A Mckinsey Global Institute report in 2017 attempted to forecast what kinds of jobs would lose relevance, and what new job roles would emerge. In less than three years, a deadly virus hit the world with unexpected ferocity. The last two years have changed lives worldwide in a way no other single event has. Families got hit by untimely deaths, companies have closed down, national economies have taken a beating.
A lot has changed in the area of employability too. Many job roles are no longer so important for professional success. Other job roles now look more important. Additionally, employees would also need to bring behavioral changes in themselves to stand out in a post-Covid world.
In a way, the pandemic probably hastened some aspects of the Mckinsey report, which had talked about a 2030 horizon for its forecasts. This blog will look at this aspect of employee training and development.
Organizations have got used to employees working from remote locations. Marketing teams have realized that some products and services have become more popular. Logistics teams have adjusted their workflows to adapt to restricted movements between countries. Learning and development teams have had to curate employee training and development methods from scratch. In fact, the entire business landscape has changed, as this recent Mckinsey article explained. That is why employees must prepare themselves to stay relevant.
Employees will need to reinvent themselves in two major areas.
Let us talk about both of these in the subsequent paragraphs.
From the time of Charles Darwin, we have heard that those organisms which can adapt by making internal changes in response to external changes are most likely to survive. An oft repeated story is that of the disappearance of dinosaurs because they were not able to weather adverse situations.
Therefore, it is wrong to claim that adaptability and resilience are new behaviors that only became important now. They always have been. In our opinion, what has changed is the speed with which employees would need to adapt to changed circumstances. The pandemic has shown us the devastation on individuals, families, corporates, and entire countries because they did not adapt fast enough.
Just like the immunity that protected some people from the virus, employees will need to steel themselves to become resilient against adverse situations they might face. Today’s business environment is far more toxic than that during Darwin’s time, so employees will need to be mentally ‘fitter’ to survive. There are several benefits of employee training and development, but increasing the resilience of employees is not one of them. Employees need to work on their mental strength themselves.
Long after we have had the very last infection of this deadly virus, some behaviors would have become second nature to humans. Employees would need to be cognizant of these expectations so that others do not feel uncomfortable around them. These are a few behavioural changes that will become important:
Employees need to equip themselves with all the technical skills this will require. Most organizations have already put in place programs to upskill employees. Employees need to make the best use of those and keep abreast of the new technical demands of their job.
Employees will have to get used to not meeting colleagues, clients, and vendors in person. Selling an idea or a product to someone becomes more difficult on a web conferencing or telephone call. Team bonding or engagement activities would most likely happen through virtual modes. In the absence of face-to-face verbal communication, effective written communication is another aspect that will need sharpening.
As more and more business interactions go digital, the opportunities for digital theft will increase. The other factor that will complicate things is that a large percentage of employees would be working from home, making ring fencing of cybersecurity for the enterprise. This is why employees across the organization would need to equip themselves with basic cybersecurity skills to protect themselves and the organization.
Not everything has been bad since last year. The pandemic has seen several individuals and organizations step up to help others in distress. Lessons have been learned all around on how to be resilient against very difficult situations. Days of enforced lockdown have seen people pick up and gradually master new hobbies and interests.
Humans have continued to inspire each other. We hope that the behaviors and skills discussed above will help employees become better versions of themselves. We would love for you to check out our employee training and development offerings and let us know how we can help you.