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BW Businessworld

Upskill And Re-Skill To Stay Relevant

Digitisation has accelerated and the markets have moved online as part of the “Online – Big Bang”. The disrupters are being disrupted, economies have shattered, and are still very much on the recovery path. VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Confusing, Ambiguous) has taken on a new meaning and definition.

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One fine day, we went to sleep and woke up to a new world altogether in March 2020. The entire world had come to a standstill because of a virus and there was panic everywhere. 

Unfortunately, loss of life and livelihood has become a norm. Anxiety had set in everywhere, many well-established business models became obsolete overnight and new businesses tried to emerge amidst the chaos. Work from home became the new normal, PPEs including masks and sanitisers became a part of our personal and professional life amidst many other changes to which we are still getting accustomed to. 

Digitisation has accelerated and the markets have moved online as part of the “Online – Big Bang”. The disrupters are being disrupted, economies have shattered, and are still very much on the recovery path. VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Confusing, Ambiguous) has taken on a new meaning and definition.

In such an ambiguous situation, people are forced to develop new skill sets to make themselves relevant to the ever-changing business environment. Upskilling and re-skilling have become mandatory and not a choice anymore. Companies have started investing in people who can adapt to the new normal, including the ability to surf the digital wave. 

At Muthoot Fincorp (MFL), one of the largest NBFCs in the country, we have rolled out reward and recognition programmes including monetary rewards to encourage employees to upskill and reskill. “Muthootians,” who acquire new skills and certificates, aligned to their new job requirements post-Covid, will be rewarded for their efforts.  

While companies will support upskilling and reskilling initiatives, it is the responsibility of each one of us to take charge of our own learning and development, to ensure that we remain relevant. It is important to realize that functioning in the new normal needs to be a close partnership between providing opportunities on one side (by the company) and making use of these opportunities on the other (by the employees).  

Individuals who thrive in this emerging ambiguity will stand apart and will be preferred irrespective of the domain of work. The current situation is a novel (no pun intended) one for the world and hence, there is no pre-set template that could be followed, which makes it even more challenging. The ones who are resilient and look at opportunities emanating from the pandemic will bounce back faster, while moving ahead resolutely, thereby being game changers. 

Every day is going to be a learning experience for everyone, and we are in the process of leaving a template for future generations to follow if such a Black Swan event were to repeat in the coming years. 

Thinking out of the box has become more important so that new avenues could be explored not only for business opportunities but also the way things are being done. Predicting disruptions is key and having a backup plan becomes essential. Bringing a critical mindset to work and being innovative will be in demand — are we doing more of the same or are we able to innovate and bring about better, faster, more cost effective ways of doing the same tasks, compared to before — an attitude and ability to challenge the status quo, will be in demand. 

People who demonstrate a passion for profession, are driven by a strong purpose, values, and uphold ethics, will be preferred. There will be a strong focus on emotional intelligence, in addition to functional aptitude. Leaders who not only pave the way in terms of business outcomes, but also help the people around them grow and improve themselves will stand out from the crowd and will be in demand. In the new normal, we must celebrate vulnerability because no single person will have all the answers, which is where the ability to communicate, collaborate and being humble will play a huge role in being effective and efficient.

To conclude, individuals (and companies) will have to be resilient, positive and adapt themselves to the new normal to succeed, maintaining the right balance between “high tech” and “high touch”. Ability to motivate (and stay motivated), with a focus on purpose, core values and optimizing the resources on hand will define success. People who demonstrate ECG — Empathy, Compassion, Gratitude — would be setting themselves and the companies that they represent, up for success. 

In the continuing war for talent, companies will increasingly hire for attitude and train for functional skills.