Holistic skill development - a combination of hard and soft skills - is a requirement both at the individual and organizational level. According to a report by Deloitte Access Economics, the number of jobs in soft-skill intensive occupations is expected to grow at 2.5 times the rate of jobs in other occupations. The services offered by upGrad Work Better fulfills this need of behavioural skills through its many soft skills initiatives. Its leadership development initiatives are designed for all segments of the management:from first time managers to established executives, with an aim to drive progress in the companies and at the country at large.
Behavioral skills for companies to thrive in the new world of work
Moytreyee Konwar, Vice President-Solutions, upGrad for Business shares that one of the major components in executive coaching that has been trending is a focus on developing a growth mindset where leaders can recognise the blind spots within the organisation. These are usually directed towards the highest performers whose contributions might have plateaued. Another component is performance coaching that involves strategic execution for crisis management and training on how to become result oriented. These are usually targeted for those individuals whose performance needs improvement.
Priya Menon, Head of Learning and Talent Management, Bharat Matrimony, elaborates on how good behavioral skills translates into higher productivity and team morale and overall increase in performance. In these trying times, the behavioural component in skill learning is what gives companies the edge to succeed and excel.
The reality is that despite the knowledge of technical skills, the core skills that guided the companies in their journey to overcome the pandemic were behavioural skills. This includes resilience and an anti-fragile mindset to not just survive but to thrive in the hard times, a digital mindset which is open to using digital tools as a means to ensure that the company’s goals stay on track and even take it further.
Nishant Dangle, Global Head, L&D and Talent, Welspun cited Darwin’s observation of the most adaptable species surviving in changing environments to highlight behavioural skill as the foundational skill that will help companies in navigating through the shift they experience today.
Thinking skills that involve self awareness,critical thinking and problem solving will ensure that individuals stay open minded to learning and collaboration enabling them to cultivate the desired business acumen.
Social skills like empathy and communication have been acknowledged as the need of the hour as various changes take place both in one’s professional and personal life.
Ramakrishna Rao, Head of Learning and Organisation Development at Jockey stressed on the importance of how empathy helps in understanding that everyone is going through a different situation saying, “None of us are in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm.”
Designing executive coaching for leaders for a high performing team
An individual’s behavioral skills do not develop overnight after a single training session. It needs to be sustained with continuous feedback and conversations. Bharat Matrimony takes a two-pronged approach to coaching in the company: starting from the top to facilitate a trickle-down effect, and starting from the newcomers to provide them with the crucial inputs during onboarding.
An important factor to achieving effective coaching is the selection of coaches. Ramakrishna agreed with the other panelists that coaches need to come from within the organization. An experienced leader who has faced the subject they are dealing with can coach their teammates for the organisational mindset that the company wants to adopt. Training existing leaders to become coaches and groom the new employees is a two way street where the leaders also have an opportunity for growth. Coaching has maximum impact when the crucial conversations happen between the leaders and employees in the flow of work.
To ensure that behavioural skills learning takes place in the workplace, coaches need to make the learning process more accessible and relevant. This can be achieved by using blended learning methodologies which go beyond the regular classroom training and continuously engaging with learners. Coaches can also encourage self-learning by using tools like online class. Swapnil Kamat, CEO and Co-Founder, Work Better stated that the way forward is merging the virtual learning and classroom formats to provide an all round learning intervention. Blanket approaches should be discontinued and each training program should be carefully crafted to deliver the desired results that the company is seeking.After such training, it is finally the role of the manager to ensure that the skills learned are actually applied on the job.
Watch the full conversation here and learn more about the contribution of behavioural skills to workforce development from HR leaders.