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Reskilling, upskilling, continuous learning: Three mantras imperative for both employers and employees

Reskilling, upskilling, continuous learning: Three mantras imperative for both employers and employees

Skilling employees and clients has always been an important area of focus for the top IT firms in India Infosys. Employees are expected to augment their skills regularly so they can excel in their careers and undertake a deeper refresh of skills every couple of years.

Today, skills and capabilities are key factors in career growth. Today, skills and capabilities are key factors in career growth.

The skill building imperative  

Good talent was in short supply even before Covid-19. But when the pandemic forced digitisation into overdrive, the need for new skills became more urgent than ever. In a December 2020 survey of a broad section of the global workforce, 58 per cent of respondents said that bridging skill gaps among employees had risen in priority. Of all the possible actions for closing the skills gap, building skills registered as the most chosen, with 69 percent of respondents confirming their organizations had intensified such efforts during the pandemic. 

But the skills crisis is not just a numbers problem. With digital technologies, especially automation  and artificial intelligence, disrupting the very nature of work, a significant part of the workforce will be looking to change their occupations, or to acquire new skills. The World Economic Forum’s “The future of jobs report 2020” puts a number to this, predicting that 50 percent of employees globally will need reskilling by 2025. Apart from digital, technical and functional capabilities, there will be great demand for social and emotional skills, such as empathy, adaptability, communication and leadership. 

Skill building is enterprises’ ticket to survival in the future world of work. Employers can build skills in two ways–by upskilling employees with additional knowledge and competencies so they are more effective in their roles or reskilling them for taking up new positions within the organisation. In a way, providing opportunities to employees to reinvent their careers. In a knowledge economy, reskilling/ upskilling doesn’t just enhance existing skills, it also leads to a virtuous cycle that attracts further talent – note that for millennial and Gen Z employees, continuous learning in the workplace is a major career aspiration.    

A life of learning 

There are many components to skill building. Organisations have to do workforce planning to identify current gaps and future skilling needs; they need to devise strategies, policies and processes to make employees future-ready; and they also need to track the progress of various initiatives. But above all, they need to nurture a culture of lifelong learning, starting with employees and gradually extending it to key stakeholders, such as clients and partners.   

During the pandemic, remote learning programs ensured uninterrupted access to learning, enabling employees to continue building their skills even in a disrupted work situation. That pretty much drew the curtain on an already diminished classroom training format. In the digital world, it will be imperative for employers to provide online learning platforms where people can acquire new skills on their own in bite-sized modules, at a time, pace, and device of their choosing.  Personalized, just-in-time, on-demand learning is the way forward.  

Learning platforms and marketplaces 

Skilling employees and clients has always been an important area of focus for the top IT firms in India Infosys. Employees are expected to augment their skills regularly so they can excel in their careers and undertake a deeper refresh of skills every couple of years. For example, some IT companies ensure that employees are continuously trained and retrained on cloud-first digital learning platforms, which feature more than a thousand learning courses. Clients too can leverage these learning platforms to reimagine talent transformation within their organizations. Some of these learning platforms extend the concept of lifelong digital learning to people and communities in several countries. 

To maximise outcomes for both the organisation and the employees, employers can create a digital talent marketplace to match internal supply and demand for talent, skills, and opportunities. Employees benefit by getting to know of interesting roles they could slip into right away, or after upgrading their skills on the company’s learning platforms. They get to know which skills are going to be in demand in the future that best fits with their aspirations and plan to learn those. Employers are able to place the right talent in the right roles, dynamically, and also make full use of existing resources before hiring further.  

In the traditional world, careers advanced with tenure and experience. Today, skills and capabilities are key factors in career growth. Just like enterprises, employees too need to reskill to maintain progress and competitiveness in the future world of work. Every employee, fresh or experienced, needs to constantly learn new skills to keep up with the evolution of their profession and industry, and reinvent themselves. This means that employees will be attracted to organizations that offer rich learning opportunities throughout their careers.   

That is why reskilling, upskilling and continuous learning should be part of every organisation’s employee value proposition (EVP). One of the commitments of our EVP is to provide employees the opportunities, resources and support enabling them to exceed their learning and personal development expectations. Employees will find clear pathways and tools to engage in learning, as, when and how they need it, throughout their life. 

Views are personal. The author is Executive Vice President and Group Head, Human Resource Development, Infosys. 


 

Published on: Jan 23, 2023, 1:56 PM IST
Posted by: Tarab Zaidi, Jan 23, 2023, 1:47 PM IST