Future brings an employee-centric world

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There is a popular notion that employees need up-skilling because of the coming of disruptive technologies like AI and ML in the market. But in reality, most employers are looking for soft skills as a priority, writes Debajyoti Mohanty of Elets News Network (ENN).

T he future of work demands that organizations invest in creating a culture where creativity thrives, collaboration is facilitated, communication is encouraged, and the employee is made to feel content with his work. The current trend requires this cultural shift to be driven top-down with the effective involvement of employees.

The HR can perform this role by leveraging its learning and development (L&D) capabilities. L&D is a crucial component of HR, but the dynamic nature of this component makes it prone to redundancy, if not upgraded well. In recent times, employees have emphasised more on L&D than their employers. With this development, it has become imperative to find new ways to fulfil this demand. And by doing so, HR has a good opportunity to improve their existing L&D infrastructure.

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As per a report, 67% of the surveyed employees wanted re- training and 29% wanted up-skilling or re-training only if they were struggling with a skills gap. Though there has been remarkable increase in the demand for skills concerning AI and automation, soft skills still hold a vital position when it comes to requirements.

There is a popular notion that employees need up-skilling because of the coming of disruptive technologies like AI and ML in the market. But in reality, most employers are looking for soft skills as a priority. Soft skills like adaptability and the ability to work with teams have become necessary. Coming after soft skills on the chart, digital skills were ranked the second most important. Behavioural and creative skills are becoming important because it is impossible to steer through the fast-evolving job market without having critical thinking, a problem- solving attitude, and creativity. Therefore, both soft and digital skills have to be nurtured in order to maintain relevance.

According to a survey, 73% employees think that for a smooth job transition, the employer should provide assistance in building skills, and that it was a major factor deciding their stay at the company. From a 2020 employee’s viewpoint, it is problematic to direct all their education and career growth efforts towards only one organisation. Instead they are keener to gain knowledge and expertise that will help them steer across the industry seamlessly. Therefore, the demand for up-skilling and re-training is for both for better functioning in the present organisation and for adding more value to the employee’s resume.

Unfortunately, there is not much enthusiasm among employers regarding the employee demands for re-training and up-skilling, and also in identifying the skills gap.

The latest challenge for organisations is to make new strategies for their workforce management. It is not just about re-training; it is also about motivating the talent and formulating new approaches to recruiting. To make these strategic changes, the organisations need to consider re-training as a way to level up their organisation’s expertise, instead of looking at it as a way to fill the skills gap. L&D efforts must be directed towards adding value to the organisation, instead of targeting reduction of employee turnover overheads.

A meeting room filled with bored-to-tears employees, is not how re-training works anymore. Many organisations are considering leveraging technology as much as possible for re-training. From the old method of providing self-study modules to connecting with overseas employees for training and exposure, L&D has come a long way forward. It is no longer supposed to be a one-time thing; the frequency has to be matched with the increasing complexity of the organisation and the market. Frequent scheduling of re-training and up-skilling programmes is becoming popular these days.

2020 is expected to be a year for employers to deal with the demands of re-training and up-skilling. The situation also presents an opportunity for the employers to sharpen their competitive advantage. It is hoped that the year will bring on a state of affairs where learning and training will no longer have any time gaps in-between.

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