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As the proverb goes, change is the only constant. The field of technology has been evolving at such a rapid pace that many of us find it tough to keep up. The world has seen an unparalleled technology disruption in the past decade and the covid pandemic has pushed organizations across the globe to increase their presence and activity on digital platforms even further.

But these institutions face another hidden challenge that often goes overlooked. An organization can only thrive on the back of skilled employees, and the only way to keep up their productivity is to keep sharpening their skills. In a world where technology advances with every passing day, employees need to keep updating their domain knowledge to keep their work performance up to the mark. The responsibility to help them reshape their skills thus falls on the shoulders of every organization. Here are a few reasons that have made the re-skilling and upskilling of employees vital, and the steps that could be taken to pursue this goal.

It is imperative to re-skill and upskill employees. The market is constantly in a state of flux by its very nature, which makes it tough to predict. As per the Future of Jobs report of the World Economic Forum, as many as 75 million jobs may have been displaced by the end of 2022 by a shift in division of labour among humans and machines. But there could be a silver lining to this, as 133 million jobs might emerge simultaneously. However, to ensure a smooth transition of this shift, it is necessary to acknowledge and address the need to shape people’s skills for the future, starting today. It’s for the welfare of workers.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being deemed as the future of technology, as it is likely to take over operations in every field that exists, especially in business. Advanced algorithms can not only catch patterns in volumes of data, but can also interpret them. AI can carry out complex calculations at lightning speed and conduct the research and analysis that is required to run a business. Given how it casts a shadow on the jobs of millions of earners, it is crucial for everyone to adapt to this new wave of technology before it’s too late.

The value of L&D: Every organization needs to build a learning & development (L&D) model that can effectively bring employees in touch with ground realities of the market. Employees need to observe actual changes in market expectations and understand what will be required of them under these rapidly developing conditions. Productive training sessions must be conducted that would help everyone in the workforce visualize their own career paths while simultaneously reforming their skills accordingly. These sessions can also be used to increase their technical knowledge and create awareness of updates, so that they can make the best possible use of their software systems. Inculcating this practise as a routine would keep employees attuned to trends and thus benefit them greatly in the long run.

Constant learning as the ‘new normal’: Just like wearing masks and ensuring the practice of social-distancing have been accepted as the new post-covid normal, learning essential facts related to technology should be made a new normal in this digital age. Technical progress has gained massive momentum over the years, and it is likely to prevail for the foreseeable future as well. Keeping this in mind, all employees must develop the habit of seeking any information related to their own field, especially in the context of digital growth.

Instead of viewing automated technology as a threat to their livelihood, employees need to focus on how it will benefit them; and it is the responsibility of human resource (HR) leaders to help them communicate and strategize their path ahead. While employees of the younger generation have been quick to adapt to new technology, seniors need to be assisted in this transition.

It is vital to note that AI does more than just eliminate manual labour; it uses data and statistical tools to allow innovative forms of administration and equips employees in ways that can raise their productivity. AI’s razor-sharp analysis is seen to create a momentum that lets employees season themselves in little time and achieve their objectives at an individual as well as group level. Done meticulously, this process has the potential to effect transformations that could also boost workplace inclusivity.

The need of an open mindset: The world’s digital evolution has been changing the very nature of jobs across every profession. Consequently, we are seeing haphazard shifts in the working patterns of employees; some people complain of disruption, while others adopt new methods of operation. The workforce should hence be positively reinforced to take an open-minded approach towards change, as it will help reduce friction in the face of a sharp transition. While this is a relatively abstract factor, an open mindset could prove to be a valuable asset in upskilling employees for future endeavours.

It is aptly being predicted that the post-pandemic era is going to witness a shift in global dynamics. Amid this shift, heads of state and corporate executives across the world’s seven continents will have to evolve and rework their strategies to pave the path ahead with technology confidence. Leaders should use all the resources at their disposal to generate awareness and push reforms that are aimed at keeping the skill-sets of their workforce up to the mark. With change set to accelerate, leaders need to work with everyone they lead on creating a mechanism that encourages innovation and adaptability.

Rakhi Shaha is senior director of human resources, Mobileum

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