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Building Skills Amidst Covid-19

This information might come as a shock, however Newsflash! Finding ways to reengineer, refocus and rebuild the skills of your team could not be more pertinent. Though it might seem discouraging and somewhat strenuous to execute, there is no better time to strategize for the results you wish to see as profits begin to plummet.

While we are dealing with what many of us have come to understand as the Great Equalizer, we must also come to accept that work as we know it will not be the same for a very long time. We could choose to be buried in the abyss of worry and fear or we can opt to go against this tsunami of change in ways that will unearth a different but more illuminated version of ourselves. As many team members have accepted shorter workdays, are on paid vacation, are on furlough, it would be wise to start planning for their return and finding ways to improve themselves on their return.

Innovative HR strategies can help your company grow even through times of change

Undoubtedly their return will require a new approach, a resilient and forward-thinking approach, one open to change. It would be a wasted opportunity if we did not seize this moment to achieve multiple successes as the economy will be relearning new ways in which to transform itself. When the dust settles, we will need to rely on our team to pull through in an effort to build a stronger, more robust company.

As most of you would imagine, anxiety and fear are now the new normal for employees. This is a natural result of the uncertainty of their future, the constant unpredictability of this sprouting situation and the changes to work as they have always understood it. However, based on what your plans are, you have an opportunity to redirect this negative energy towards employee self-development and to create what would be the start of a “Learning Organization”. A Learning Organization is one in which the culture is centred on a dedicated effort in encouraging employees and the organization at large to continue learning on an ongoing basis, thereby building and increasing levels of employee engagement and motivation. Employees are not only encouraged to focus on improving skills in their current positions, but to constantly find ways to enrich their own internal mental landscape. This helps the organization to find innovative solutions in addressing issues and problems, consequently reducing the time and money spent on hiring someone else to address issues. This can be a huge employee booster for organizations because it personally serves the employee and enhances the value and effectiveness of the human capital in your company. In addition, a culture focused on ongoing learning challenges employees to think outside the box, to constantly seek ways that will improve the company’s purpose and allows ongoing change to be a concept that will be readily accepted.

Some of the advantages of a Learning Organization are as follows:

  • Employees become more open to change.
  • Employees feel empowered to learn and research new methods to increase work effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Increases levels of profits as a result of improved efficiency and returns on investment.
  • Increases knowledge, capacity and skill of the company’s human resource capital
  • Increases innovation.
  • Speeds up problem solving.
  • Builds and enables your succession planning: specifically, your reserve for managers and leaders.

Three Tips in establishing a Learning Culture are:

  • Conduct an assessment of your current situation as it relates to your organization’s culture on learning and assess your team’s level of skills and abilities.
  • Align a learning strategy that is connected to your vision and is focused on the company’s attitude towards learning.

Outline a clear communication plan that speaks to the importance of ongoing learning and encourage team members to participate. However, since this will take some time to carve out, employers can immediately start to plant and nurture this seed while employees are still home or at work but haven’t started working at full capacity. This will be a productive use of your time to work on strategizing and to be ready for implementation when your employees return. In the interim, you can send reminders at least twice weekly encouraging team members to find ways to be the best version of themselves whilst at home. You can even encourage them to suggest ideas on how to jumpstart a new revival or energy within their department/company. Do not wait. Great planning for a better tomorrow starts in times of change and crisis. This gives you a strong advantage over your competitors when it is time to compete.

— V.K. Eugene CHRC (Certified HR Consultant)

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