maintenance employees – a training capability SAIT has offered for decades and continues to adjust to the changing technological environment. Ultimately, these skills help companies address production optimization, a critical business advantage during tougher economic times.

The 2019 Daily Oil Bulletin Service and Supply Outlook results indicate that not only does the industry know technology change is coming, but that it’s needed. More than 50 percent of respondents feel that investing in new technology is important. And 36 percent believe new technology will help contain costs this year.

Between concept and successful implementation, the biggest step is the people factor – readying your workforce. “Getting people to adjust is the much bigger portion of the pivot than perhaps the technical side of this,” says Hess.

“We encourage our clients to explore development in the so-called soft skills: communication, leadership, negotiation. These are the attributes that will help employees be stronger as a team when change disrupts how we work.”

Since the downturn in Alberta’s economy, training was one of the elements trimmed from budgets across the province. Now, training is picking up as companies realize they can’t stay in a holding pattern and still expect growth.

“The upswing is coming, although perhaps more slowly than was anticipated,” says Hess. “Training employees can be one of the most powerful ways to address change, and keep employees engaged. If you’re not already factoring training into your engagement strategy, you probably should.”

Trusted grads, trusted training

Calgary has come to rely on SAIT to produce grads that are ready to get to work. For more than 100 years, SAIT has been training a significant portion of the workforce in Alberta.

“SAIT can also help you continue to develop that same workforce,” says Hess. “Add new skills, add more of the leadership qualities essential to ongoing success. Don’t think graduation is the end of your engagement with what SAIT can offer you.”

For more on how SAIT can keep your workforce sharp, ready and engaged, contact Global Corporate Development. Sait.ca

Students in SAIT's School of Business gain practical business knowledge as well as interpersonal, organizational, technological and decision-making skills needed to succeed in today's fast-changing global business environment.Under the guidance of instructors with real-world experience, students learn to apply theory in actual business situations through simulations, case studies, team projects and hands-on training. They develop an essential understanding of core business topics such as accounting, economics, management, marketing, organizational behaviour, productivity tools and technology, and communication skills.

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