Canada Association of Tourism Employees

How To Ability Up Workers For A Put up-Pandemic Future

Make sure your employees are fit for the future

As the new normal moves forward, many employees are realizing the need for additional skills and training to support new changes in the way they work. In addition, workers and employers alike recognize the need to help workers develop these skills to ensure they are sustainable.

In a recent global McKinsey survey [1]58% of employers surveyed said that closing the skills gap within their workforce has been a top priority since the pandemic began. The same report found that 69% of respondents are currently building more skills than they were before COVID-19.

With over half of the workforce (54% according to the World Economic Forum) in need of retraining or further qualification, the majority of companies are converting their current training programs and using a skills-based approach to learning. The priority for this new approach is to ensure that employees have the skills necessary to face a rapidly changing business environment.

Learning priorities have shifted

Today’s business environment is becoming increasingly complex, ambiguous and uncertain. In order for employees to thrive in these challenging conditions, employers must focus on equipping them with the skills that are appropriate for a volatile business environment.

“In a sustainable organization, ‘talent’ is increasingly a metaphor for skills – in the right place, at the right time and equally at the right price.” – Gyan Nagpal, The Future Ready Organization: How Dynamic Capability Management Is Redesigning the Modern Workplace

McKinsey [2] suggests that employers should focus on four key skill areas to address employee weaknesses identified both before and during the COVID-19 crisis. These include:

  • Digital fluency
    Every employee should have a certain level of technical skill to ensure that they can easily (and conveniently) work in a completely remote environment when needed.
  • Cognitive abilities
    Working in a remote environment has created the need for enhanced cognitive skills such as problem solving, creativity, redesign, and innovation.
  • Emotional intelligence
    Strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as empathy, are required to build and expand professional relationships despite working in a remote environment.
  • Resilience and adaptabilityand
    As the aftershocks of COVID-19 continue to spread across the workforce, workers must have the resilience and adaptability to respond quickly and confidently to change. In addition, these skills are useful in teaching workers how to use their time and mental health responsibly.

Employers need to focus their efforts on making sure their employees have these future-proof skills. For many, this means moving away from knowledge-based learning and introducing competency-based learning.

Competence-based learning creates the employees of tomorrow

Since the coronavirus outbreak, LinkedIn has reported a “21% increase in job postings that advertise skills and responsibilities instead of requirements and qualifications in the United States.” In addition, the number of job postings that do not require an educational qualification increased by 40% in 2020 compared to 2019.

These numbers suggest that many companies are starting to hire a candidate based on their future potential rather than their past. Focusing on the skills an employee brings to a position enables employers to expand their talent pool and find quality applicants for hard-to-fill positions. In addition, employers who adopt a culture of continuous learning have happier, happier employees who stay with the company longer.

Organizations looking to move beyond legacy knowledge-based learning to competency-based learning should follow these steps:

  • Identify skill gaps and specific organizational needs
  • Take stock of current and future location goals
  • Build fluid career paths
  • Include the learner in the process
  • Monitor progress, adjust learning, and quantify the impact

In addition, companies need to use a learning platform to track progress and identify needs. These platforms provide employees with the tools and resources they need to develop skills.

While the long-term effects of COVID-19 are still playing out, many companies are at a critical crossroads in developing talent and skills among employees. By introducing a competency-based learning method, companies create a continuous learning environment that ensures that employees are “fit for the future”. Now is the time for employers to invest in this approach or risk potential future growth.


[1] McKinsey Global Surveys

[2] Successful after COVID-19: What skills do employees need?

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