Many would agree that 2020 brought on a sudden need to upskill oneself at work to keep up with the times and be more competent. The fear of being obsolete combined with the fear of losing one’s job, prompted many to undertake online courses. It’s 2021 and yet, upskilling is taking precedence since business recovery for companies largely depend on skills.
Cost-Cutting On Upskilling Is Harmful
In order for companies to stay afloat, most employers and business leaders resorted to cost-cutting. This meant limiting employee engagement activities, certain benefits, learning and development programs and to an extent even slashing employee salaries. While such a move was understandable, it is now time to revive such activities. The downside to not reinvesting is the impact it will have on financial recovery for businesses. Productivity is hampered, an employee’s mental health and output is at a higher risk due to poor confidence in their current skillset, and lastly, turnover rates will increase as the workforce believes the company is not investing enough to upskill them. 41% of workers have claimed that lack of confidence is resulting in longer TATs. Furthermore, 22% of them have also agreed that their work is not up to par and of lower quality.
Union Budget Focus On Upskilling
One of the key expectations of businesses and corporates is skilling and employment generation. With the Union Budget all set to upgrade the Indian education infrastructure, Edtech and digital skilling is in the spotlight. The introduction of the NAPS 2.0 benefits employers with incentives for apprenticeship trainings and also includes tax breaks wherein the PF contribution is accounted by the Government if fresh hires are linked with the PM Rozgar Protsahan Yojana. Although Budget 2021-22 is yet to be fully drafted and implemented, there is a substantial focus on skill development and digital literacy that employers need to take note of.
New World = New Skills
One of the main reasons upskilling is taking precedence in 2021 is because one needs to be ready for the next “unprecedented moment”. Previously L&D programs focused on a specific technical or soft skill. But as of today, there is an increasing need in the holistic development of the workforce as it improves overall productivity. Here’s a gist at what specific skills are in demand for the industry as a whole –
· Leadership and management
· Project management
· Communication and negotiation
· Critical thinking and decision making
· Entrepreneurship and initiative-taking
· Advanced IT and programming
· Advanced data analysis and mathematics
As majority of the world continues working remotely while some shift to a hybrid working style, it is imperative for the workforce as well as for the leadership team to be equipped to handle this new normal. For the general workforce, digital literacy that boosts communication, collaboration and innovation is essential. Although the same is require from leadership teams, there are other areas of management that need enhancement.
As mentioned earlier, re-investing in upskilling, reskilling and relearning is no longer an employee benefit or recommendation but a need of the hour for companies. It’s now a matter of survival of the fittest and best.