There’s a new normal, and it requires bringing about a skill shift in employees faster. Why? The shelf life of skills drops more and more every day. So how can your organization create a culture of continual learning that’s crisis- and disruption-proof? How can it create a culture that promotes internal mobility? And most importantly, what should you be looking out for in the future?
In an exclusive, seventh virtual roundtable organized by People Matters in association with Degreed, industry leaders considered these questions and discussed how to prepare. (The sixth discussion in the series focused on how organizations can link learning to the core of their business.)
Change is Not a Problem
Kickstarting the discussion, Kunal Bhardwaj, Director Enterprise Sales at Degreed, said that change is not a problem for organizations; rather, it’s an opportunity. The key is figuring out where data is.
Lack of skills is not just a personal risk, it’s also a business risk. Organizations are realizing this and adapting to it. Take for instance Swiggy, a Degreed customer that before 2020 provided kitchen rentals and more but has now shifted its focus to location intelligence. To drive innovation and a better customer experience, it’s had to proactively find people with skills in AI, data science, engineering, and quality assurance.
Employers Expect Diverse Skills in Employees
Organizations such as Paytm used to rely on specialists but now expect people to have diverse skills. Cross-pollination of people across different teams is becoming the norm. It’s also enabling employees to huddle online and work like they’re in a war room.
Organizations are becoming leaner day by day. And while upskilling on technology skills has been going on at companies like Airtel for some time, COVID accelerated employee and manager development. The importance of people managers has increased during the pandemic along with the need for employees and managers to build trusting relationships.
For these reasons and more, companies like Atos Syntel are taking stock of what customers want, the aspirations of employees, and where the organization wants to be in the next five years to decide which skills to build.
Upskilling Has Become a Service
At a company like Tech Mahindra, which launched an AI-enabled platform for learning, the focus is on developing “full-stack” individuals. Rather than imparting single skills, the organization has established a baseline of skills for its entire workforce and identified career paths based on required future competencies Skill gaps are measured through assessments, and they help employees know what learning they need to acquire to be relevant in the future.
Internal Mobility to Close Skill Gaps
As the demand for skills increases, one way companies can encourage employees to upskill is through internal mobility. Organizations such as Hexaware Technologies have removed most if not all impediments to internal mobility and reimagined entire job rotation programs. Ultimately, all skilling programs are good only if employees can answer what’s in it for them. Employees won’t learn under a threat. Indeed, a threat such as AI taking over jobs does not light the fire within. It takes an understanding of how upskilling helps them to grow.