“In times of change learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.’’ Eric Hoffer, American philosopher.
In hindsight, probably no one saw Covid-19 coming. Before 2020, no one could have predicted that our lives, livelihoods, and the world as we knew it would turn upside down. In a post-Covid world, the familiar tried and tested models of employee engagement, retention is becoming less and less relevant. To cut down costs, many companies have gone through mass layoffs. Nearly 12.2 crore employees lost their jobs during the lockdown period.
At a time when we are walking on eggshells – in the professional sense and uncertainty have become part of the ‘new normal, the best way for employees to stay productive and relevant in the ever-changing job market is to upgrade their skills. Skill training has always been important. A Workforce Learning Report compiled by LinkedIn in 2019 showed that 94% of employees revealed that they want to stay with a company longer if it gave them opportunities to learn.
Post-Covid, demand for skill upgrading has only gone up. Skill gaps can result in unnecessary costs for an organization. It can also keep you from that coveted promotion. Job promotions are no longer dependent only on experience.
Employees have to learn and grow their skills to meet the company’s requirements. So soft skill training in India is not just a convenient thing to have but a necessity today. With the introduction of social distancing norms, most business practices have been digitalized. The growing number of remote workforces have made virtual training a part of the new normal. However, there isn’t just one way of training employees. Learning and Development strategies need to be dynamic and flexible so that both employee’s professional goals, as well as the organization’s targets, can be met.
Hybrid Learning Program
Flexibility is the key here. Learning on the job, via mentorship from upper management is still relevant. But to ensure employee safety during this pandemic, many organizations have adopted remote learning techniques. However proper flexibility needs to be applied here so that soft skill training in India meets employee’s comfort levels as much as possible. The employees should be given a choice whether they want to opt for an instructor-led virtual classroom session during specific times in the week or choose a more self-paced training where they will be able to learn the course content, complete assessments within the given time at their own pace. However, when it comes to self-paced training, a virtual assessment of the employee’s tech literacy level, age, etc. should be done to avoid potential misfits.
Which Skills Should Be Prioritized?
There is an urgent need for soft skill training in India, especially in the chaotic post-Covid job market. But aside from soft skills like leadership, interpersonal skills, adaptability, communication skills, creativity, teamwork/collaboration skills, innovation, etc. which are must-have skills for any employee, technical literacy is another skill that needs to be prioritized more by the L&D department. With most workforces becoming remote day by day companies need to make workers more technically sound if they want to create a more productive remote workforce. So training the employees on tools like GSuite or Google Workspace, conferencing, and webinar platforms like Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, should also be prioritized.
Make Training Sessions More Interactive
Soft skill training in India need not be impersonal and monotonous. Making the classes or learning sessions more interactive can lead to faster and more effective learning. Learning sessions can be made livelier through polls, fun quizzes, etc.
Collaborating with Third-Party Organizations
Although many employees are best comfortable with virtual coaching classes where the instructors are not third-party trainers but subject matter experts from within the company, sometimes tying up with established skill development institutions can be beneficial, as it can help employees access certified courses to boost their career. Although the area of soft skill training in India can be covered by in-house mentors, not all skills can be taught by them. Aside from providing soft skill training in India, some specific in-demand skills like Machine Learning, Big Data Analysis, etc., are also offered by top skill training institutions. Many of these institutes also have tie-ups with universities which can lead to employees acquiring some valuable professional certifications which will help them in the long run.