The pandemic has caused several changes in the way businesses operate, with the adoption of digitalisation and automation being the most significant. The economic impact of COVID, on the other hand, is something that many people underestimated. Many businesses were forced to rethink their activities and adapt for the future in order to preserve continuity in the new normal. Employee skilling is an important factor in a company's ability to recover from a catastrophe. Employees' technical, digital, cognitive, and resiliency skill sets must be nurtured, and organisations must assist in a smooth transition to the new normal.

According to the McKinsey Worldwide Survey, 14% of the global workforce will be millennials by 2020. This will ensure that these people remain relevant in an era when artificial intelligence and automation will disrupt every industry. Furthermore, 87 percent of employees are expected to experience talent shortages in the workplace. As a result, the future of work will need two major shifts in the workforce: upskilling and reskilling.

Ensuring timely skill transformation at the workplace

The pandemic has demonstrated that no one has control over the future, and long-term goals are more likely to fall through than ever before. While businesses are coping with the new normal, neglecting the importance of timely upskilling and reskilling of employees can pose a serious problem for business growth.

To help the business thrive and survive, organisations need to ensure timely upskilling and reskilling of the employees. This will enhance employee’s knowledge and skills which directly impact their personal goals and company KPIs. Additionally, through workforce training, organisations can maximise employee’s potential and allow them to retain their jobs by expanding their skills to different areas.

There are multiple problems which directly stem from inadequately skilled employees at the workplace. Shortage of skilled employees is likely to hamper productivity as well as the overall business outcome. Additionally, employees may experience increased levels of work-related stress and limited scope of growth leading to higher attrition.

In the long run, upskilling and reskilling programs can also attract new talent, increase collaboration between departments and speed up the adoption of new trends within the company. Therefore, with timely upskilling and reskilling of the employees, the companies can save themselves from future disruptions.

Role of technology in successful skill transformation

Encouraging employees to learn new skills will benefit both the employees as well as the business. New technologies play a promising role in enhancing learning capabilities while making the experience more engaging. Employees can capitalise on this by using various platforms to upskill themselves.

Further, organisations must encourage their employees to be updated with new technologies and organisational standards which will help them plan and perform better. Additionally, with access to platforms like Slack, Zoom, Teams, and G-meet, the leadership team can exchange knowledge and information with their employees and help them achieve their goals. Utilising technology for skill transformation will not only increase employee productivity but will also enhance their engagement rate.

How to address the skills gaps within the organisation?

Addressing skills gaps within the organisation in a post-pandemic world is essential. With digital disruption and remote working, there has been a big change in the modern workplace. However, improving technical skills like software and systems knowledge, along with soft skills, will help bridge the skill gap existing in the organisation.

A point to note is that bolstering skills is not a straightforward approach. Instead, organisations must focus on multiple key areas which will have a very tangible impact for the company.  By ensuring that the workforce is well-aligned with the business requirements, organisations can prime themselves for growth

Upskilling and reskilling are the essential ways for organisations to equip employees with the skills and competencies they need to be future proof. However, the skilling of the employees depends on the specific needs of both the employees and the organisation. A combination of multiple skills training is likely to ensure incredible business outcomes.

(This is a slightly modified version of an article originally published in People Matters. The original article can be found at https://www.peoplematters.in/article/skilling/skill-transformations-and-the-future-of-workplace-31246)