Development is an integral part of the organizational culture

It is essential to ensure the growth and sustainability of organizations and professionals.

Upgrading skills has gained prominence lately, with working professionals increasingly realizing the importance of expanding their abilities and addressing current skills gaps. According to the World Economic Forum, nearly half of the existing workforce needs to upskill/re-skill by 2025 to stay relevant to changing business realities. There are different methods and ways to improve skills to ensure continuous learning that helps employees expand their skills to confidently take on new roles and responsibilities in functional areas and operational areas. A learning organization always defines and deploys the best learning solutions to build the ability to stay relevant.

Recent changes in the market landscape, trends and global phenomena have led to the increased importance of skills enhancement and here are some key reasons why skills enhancement is an integral part of organizational culture:

Change workplace

The world of workplaces has undergone a massive transformation over the past couple of years. From leadership style to management practices to functional procedures, every aspect of organizational culture has experienced unprecedented mixing. The intensity of change has been further catalyzed by Covid-19 and as a result, we are now witnessing a complete overhaul of workplace and corporate culture. Take, for example, the work-from-home model. The format has taken center stage during the pandemic and even today, with the dilution of travel and security restrictions, the hybrid model across industries is quickly becoming the norm. Coupled with this are changes in the hierarchical approach in many companies; the shift from command and control to a matrix and inclusive structure has also fueled the need for employee development.

Increased complexity of work

The growing complexity of functional procedures and operational mechanisms in the corporate world also increases the demand for employee upskilling. The rapid integration of new age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and automation today requires employees to learn new skills. Transitioning from traditional roles to digital jobs/mindsets requires a comprehensive understanding of technology, digitalization and IT skills, all of which must be acquired either through upskilling or retraining. The physical and psychological impact of task complexity on human resources must also be taken into account, which justifies that human resource departments conscientiously develop capacities to effectively achieve business objectives.

Digital innovations and mindset

In the world of rapidly changing business realities, digitization has become one of the key words to achieve greater success for organizations. From e-commerce to digital swipes to electronic exchange of information, the increasing level of digitization has fueled the demand for new skills and talent globally. Closing the gap between strategy and execution through hiring may not serve well, improving skills can certainly help companies empower employees to drive digital transformation. By equipping the current workforce with digital skills and capabilities, the development process/retraining can play a central role in effectively and efficiently achieving business objectives.

Blur the boundaries

The rapid erosion of geographic and business boundaries has also increased the importance of developing new skills/capabilities for working professionals. To survive in the midst of fierce competition, category rivalry, and rapidly changing technological breakthroughs, employees must constantly challenge their status quo and learn/adapt new skills and abilities. The new features not only improve the opportunities for working professionals to grow within their company, but also prepare them for the future. Upskilling is also ideal for employees who want to pursue global opportunities, as their deep knowledge and high skill sets make them fit to take on challenging roles globally.

Changing preferences

The market has always been the engine of change for organizations and it is not the same after the pandemic. The need for new capabilities has risen sharply with the rapidly changing preferences of potential customers. Especially in the case of Gen Z consumers, wavering choices and shifting loyalties are a significant concern for organizations. To get hold of this economically affluent generation, organizations need to have the mechanisms and talent to keep pace with rapidly changing trends among customers. Building relevant capabilities through the continuous training and development approach helps employees excel in many key skills, namely analytical skills, goal setting, problem solving and integrity, thus enabling organizations to deliver value to their consumers. Improving skills also improves employees’ customer orientation, which helps companies adopt not only a “profit approach” but also a “value perspective” in everything they do.

Better retention

Relevant capabilities ensure talent density for any organization and investing in that talent systemically ensures retention of talent and customers. On the customer side, organizations with strong talent better understand customer needs and, as a result, deliver high-impact value propositions to their consumers. These companies also rank higher on the Customer Satisfaction Index and, unsurprisingly, grab a bigger market share compared to the competition.

The process of improving skills and building relevant capacity can deliver a range of benefits to all stakeholders in the organization’s business ecosystem. While it is important to review learning and development initiatives, it is equally important for an organization to open channels for feedback. Employees must learn to receive and give constructive feedback to ensure continuous improvement. With the strong talent on board and a good feedback loop, the talents will make each other more effective at all times. This is the era of constant search for methods and ways to balance productivity and human dimensions for sustainable growth and organizations with a strong learning culture will be winners in the long run.

Norma A. Roth