Why upskilling is the need of the hour in the post-pandemic world
With the turn of the 21st century, there has emerged a need for people to be hands-on with the skills that they learn, as applied learning gains prominence. In January 2020, the World Economic Forum had announced that the world is currently facing a dire upskilling emergency.
About one billion people need upskilling by 2030. The underlying message was for organisations, governments and the society to work together to bring in an education environment that is agile and enables people to find roles in the workplaces of tomorrow.
Learning transformation is the need of the hour – one that is focused on the connection between continuous reskilling or upskilling on one hand, and the actual work on the other. They are two sides of the same coin. Teams and organisations are required to prepare for a super-learning future centred on skills and calibre of the individual, that even integrates ‘learning in the flow of work’ across businesses.
Reasons for this have been disruptions to the nature of work due to technological innovation, rising demand for new competencies, altering employee expectations, changing labour demographics, diversity strategies, and evolving business environment with its regulatory changes.
Many chief learning officers have already understood that reskilling and upskilling are the answers to these problems, but the learning, as we know it, isn’t enough. We need to start from the beginning.
How to upskill
As technology penetrates into nearly every aspect of our lives, we move towards an entirely new digital landscape in the post-pandemic era with advanced technologies like AI, machine learning, IoT, and robotics, taking the world by storm. For quickly adapting to this new normal, companies are attempting to build a workforce that is digitally agile.
In today’s time, it’s essential that we continually supplement our knowledge gained through academic degree programmes with hands-on experience and industry exposure to learn skills that show one’s worth to the recruiters.
This has led to a significant boom in industrial training programmes and courses. Learning these skills can help potential candidates and existing employees can take their competencies a notch higher so that they can tackle new challenges and become job-ready.
1. Relearn and upskill
New technical developments are constantly emerging in different spaces. In order to keep up, employees need to learn about these developments and further hone their existing skills in specified areas.
For example, software engineers have new technologies invading their domain which they must learn about and harness that learning to stay job-relevant. As embracing new skills is the only way forward, it gives employees an opportunity to grow, upskill themselves and foray into newer areas.
2. Enrol in online courses
The spurt in the growth of the internet has allowed graduates and employees to update their knowledge of latest developments, and become adept at them with online courses. While many of these are available for free as MOOCs, there are others that are paid but the investment is worthwhile.
For example, the Six-Sigma certification courses can help learners be equipped with skills for multiple industries such as HR, IT, marketing, banking and financial services, and accounting and taxation, which can make one industry-ready.
3. Accommodate different learning styles
Every person has an individual learning style particular to them. Some learn better in a conventional classroom setting guided by an instructor, while others thrive in the self-learning mode with online courses. Some might prefer micro-learning with the help of bite-sized short-length videos.
Therefore, considering this, companies need to make provisions for various learning styles so that every employee can participate.
4. Job-specific upskilling
Companies can offer employees job-specific training so as to enhance their existing skills. If there is a specific software or technology which employees may want to learn, then the company must extend that opportunity to them. In such cases, certification courses too can prove beneficial.
5. Personal development plans
Employees must be encouraged to build their personal development plans wherein they can list down the skills that they would like to develop and the core competencies which they wish to improve. Rather than being made to learn something that is not of interest to them, employees should themselves identify the skills which resonate with them.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)