Are Indian employees skill-ready for the future of work?

It is more likely that in a post-pandemic world, employees will need enhanced skills

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The recent crisis has proved to be a black swan moment for the corporate workspace. While it has upended the traditional paradigms, it has also accelerated the pace of digitisation that was occurring over the past few years.

With more companies having been forced to automate their systems, there is naturally a need for more enhanced skill sets in the current workforce. The need of the hour is to build resilience in employees with the right skills and support their upskilling. However, the question remains, ‘Are Indian employees armed with the skills that make them ready for the future of work?’

As per the UdemyGlobal Skills Gap Report, a majority (92 per cent) of the employees in India agree that there is a skills gap in the country and two-thirds (76 per cent) feel personally affected by it. The report further reveals that Indian employees realise the importance of professional development while also feeling responsible for it and expect their employers to offer support for upskilling.

It is more likely that in a post-pandemic world, employees will need enhanced skills like the ones mentioned below to adapt to the rapid changes:

• Mental health and wellness

Given that mental health and productivity go hand-in-hand, the former is a must-have skill for all levels in the organisation. With the massive impact that the pandemic created on workplaces globally, it’s imperative that businesses will benefit from employees mastering skills such as anxiety management, resilience, stress management and so on that are linked to mental health.

• Time Management

With remote working being the norm, burnout among employees has recently been recognised as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ by the WHO. It’s a given then that organisations need to address it and equip employees to be more in control of their time so as to be able to handle the challenges of burnout. In today’s uncertain business environment, it will help for employees to master skills such as motivation, self-discipline, goal achievement and so on, to better manage their time.

• Communication and Collaboration

Amidst remote work, the demand for better communication skills is a priority as employees realise the value of listening and accommodating. Even to solve complex problems that arise in day-to-day work, employees are required to connect and brainstorm over solutions. That is why, it is more important than ever now to focus on skills that aid communication and collaboration, such as listening skills, business communication, conflict management, interpersonal feedback and so on.

• Decision Making

Decision making has always played a critical role in the corporate landscape, but it has become increasingly important in the current scenario. The role of decision making in enhancing business outcomes and processes cannot be overstated. Employees need to master skills, such as strategic thinking, facilitation and teamwork to be better at decision making.

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Here are some steps that L&D and HR teams can take to help employees develop skills that will make them ready for the future of work:

• Offer bite-sized learning content to encourage continuous learning

As L&D continues to leverage technology for training, the idea of bite-size learning is gaining momentum. The focus should now be on delivering learning content that is divided into smaller nuggets targeted at imparting only the relevant skills.

• Focus on cross-functional skillsets to enhance capability development

As per LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report 2021, a majority of L&D professionals have mentioned that skill-building and internal mobility will serve as critical growth pillars for companies in 2021.Upskilling and reskilling should be to boost the overall productivity of the workforce and enrich capability building. Companies need to invest in diversified skill sets to encourage a culture of infinite learning.

• Provide soft skills training

The pandemic has made L&D and HR teams lay increased focus on soft skills. It’s a given, though, that soft skills are not something that can be imparted in a day. They have to become a part of the daily lives of employees. This means, there have to be ways to provide experiential learning to help the workforce develop these skills across all verticals.

As workplaces are evolving, there is bound to be a demand for newer skills in 2021 and beyond. It’s time for the L&D and HR teams to adopt a continuous learning culture, while ensuring that employees are armed with the skills that will make them ready to face the future of work.

The author, Amit Gautam is the Founder & CEO of UpsideLMS and Plethora. He is a learning technology enthusiast and a passionate leader. An IIM and NIT alumnus, Gautam is the key idea generator for UpsideLMS & Plethora’s product teams, a Sales and Marketing orchestrator, a learning technology solutions consultant for clients and prospects, and a mentor for all the function heads at his company.

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