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Skills & Work: Reskilling Employability Needs for Post-Covid World

, May 23, 2022, 0 Comments

2020, was the year of change for the entire world and especially for businesses and their approach toward employees. Suddenly, digital became the new work culture for organizations and this deepens the realization of improved skills among workforce 4.0. Many organizations have started calling back their employees to offices eg. Infosys, TCS, and Cognizant etc. these organizations are looking for some additional and better skills in their employees.

skills-work-employability-covid-marketexpress-inHuman Resource departments of many prestigious organizations have started predicting the demand for new skills among the existing as well as future workforce. This blog is an attempt to bring to light those skills, which can become the need for workforce 4.0. The content of the article is researched by considering different white papers, research papers and discussions between faculty and students. Last month, an article by Sandeep Parasrampuria (Founder and CEO, Fingers), spoke about the new technologies that will take over the world. Like, virtual cloud, on the go data, involvement of robots in mundane work, automation, AI, extensive use of green energy, IoT, massive changes in personal banking and professional banking, 3D printing for building constructions etc. these technological changes will require up-gradation of workforce skills.

A few skills, which will take the front stage, will be:

Digital Presence Skill: Work from home has increased the importance of digital presence. The advantage of having a virtual presence is that you are not only getting your work done from the comfort of your location but you will also be able to reach a wider range of people, which is impossible physically. In the near future, more importance is likely to be given to virtual presence because of its reach and feasibility. The author states that by 2030, the workforce will develop the skill-set required for a virtual presence like virtual presentation skills, conducting virtual meetings, communication skills and data science skills will highly be in demand.

Conceptual skills: Possessing conceptual skills enables an employee to view the organization as a whole unit. It refers to the ability to view the entire situation in totality. It helps in analyzing the environment and factors governing the situation. Thus, an individual can come up with solutions to the problem.

Design thinking Skill: Strategic planning is a key part of all the domains of management. It is important for managers to formulate their strategies as per the current scenario. Pandemic has forced businesses to shift to digital mode; mass digitization has helped the individuals to integrate business demand and supply in the market. In the near future, the need to understand business requirements virtually, provide solutions and cater to employee needs will be in great demand.

Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills refer to mental and communicative algorithms applied during social communications and interaction to reach certain results. Since hybrid will continue, Workforce 4.0 is expected to be extremely good and comfortable with interpersonal skills not only offline but online also.

WFH Skills: WFH skills are unique. It requires a shifting mindset by employees quickly. Research states the increase in productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of employees while working from home. Businesses have acknowledged the improved discipline, efficiency and productivity of employees during the WFH scenario and by giving them Flexi hours. The role of HR will have to evolve and understand the impact of remote working in all aspects of the employee life cycle and accordingly customize programs for different employee segments based on the needs.

Effective Communication Skills on the digital platform: Managers who can communicate clearly and precisely either verbally or in writing and disseminate information according to the needs and characteristics of the audience are said to be effective managers. Now the same skills have to be shown virtually to worldwide customers and worldwide employees

Virtual Leadership Skills: Influencers and motivators are phenomenal in this skill but now the challenge is to display these skills online or in blended mode. Reading the body language of your audience and making changes in your communication, is an art that needs to be developed by the leaders, management of teams, conflict resolution and influencing people will all be required as expert skills by leaders of workforce 4.0

Increased emphasis on employee mental wellbeing: Though research has proved improved productivity of employees during WFH the employees also face many challenges and one of them is boredom and mental fatigue. Lack of social interaction has also been one of the respondents of developing mental sickness among the employees. Organizations like GE, IOCL etc. have developed a system to make the workplace of employees enjoyable for example they have introduced Virtual Zumba, virtual coffee meetings, virtual meditation etc.(source, TOI:7th April 2021). This has led to organizations putting an effort towards improving the mental health of the employees and in the near future as well. The author believes that in the near future the emphasis will be more on the development of the mental health of employees. Counsellors, Mentors and coaches will be in high demand in the near future for employee development.

Global presence in Businesses: Since the use of virtual presence will be more, it will not only make the work easier on a larger scale but will also minimize the use of paperwork. More focus will be given to the usage of virtual skills such as PPT, Excel, Data, analysis and so on. Global working flexibility is likely to see an increase in today’s working conditions and looking at the benefits that remote working, flexible hours and virtual presence provides.

Buddy systems will replace PMS (Performance Management System): Since the introduction of the above methods into the organization, the working conditions have also changed within the organization. This change demands the employees be trained or educated in order to keep them up to date with the working conditions and ensure their productivity.

Thus, the majority of the organizations are likely to give up the old traditional system of training in order to evaluate employees on the smaller changes in the working conditions. New methods such as buddy systems (Google, Cargill, Accenture system(TATA) and employee empowerment programs in order to keep the motivational levels of the employees high and stress under control.

In addition, workforce teams who foster integrity as a workplace value will encourage positive employee experiences, respect, and trust among the employees and the management. The future workforce will aim to build workplace positivity to promote hard-working employees with moral conviction and the intuition to do what is right.

Decrease in power and politics for Unions: Since the concept of work from home is on a rise, it is expected to be the same for a few years; this will result in the reduction of the workforce in manufacturing sectors. This will lead to union problems, however, due to the authority and the power of political factors, the unions won’t be as powerful as they use to be.

Similarly, since the working conditions will shift more towards automation a lot of worker problems and conflicts will see a decrease in number.

Nature of Work moving towards MLAI (Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence) in HR: Artificial intelligence is the need of the hour in all domains of management. Most of the HR functions like Compensation and benefits, Performance Management Systems, Training and Development, Competency Mapping, etc. will start using AI extensively. Another example would be the dashboard software, which the majority of the companies use these days and is integrated into every system that the employees operate. A lot of support is provided to employees by applying these systems, for example: providing leave applications through software and receiving updated information on any upcoming events. This increases the efficiency of HR and its systems in an organization.

Research-oriented mind-set: Increasing demand for the research-oriented mindset of employees.

Since the working conditions are more likely to change and shift more towards the use of mass digitization and Flexi hours, the nature of work is also more likely to change. This will bring out organizational changes and will require new kinds of skill sets and training to get the job done right. Workforce focus will shift towards the usage of more skilled labour. Research reveals that the digitally skilled workers currently represent 12% of India’s workforce and estimates that the number of workers in India requiring digital skills will need to increase nine times by the year 2030. Leadership will face challenges to lead their businesses virtually; by 2030, many skill-sets will be developed for leaders where leaders will become influencers rather than supervisors. Leaders will focus more on the transformation of employees, influencing employees and overall development of employees virtually.