What can leaders do to ensure business success in the post-pandemic world?
HR leaders have had learning and workforce agility on their radar even before the pandemic. However, the crisis has led to an accelerated pace of transformation that now demands new skills and capabilities. HR leaders must therefore leverage the momentum of the changes and advantages made during the crisis to unlock the benefits of transformation and enable the workforce to thrive in the post-pandemic world.
“In the face of disruptive forces, organisations need to become much more adaptable to rapid change and they need people to be flexible and agile to match,” said Vicky Knight, Associate Dean of International Programmes at BPP Education Group.
“The crisis has revealed just how flexible and resilient the workforce really has been, adapting almost overnight to these new ways of working. In planning for the future, HR leaders need to ensure that talent strategies support their new and emerging business priorities and lock in many of the changes on how work gets done.”
As the crisis enters a new phase and the focus shifts to the future, Knight urged leaders to build capabilities in employees that will ensure business recovery and success. This aligned with data from a global McKinsey study that showcased the value of capability building during the crisis. Most leaders (80%) said that since the pandemic, capability building has been ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important to their organisations’ long-term growth. This was a jump from pre-COVID times, when only 59% said the same.
In Knight’srecent workshop on ‘Future-Proofing the Workforce for the Post-Pandemic Era’, she broke down crucial skills for the future of work and how leaders can approach development in our current climate. “Today success increasingly depends on innovation, entrepreneurship and other forms of creativity that rely not just on skills, but also on capabilities such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence and collaboration,” she said.
Additionally, BPP's latest research highlighted the rising demand for skills that will be crucial for an organisation’s transformation journey. This includes technology-related skills like design thinking, computational and data-driven decision-making capabilities as well as customer centricity to ensure that the business remains customer-focused. Findings also cited the need for leaders to be adept at enabling continuous learning and resilience across the organisation, to help manage employees’ mental well-being, personal effectiveness, and productivity.
“What is needed is an organisational capability approach that considers both the dynamic nature of jobs and the equally dynamic potential of people to reinvent themselves,” said Knight. Only by embracing a more expansive and dynamic view of organisational talent can HR leaders cater for the organisation’s future business needs. This must be done by throwing out preoccupations with titles, traditional roles and job descriptions, and looking instead at employees’ underlying capabilities.
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Unlocking business value will therefore require leaders to craft a talent strategy that develops employees’ critical capabilities to support new ways of working, as well as new ways of thinking and collaborating that moves beyond simply reskilling. “Increasingly, future-focused organisations are developing cultures of learning to support capability initiatives so that learning is an ongoing and continuous process, rather than just a one-off event,” she said.
“To fill capability gaps and build organisational resilience requires deploying effective learning programmes that can use a blend of techniques and modalities to ensure employees acquire the skills, knowledge and capabilities that is required, and apply them to their real work.” This can be done through a variety of ways including short courses that identify and address the skill gaps, enable hands-on learning, as well as provide opportunities to actively apply knowledge to the workplace.
To find out more about BPP Education Group’s range of courses, click here.