UPSKILLING FOR A ‘WEALTHIER’ YOU

Being technically sound in one’s area of work is now an asset of the past. Being versatile in the ever-changing world helps employees survive in the workplace and keeps them resilient during turbulent times. 

On the other hand, employers need to give due respect to honing employees’ hard and soft skills and include upskilling of employees into their annual budget of training and development

This article will shed light on what is upskilling and the top 10 reasons to upskill in the workplace.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling transforms the employee to be a more competent, resilient and competitive version of themselves in the workplace. 

Therefore employers need to support the existing workforce to gain these valuable new skills to climb the corporate ladder and create a more robust workforce that has an edge on their performance and overall well being. An upskilled employee thus becomes an asset to the workplace. 

The primary motivation of upskilling is for the employer to identify the top performers in the workplace. Hence it helps to keep the workplace’s best talent. It increases productivity in the workplace and increases the bottom line of the company.

As a result, employee job satisfaction increases and reduces the turnover rate in the organisation. Therefore, upskilling is a good investment and shows employees that the company cares about their betterment. Ultimately, a skilled employee can provide better customer service, which will give rise to better results all round.

 

The Top Ten Reasons To Upskill

  • It develops leadership skills

 More often than not, managers worry about employees not taking up more challenging tasks in the workplace. As a result, lack of productivity, less risk-taking and low motivation within a team occurs. Upskilling helps the company to grow the employees to be better leaders to climb the corporate ladder. Resources invested in upskilling employees will not be seen as wasted when they are competent enough to forward the company.

 

  • It helps the company stay abreast of competitors

 One of the essential tasks that employees need to keep in mind daily is being relevant and vigilant to the industry’s new trends. Employees have to be sound and adopt the right attitude towards building an ‘edge’ over other companies. 

New software makes it to the market daily. New subjects such as business analytics, robotics and artificial intelligence are paving their way into the future. Hence employees need to make sure they continuously upskill to embrace the change in the workplace.

  • It helps employee become digitally savvy 

As stated by Oracle.com, the future is on the Internet of Things (IoT). Those who do not upskill themselves face repercussions of job loss and, even worse, getting left behind in a continuously progressive workplace. 

Given that mature employees now need to be digitally competent as Millenials, upskilling to adapt to various digital skills is paramount. While a business analyst traditionally doesn’t need to code, having decent background knowledge on the subject matter helps in the long run. Upskilling is essential in learning how to think, react proactively, and thrive in a digitally sustainable world in time to come.

 

  • Become an innovative asset to any company

Technology is not a naturally occurring substance found on earth. As we know it, the future is present because humans could visualise an idea and invent it for the betterment of all human beings. 

Fast-forward to recent times, presenting this invention to the market meant an insane amount of innovation took place. From landing a man on the moon to building hybrid vehicles somewhere along the way, someone thought differently. Employees with an innovative mindset have a bright future ahead of them. Companies tend to upskill these employees over those who rest on their laurels and are passive in their work ethic.

 

  • If can bring about financially stability

Providing upskilling opportunities to employees means the employer does not need to recruit new staff who may cost more. Furthermore, an upskilled employee will be more than happy with inhouse training and persevere towards more challenging, higher-paid jobs. Upskilling means gaining new knowledge and skills and also improved attitude and behaviour in the workplace.

PwC Network expects to invest around USD 3 billion in their workforce globally to keep them relevant and competent in their respective fields. A more qualified person can also demand higher pay, and upskilling gives employees an invaluable opportunity.

 

  • Improved communication

More often than not, employees tend to disengage with the employees and other colleagues at the workplace. Lack of communication can result in interdepartmental conflicts, frustration, and many other detrimental factors affecting the organisation’s employment level. Therefore effective communication upskilling is a vital factor. The employee’s understanding improves significantly and helps to survive and sustain in the workplace.

 

  • The missing piece – empathy

In this fast-paced world, one often misses out on the finer nuances in a workplace, such as emotional intelligence. Professional and technical intelligence gets you the job. Being more versatile in your soft skills will help you retain the position in the workplace. Therefore upskilling to understand how to walk in your colleague and customer’s shoes is vital in any organisation. Empathising not only enhance your professionalism at the workplace but also helps you synergise better with your team.

 

  • Developing better negotiation skills

Negotiations take place by shaking a deal with an iron fist but with a velvet touch. A lousy deal reflects poorly on the overall reputation of the company. To avoid this, employers need to ensure that necessary negotiation skills are to the employee. A skilful negotiator is a competent employee who can get a good bargain and sustain the cost and time taken to get work done.

 

  • Becoming more adaptable

A competent employee is one who has the right skill set to adapt quickly to an organisation. The employee has cross-functional skills. There will be more opportunities to work with inter-departmental projects as well. The adaptable employee is also someone who can work under tight deadlines. The agility of the employee also makes them more valuable and reliable to the team.

  • Overarching professionalism

A warm and genuine smile, a diplomatic speaker, an attentive employee are all characteristics of a professional employee. A genteel employee exudes confidence and is an asset to the company. 

Professionalism is a life long attitude; one needs to develop as time goes. Especially in this competitive world, professionalism is what endures and helps the employee move up the corporate ladder. Therefore upskilling is the mechanism to polish skills that will enhance professionalism in a workplace.

 

At Exena Learning Hub, we value the importance of upskilling and becoming a better version of yourself at the workplace. Our team of helpful experts can harness your growing potential and, with the aid of the latest technology and best business practices, help you reach greater heights.

As much as upskilling enables you to achieve greater financial security, it also allows you to become more confident. These soft skills are priceless, and no matter how VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) the world may be, upskilling will help you survive and thrive at your workplace.

 

References

https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/upskilling/everyone-digital-world.html

Why you should invest in upskilling your team

https://clutch.co/hr/resources/importance-of-upskilling-employees#:~:text=Upskilling%20Increases%20Employee%20Retention,their%20commitment%20to%20your%20business

Why Soft Skills are Essential in the Workplace, Especially in Asia

The onset of the fourth industrial revolution is upon us!

This revolution will see the emergence of broad themes such as supercomputers, intelligent robotics and self-driven cars. As we head into the future, soft skills in an individual are more important now than ever.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are characteristics that range from common sense to interpersonal, social and communication skills, telling a lot about a person’s character.

These skills are also essential for relationship building, which are quite strikingly lacking in the workplace nowadays.

With many foreign workers in Asia and the rise in IT jobs, soft skill development is more critical than ever before.

As much as employers can find people with the right hard skills, it is often difficult to find people with the right soft skills. As globalisation increases, soft skills help transcend language and culture barriers. One then learns to empathise and understand their colleagues and customers better.

Importance of soft skills from an Asian perspective

Traditionally the Asian workplace has always had a bureaucratic hierarchy structure with power being at the top and getting lesser to the bottom.

The strong survive. The weak perish.

However, Asian culture also favours labour rights over the west’s predominant “hire and fire” culture. Given the level of respect, empathy and traditions surrounding the power imbalance, honing soft skills are fundamental in this transitional era.

One of Deloitte‘s most pressing statistics is that 78% of the employers in Southeast Asia see the development of soft skills as an important one. Still, only 23% feel the need to address it.

Hence there is a severe gap in the business place, particularly in the Asian workplace concerning soft skill development.

A study carried out by Skill Report shows an increase in globalisation, digitisation and industries amalgamating into one giant conglomerate. Employees are now having to rely more on their soft skills than the traditionally necessary hard skills to survive in the workplace.

Some of the most sought after soft skills in the workplace are problem-solving skills and people management. This is because hard skills can be trained over time and soft skills are difficult to master. Furthermore, upper management needs to be actively involved in skill training and development as well.

CEOs need to understand that to stay ahead of the competition. They need to keep their employees actively involved in making strategic decisions in the company.

The golden reasons to improve soft skills in the workplace

1. Improved critical thinking

As an employee, your hard skills will help you get the job done. However, to think creatively and make informed decisions, it is vital to be a critical thinker.

For this, you should have an innate ability to formulate a robust solution and device alternative solutions. Employers look for individuals that excel in troubleshooting, think out of the box, are resourceful and are continuously willing to learn and debate constructively on a given problem.

Critical thinking is also a stepping stone for innovative thinking and design, helping the individual stand out amongst others in the workplace.

2. Enhanced problem-solving skills

A workplace is never short of problems. It is part and parcel of a progressive environment. Being a problem solver without spending more resources is a good quality for an employee to have.

In fact, better and swifter decisions made in the ground level means the employee’s competency is high even at that level. An intuitive thinker irrespective of whether they have more implicit or explicit knowledge will make the right decision at the right time.

A problem solver is also someone who is highly emotionally intelligent. They help collaborate in work to find the best solution.

An employer looks for someone:

  • Capable of making an accurate and diplomatic decision
  • Is humble and patient enough to make difficult decisions
  • Is realistic and builds excellent synergy with the rest of the colleagues.
  • A good listener and has the right balance of influence and power to solve a problem within the organisation.

3. More dependable and flexible

A dependable employee is a trustworthy employee. Being reliable means, the organisation can look up to the individual as being responsible.

Especially if the stakes are high and involve sensitive financial and security issues, being dependable is a must.

A flexible employee is understanding and can fill in anyone’s shoes within the employee’s working capacity.

This means the employee can also work in interdepartmental activities and adapt to the unknown sooner than others. This also portrays to the employer that the individual is helpful, punctual and accountable in the way they conduct themselves and work.

4. Good interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills focus mainly on the ability of the employee to communicate with one another in the organisation. Employers focus on employees who are compatible and have a pleasing personality.

They want someone who is self-driven, charismatic yet firm in their work ethics. It is crucial to be a good listener and have a keen eye on non-verbal elements such as body language, posture, facial expressions, and the ability to judge the intangible.

Having a good sense of understanding of the situation with increased listening also means empathising with the colleagues and encouraging them to do better. These qualities definitely help to climb the leadership ladder as well. A person with good interpersonal skills is sincere, has a good sense of humour, negotiates well, and can be sociable with everyone in the organisation.

5. Leadership enhancement due to soft skill development in a workplace

A Study done by Reality Works on soft skills in managers found that 44% of managers reported a lack of leadership qualities. This can hurt their reputation and relationship with other colleagues in the workplace. Hence, it is important to note these golden opportunities that will positively impact the workplace due to increased application of soft skills in the workplace.

6. Increase in productivity

When a leader remains unfocused and lacks the skills to manage time and people, it results in a lack of workplace productivity.

This can also lead to:

  • Undermotivated employees
  • Conflicts and misunderstandings in the workplace
  • Some employees being overworked, resulting in stress and burnouts.
  • The underutilised staff will become social loafers and get paid irrespective of if the work is done or not.

Social loafing is a common phenomenon in an Asian workplace. Therefore a leader with the right soft skill will now have a laser focus on the job. Consequently, everyone contributes to the best of their ability to the workplace. The outcome not only results in greater productivity but faster completion of work as well.

7. Better organisational culture

When leaders have the right soft skills, they can turn a toxic work environment to a warm and friendly one.

This also helps leaders build a unique persona and become charismatic leaders who can lead by example.

This helps subordinates remain motivated and look up to an inspiring leader. This, in turn, reduces the employee turnover in the company. As a result, an enhanced organisational culture also reflects professionalism and builds the company’s image.

8. Greater agility

In this extremely competitive world, leaders need to be swift in making the right decision. This means having the right gut feeling to make decisions based on superior data. For this, the leader must be a good communicator and a better intermediator.

What gets measured gets done. A leader who can remain focused and keep employees on their toes meets the team’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

Soft skills also help make a company more agile and faster to respond to changing market conditions and customer requirements.

For example, proper communication will reduce confusion and help employees focus on what needs to be done.

9. Great teamwork

A leader with the right attitude and skills to handle a large group of people simultaneously will prioritise teamwork. By focusing on collaboration and empowering one another to do better, one can reach the desired outcomes and targets faster. This also helps solve problems more swiftly with better clarity. Like the great basketball player Michael Jordan says “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”

Hence leaders need to develop their emotional quotient over intelligence quotient.

Intelligence will get you the job. Emotional intelligence will help you sustain in the workplace.

Especially when climbing the corporate ladder, it is crucial to clearly identify and facilitate accordingly.

Exena Learning Hub and soft skill development

Like Charles Darwin, the great scientist mentioned: “It is not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

At Exena Learning Hub, we understand the importance of soft skill development and the latest and best practices globally. Unlearning and relearning is a lifelong process, and Exena Learning Hub is committed to being your facilitator in that purposeful journey. With the right guidance and education for upskilling, you and your company can go a long way!

References:

The Importance of Training and Development – Why Should it be a Big Deal?

“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”

– Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company

We’ve seen this popular quote by Henry Ford, but have we really zoned in to understand the profound truth in it?

At Exena Learning Hub, we strongly believe in this statement. We believe that education is the best form of investment and feel that dedication to incorporate the culture of lifelong learning into daily lives is what anchors and propels us forward.

In an organisation, the most notable learning happens when managers focus on enhancing employee learning at the workplace. The outcome will result in a competent employee with the right knowledge, skill level, and attitude, which directly results in increased organisational capabilities.

There are many success stories of companies that have invested in continuous training and development.

Training and development success at Amazon.com

As one of the most prominent global e-commerce and supply chain companies, Amazon is governed by four main principles: customer obsession, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence and long-term thinking.

With an employee base of 245,200 employees worldwide, 95% of the employees receive an intensive, month-long leadership training. Amazon also has a “Virtual Contact Centre” that trains employees on effectively working from home.

Empowering employees to have an “owner” mindset to impact over a million customers positively helps Amazon create an impactful career path.

Further to this, Amazon hopes to invest $700 million to provide training and development to 100,000 employees for higher-skilled jobs by 2025. They aim to ensure their employees are pioneers in their field who can make confident decisions, take accountability for their decisions, and spend their energy on reinventing solutions for the customer.

This article discusses the key benefits of training and development to employees and the organisation.

Benefits of training and development to an organisation and its employees

1. Resilience through turbulent times

It is no secret that training and development brings direct and longterm benefits to an organisation and allow employees to adjust to new work ethics and latest technologies seamlessly. Keeping up with a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) workplace helps the organisation be resilient during turbulent times.

2. Increased job satisfaction

Well-trained employees have jobs with higher satisfaction and boosted morale. They feel empowered and have a better focus to make continuous progress in their careers.

3. A better organisational reputation

Training is known to result in a substantial reduction in overall employee turnover. Through training, employees are made aware of ethical conduct and follow the policies methodically, making them respectful and empathetic professionals. Thus the reputation of the company and the human resource department invariably increases in the long run.

4. Attracting high calibre talent

One of the fundamental reasons for training and development is to ensure the “triple fit“—namely, task – talent fit, individual – institutional fit and person – position fit.

The right combination of “fit” results in high calibre talent consisting of right psychological mindset, technical skillset and socio-cultural understanding.

5. A “trailblazer” attitude in the workplace

Training and development enable employees to have a competitive edge over their counterparts in other organisations.

It creates an inspiring reputation of a “great place to work phenomena”, appealing to potential employees.

Internally, employees will be motivated to contribute far more than their work description and go above and beyond, being more productive and innovative in the workplace.

Benefits of training and development, particularly from an HR standpoint

It is crucial for HRD managers to source relevant training for the company’s employees – particularly in soft skills, which can be very easily overlooked.

1. Independence of progression at the workplace

From an HR professional’s perspective, training and development allow the employees to streamline their career development among many other things.

Many employees leave organisations as they feel coerced to be something they are not.

This coercion results in demotivation, added stress, workplace burnout and finally turnover, which are detrimental to the company.

It is also a reminder for HRD managers to ensure they are competent and professionally up-to-date in their field of expertise. Remember, soft skills for an HR manager can be a powerful tool!

2. A better understanding and alignment with workplace culture

Training and development allow employees to understand the expectations and the organisation’s culture better—this thorough understanding of the workplace culture gears employees with the right knowledge, skill, and behaviour.

Performance management should be a continuum throughout the employee’s time at the workplace.

By ensuring that the primary deficiency in skill is identified and short term and long-term career development is appropriately planned, it demonstrates care, attention, and effective engagement to the employee.

3. Better gap and demand analysis

The HR department can identify the need gap and bridge with a workable solution to ensure that its strategic goals are met.

It also helps identify industry demands and determine how well employees are aligned to competition and show meaningful results for themselves and their employer.

4. Achieving and organisations KPIs and KBIs linking to profit

Research shows that sadly companies do not always see training and development as an essential component in an organisation. Hence, managers play a pivotal role in ensuring a strong link between training and development and the resulting achievements.

Such practices also help the company evaluate performance and ensure achievement of key performance indicators (KPIs) and key behavioural indicators (KBIs).

The company would also see a significant increase in profit margins and a positive financial impact which is a massive benefit in business sustainability.

In conclusion, we would also like to emphasise the importance of sourcing high-quality, endorsed and trained professionals to conduct training and development for their employees.

HR managers need to delve deeper into understanding the importance of soft skills and values such as empathy and emotional intelligence in an employee. A wholesome and rounded employee will be able to take on any task in the workplace independently.

Leo Buscaglia‘s profound words hold true, “Change is the end result of all true learning.” Join hands with us to collaborate and bring this revolutionary change to your company and your life!

References