The Indian start-ups space is evolving exponentially. The growth has been largely contributed by newly arrived technology cycle which has brought new requirements and hence rapidly changes the existing skills in the labor market. A specialized or diverse skill set is expected out of employees to be relevant in this rapidly changing digital environment. The advancement of technology and automation has brought us to the brink of an unanticipated catastrophe when it comes to manpower employability. The fast-paced technological progress is giving way to new developments; however, reskilling has become the most essential ingredient to create the workforce of the future.
Re-skilling, by definition, means "teach” (a person, especially an unemployed person) new skills. In the current scenario, there is a strange skepticism on the ability to cater to the change in technology by the present skill sets of employees. It arises from the fact that the workforce is not equipped enough to adapt to the rapidly changing technological advances. The world has moved almost overnight to new forms of technologies involving blockchain, AI, Machine learning technology which is forecasted to make lot of workforce redundant. Banking has seen a dash of technological change through use of blockchain and automation of analytics by AI and Machine learning augmentation. Industrial automation has seen a surge on manufacturing sector organizations moving to low human resource intensive processes. Automobile companies saves almost 90% cost of manual testing efforts by implementing industrial design, robust governance, and strong process flow through automation of processes.
In the light of almost a renaissance happening in the technology world, it has become vital to "re-skill" to stay on pace with the automation of processes. In the ever-changing landscape currently, by the time companies manage to set up a full-fledged team, the technology becomes obsolete. Therefore, it is very important to equip the native employees with resources and provide a congenial agile work framework for quick adoption.
Re-skilling is critical in a startup or a digital marketing space because it gives a competitive advantage in the long run and is much better than hiring skilled workers. Invest in people you already have and build on their strengths. Average age of the employees is another factor which gives reskilling an encouragement in mid-size businesses. A major chunk of today’s workforce starts from 20 and ranges till 35 which makes it easier for companies to reskill them. They are flexible and carry an open mind to change and adopt new roles and opportunities coming their way. There is an efficient way to build and gear a team to campaign their way to the top of the chain, and that’s by empowering employees with reskilling.
Employees need to combine excellent digital specialist skills with deep functional business knowledge. They should be comfortable with short delivery cycles and be able to operate across silos and within cross-functional teams. Today, the ability to collect and analyze data to derive insights about a business or about the domain is the differentiating factor that separates companies at the top of the business from their competition. This is where the concept of ‘reskilling’ comes into place – where companies constantly need to update skilling programs for their employees to remain relevant and cutting-edge. We often see that those companies who are at the top of their game, highly prioritize learning and development goals for their employees.
Processes are changing and getting upgraded continuously, hence concrete steps need to be taken in this context. There are some pointers that needs to be considered while upskilling employees –
- Regular training programme - Engaging employees in multiple training programs by inviting experts to the organization to share their learning and experiences can always help the workforce gain knowledge. Listening and learning from the masters of the field gives a sense of trust to the employees that upskilling is an option to a better future. This further encourages employees to learn and reskill themselves. This is possible only if they get access to Flexi-learning, allowing them to learn at their own pace alongside their busy work commitments.
- Easy access to training material – Employees should have access to learning. They need to be able to study anywhere anytime at their own convenience. Technology allows for easy access of study material across any device through flexible Learning Management Systems, even while on the go. The online courses are typical of shorter durations allowing the students to upskill quickly within a short period of time.
- What company leaders can do - Assess the skills and capabilities of the current workforce against the capabilities one will want in the future, not what is needed currently. The goal is to identify gaps so that the leaders can help individuals focus on specific areas to reskill or upskill. Create a real-time system that helps monitor progress over time.
- Taking ownership – For any organization to be successful, it’s important that its employees succeed and adopt a continuous learning mindset. A proactive engagement to learn new skill set will help them succeed in future. As LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman says, “embrace a start-up of your mentality”—which means adopting a more entrepreneurial approach and carving your own path through the new world of work. Majority of workers appear to understand this already. According to a survey, 74 percent say they believe it’s their own responsibility to update their skills rather than relying on any employer.
We can take the case of American multinational conglomerate AT&T Inc. which choose to rapidly re-skill more than a hundred thousand of its current employees. AT&T has been strong in its conviction to give its employees—those who have built the brand over the past decades—the opportunity to ensure the continued marketability of their skills through wholesale reskilling.
Re-skilling builds an atmosphere where people can pay attention to jobs of different kind that demands thinking and creativity which helps an individual grow. The procedure may sound intimidating, but this is the only way to survive in this technologically evolving space. Help can be taken from academic institutions to help revise curriculums and create opportunities for lifelong learning. At the same time, individuals within themselves have to develop that zeal for learning, take the charge of reskilling oneself rather than relying on some third party.
Together companies and employees can prepare the manpower for tomorrow.