Gearing up for the future of work with agility and flexibility

The workplace landscape has undergone significant transformation in the last couple of years, owing to a global pandemic. Remote and distributed work environments, changing business and operational needs, and emerging technologies have played a key role in disrupting traditional systems.

Therefore, organisations must retain and nurture talent for business continuity and long-term vision for growth. One of the most sustainable ways to do so is upskilling and reskilling talent within the workforce to prepare for varied business needs. Employee mobility within an organisation can help save time, effort, and resources of businesses and leaders.

However, for employee mobility across different functions, addressing skill gaps is an important metric for success. Strategically done, this can actually help retain talent within the organisation, along with training employees to become more agile and equipped to deliver better business outcomes.

Organisations today need to focus on an employee development approach that can meet the demands of dynamically evolving jobs and also the potential of reinventing people.

For this, organisations should put in strategic thought towards building organisational agility for both the short and the long term by means of reskilling, offering newer opportunities, and nurturing talent from within.

Sunette Carroll, Customer Success Leader for Udemy Business, conducted a masterclass to highlight how organisations can focus on reskilling their talent through employee skills development and strategic learning programs to build an agile workforce that is geared towards excellence.

Coping with change

Reinventing job roles is a constant process today as a result of evolving technologies, geo-political changes, economic surges and downturns. A lot of companies are rethinking their talent strategies, realigning their values and employee engagement strategies. According to research by a global consulting firm, only one in six employees feel connected to their organisation, even though they are office space-based, says Sunette. The same study also indicates that only one in four people feel that their leaders communicate on a regular basis and that equal engagement is often lacking at workplaces.Organisations are increasingly putting thought behind how they want to correct and support hybrid work environments, she adds.

Smart organisations are leaning into research and data to forge relationships that can create both personal and business value and impact. When companies put this at the heart of employees’ experiences and their culture and development programs, both the people and the business benefit in meaningful ways. Interestingly enough, revenue goes up.Research also indicates that hybrid workspaces account for 60 percent of why people intend to stay within an organisation and 30 percent of workers are more likely to experience a deeper level of trust towards their peers and also their leaders, when organisations invest in their welfare, says Sunette.

The pillars of success: Power and technical skills

According to the Udemy Workplace Learning Trends Report 2022, post-pandemic organisations are working towards building diverse teams as this also equates to higher profit margins for organisations. While organisations are building diverse teams to fuel creativity, they are also holding the workforce accountable to goals like strategic planning, problem solving, and coaching. We have seen a rise in these skills required among managers,says Sunette.

Organisations are also hyper focused on developing current employees, especially for technical roles, by investing in upskilling and offering opportunities for growth both on the professional and personal front. Organisations are trying to turn The Great Resignation into The Great Retention through the process of reskilling, adds Sunette.

According to research, retention rises up to 50 percent for companies that have strong learning cultures starting early on in the employee lifecycle. Added to this is an effective onboarding experience cycle that can decrease the time an employee takes to become fully contributing. It also significantly increases the time that an employee stays with the organisation.

The important power skills in demand in the new normal are leadership capabilities that are fuelled through transparency, empathy, trustworthiness, company culture and teamwork, especially in remote or hybrid functions to help a dispersed workforce come together.

Agility is key for when things turn around quickly and market conditions change, coping mechanisms are in place. Power skills like assertiveness, communication, business writing, and negotiation skills are also in demand . For risk mitigation, on-demand learning where organisations can enable their workforce through learning experiences are also the need of the hour for business continuity, says Sunette.

Course consumption in India over the past quarter has focused on technical skills related to computer programming, web testing automation, electronics, and cloud monitoring. This is combined with cybersecurity where demand outweighs the supply, says Sunette.For organisations that are hyper focused on security and are struggling for talent in the market, reskilling is an opportunity to build talent from within the organisations, she adds.

Data science and data engineering skills are other important focus areas that have emerged in the last couple of years for making data-driven business decisions, followed by coding so that technical workers have a basic understanding of software development principles and can expand their horizons, says Sunette.