Navigating the pivot to post-pandemic work

By A R Ramesh, Director-Digital Business Solutions, Professional Staffing, and International Engagement at Adecco, India

The topic that has garnered maximum collective mindshare in the recent past is the entire world battling the COVID pandemic, and the economic and psychological impact on both our personal and professional lives. While there is a massive amount of work left for us to do across the board, organizations that remained resilient have given us a preview of a few best practices that can be put into place when we return to more normal work and life. While there is no magic bullet to guide our collective effort of transitioning through the end of the pandemic to a better future, the two things we cannot discount are rethinking how technology can serve our needs and how organizations can attract and retain the right talent.

Despite the complexity of trying to peer into the future of technological innovation for business forecasting; data insights and computational power will stick and more so, there is a 3X acceleration due to COVID compared to the normal pace. Digital technologies are maturing at such a fast pace that the demand has overtaken the supply. More than anything, pandemic-era innovations will rewrite the technology landscape for a long time to come. So, how can organizations future-proof themselves, enabling them to tide through disruptions like the one we just went through? Business leaders should examine their company’s value agenda to tie in with their technology agenda, adjusting risk models and building speed of execution.

The good news is we see a paradigm shift in the way companies are embracing this change in staffing and doing things differently:

a. HTD models are gaining traction – hire train and deploy (HTD) – various flavors – hiring by partners and training/deployment by the customer, in some cases hire and train by partner (which is where we are uniquely placed) and deployment alone by the customer.

b. Practice-based hiring – Absorbing talent based on forecast/heuristics for specific skills and provide training as needed and get them ready for projects in advance. Moving away from the old model of reactive and just in time hiring.

c. Reskilling is gaining traction big-time – a lot of companies are investing in partner-based training, certifications and offer the certification in lieu of core experience in that field – usually, they are bundled with an experienced resource in that skill set.

d. Companies are also encouraging talent to upskill/reskill on their own and get certification in place so that they can be considered for future opportunities.

In particular, it is important for organizations to calibrate business opportunities to assign relevant resources to growth pockets, being nimble enough to get ahead of climatic risks, and adopting new technologies at speed. But the biggest paradox right now is; in the same breath we talk about technological advancements, we also hear/read about reports of ITeS and other jobs being cut due to RPA (robotic process automation) and AI-related innovation.

So, how do we make the best of the situation and lead the change? The current reality is that virtual teams and collaboration are imperative. By supporting innovation and upskilling, we can help businesses close the technology gap, build scalability in the workforce, and help solve the impending human capital crunch. The focus is on developing and integrating new and emerging technologies into the organization that resonates the industry-specific outlook to keep pace with market opportunities.

One revelation though, in spite of several sought-after tech skills that are associated with a leading advantage, the demand for cross-industry and cross-disciplinary roles has seen a huge spike.

a. Lines between businesses are blurring and businesses both large and small are rethinking how technology can provide them the competitive edge. For instance, Fintech companies and e-commerce companies – are blurring the lines between their traditional definition to morph into technology-led companies with innovation at the heart of their agenda, and positioning and propelling significant improvement in their business performance. The same can be witnessed in life science providers with online consultation, wearables, etc.

b. Domain knowledge is also becoming a part of the requirement for the proper application of technology. So, companies offer basic training on the domain front as well and make people ready.

c. Sales folks also need to become more tech-savvy – so, there is a need for core domain sales experts also to get a basic understanding of technology and their application – it’s a two-way street.

Let’s look a little ahead. The pandemic has shaped a distinctive macro-environment that our clients are navigating. This simply means that demonstrating innovation and excellence ourselves when it comes to our competencies, our people, and our business approach is the way to go. This will warrant discovering new ways on how we can continue to develop and improve the way we provide feedback, upskill/reskill and support our talent. And in another, more everyday context, many of our new colleagues have not yet experienced what we considered a normal day at the office. Hopefully, soon we will revive the normalcy and as a result of our past learnings create a much more conducive, engaged, and empowered work environment.

Covid-19post-pandemic workreskilling
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