Upskilling Your Employees for an Uncertain Future

One theme emerges loud and clear as we move towards a future marked by the combined disruptive powers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and COVID-19: uncertainty. Almost half of the world’s CEOs now see uncertainty as the single greatest external danger to their company. 1 Organisations must accept and adapt to change in the future workplace, as well as invest in their workers’ growth and well-being.

Learning and talent management, on the other hand, has long battled to improve employee skills and provide enough support for their development across industries. Organizations have sought to overcome this issue in recent years by using the concept of “learning in the flow of work.” Employees may quickly and readily access brief chunks of learning information while on the job with this approach. According to ‘The Future of Work Is Here’ research, a growing skills gap is the primary trend influencing jobs in the next years for 28% of professionals (including talent and people managers, senior leadership, and C-suite executives). 2 While businesses have been able to take use of an increasing number of online tools to assist bridge the gap, merely learning in the course of work isn’t enough to keep up with the quick pace of change. 3

This has sparked a surge in interest in more significant skill development, with learning and development experts throughout the world reporting a greater hunger for upskilling than ever before. 4

The plurality of respondents (34 percent) chose the response “is fluid, and changes regularly” when asked to finish the phrase “My professional path/vision is…”

This indicates that employees’ career trajectories are no longer linear, but rather fluctuate in response to their changing demands and preferences. To obtain a competitive edge and meet the requirements of a quickly changing environment, companies will need to proactively and consciously engage in reskilling and upskilling their employees. To do this, a significant shift in soft skills, particularly leadership abilities, will be required.

In fact, critical thinking and leadership abilities are seen as being even more useful for employees in the future than technical aptitude, according to research.

5 Recruiters also agreed that today’s top skills deficits are interpersonal skills (51%), as well as critical thinking (45%). (49 percent ). 6 The complexity brought on by COVID-19, according to the most recent career outlook poll, have exacerbated this attitude, with a third of respondents choosing leadership and soft skills as the most critical priority areas for 2021.

Adaptability, flexibility, and a willingness to alter
Businesses are increasingly emphasising the need of creating flexible, engaging environments in which their workers may flourish. COVID-19’s disruptive influence has been seen most clearly in the workplace, where notions about the standard nine-to-five desk job have been flipped upside down in a matter of months. The epidemic has expedited a shift in how people think about their jobs, with more people questioning how, where, and when they work. Employees are increasingly seeing the ability to work remotely as a good result of the ‘new normal.’

With the advent of seamless, real-time communication, a virtual, networked, and boundaryless workplace has emerged,7 where single enterprises increasingly rely on internationally managed workpools,8 and millions are ready to abandon the notion of fixed employers and employment entirely.

9 Flexibility and fluidity are the watchwords in the corporate world.

Creating a culture of participation
Businesses must engage in continuous learning and establish a workplace where people feel encouraged to pursue personal growth in an era where reskilling has become a top issue for 80 percent of executives10. According to research, 54 percent of professionals see upskilling as a shared obligation between a company and an individual, with 69 percent of HR managers thinking that online courses are a good way to improve marketable interpersonal skills. 11 Fostering a learning and self-evaluation culture in the workplace not only helps fill important skill gaps, but it also reduces staff turnover and improves employee engagement and retention. 12 With 57% of respondents saying they are “likely” or “very likely” to change professions (i.e. leave their present firm for another post within their sector) in the next 12 months, the capacity to train and keep smart employees is more important than ever.

The Influence of Trust
Trust has been demonstrated to be critical to a company’s long-term success. It helps businesses to create a culture that benefits their employees, improves company operations, and benefits the community. Organizations who take steps to guarantee that their employees are protected, supported, and treated fairly will stand out in the future.

According to Accenture’s future workforce study, firms may unlock individuals’ full potential by satisfying six core employee needs: emotional and mental, relational, physical, financial, meaningful, and employable, a framework they’ve termed “Net Better Off.” They discovered that how a person feels on these dimensions affects 64 percent of their potential. 13 You may not only increase your team’s capacity to use abilities and strengths, but also raise company performance, by improving how they feel across various dimensions and building trusted connections.

Few companies are adopting best practises, such as enabling continuous learning, using technology to develop flexible work environments, and promoting employee well-being and equality, according to their research, which could lead to positive workforce behaviours and increased revenue growth potential.