CXO Bytes

Are CXOs keen to ride the upskilling wave?


With hybrid work becoming the norm, business leaders and managers must re-evaluate traditional management practices. The question now is whether the old strategies still work in a modern world, where the rules of engagement have changed. By traditional, I mean the tried and tested methods that worked in the past. I believe we must rethink how we manage a workforce that is not only multigenerational but also diverse, global, and remote, working both offline and online. Unless leaders learn, adapt to the times, and introduce effective changes, silos and split cultures become inevitable in such scenarios, gnawing away at the healthy culture of an organisation.


Upskilling is no longer an option, but a necessity

With technology advancing at breakneck speed, many older professionals feel threatened by possible job redundancy and replacement by younger counterparts. Experienced professionals should consider upskilling, lifelong learning and skill development as a solution to their predicament. They, however, are not the only employee group that require constant reskilling and upskilling. In our industry, we frequently see freshers or graduates who want to pursue careers in data analytics, coding, or even gaming. As new innovations emerge, corporations want their younger employees to learn new skills or advance their knowledge of technology programs. Upskilling and lifelong learning should be at the heart of the people’s strategies in order to build a future-oriented culture.


While businesses and individuals recognize the significance of upskilling, how eager are business leaders to learn new skills?

According to a report commissioned by Hero Vired, 55% of the professionals believe that while managers are eager to learn, only 34% of mid-senior level professionals and 30% of C-level executives are interested in upskilling programs. While interest in learning new skills might diminish higher up the ladder, maintaining business profitability and health depends heavily on the capabilities and effectiveness of business leaders. Robust skilling programs are therefore vital to the survival of the business and can ensure that industries adapt to, and keep up with the changing times. There is constant pressure on brands and enterprises to adopt cutting-edge technologies, automation, and production methods; re-skilling and upskilling of talent can help achieve this. Therefore, to run a profitable and successful business in the long run, it is critical to understand the significance of new-age tech skills and upskill accordingly.


An essential for survival

Upskilling and reskilling in the workplace have evolved into a survival strategy rather than just a trend to fuel a company’s growth. Business models need to be agile and adapt quickly to rapid technological advancements. Workforces need to be provided with opportunities for digital skilling so that companies can adopt better automation strategies, enhance productivity, and improve adaptability. In order to survive in the new economy, CXOs and business leaders need to understand and relate to how new technologies are changing their marketplace and workforces. Their decisions have direct repercussions for their organisations, and they are essentially responsible for how their workforce and business evolve and differentiate in a competitive and changing market. Hence, a strong understanding of new technologies and their possible impact on business is an essential component in the survival of any organisation.


Employees are anxious for opportunities to improve their skills to stay relevant in the workplace. Hence organisations need to design their L&D programs based on both the general business agenda and the learning needs of the individual employee. The upskilling and reskilling movement can help individuals maximise their potential and open new avenues for the company. Organisations are identifying their key resources, and constantly looking to engage their top talent with learning and development programs designed with the right partners and content to deliver maximum value.


In conclusion

Organisations must develop a workforce of lifelong learners to respond to a changing business environment. Leaders who value lifelong learning can make a huge difference in the modern workplace. A better and more skilled workforce aids industry survival and also has a positive impact on employee retention, creativity, productivity, problem-solving (fostering innovation and competitiveness), diversity, and inclusion. As a result, CXOs must “walk the talk” to set an example for their employees by providing a work culture of entrepreneurial leadership and learning across age groups and levels. Authenticity, trustworthiness, and inspiration are some of the most important behaviours that employees expect from their leaders. Hence, CXOs could kickstart by upskilling themselves in human skills and interactivity, as it can inspire, set direction, build trust and foster teamwork.

(The author is Mr. Dipyaman Sanyal, Head, Academics and Learning, Hero Vired and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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