Prithvi Shergill, CHRO at HCL Technologies urges businesses to adopt a proactive approach when it comes to embracing innovation.

The job market is in a constant state of flux across the globe as the demand and supply for skills reflects volatility showing trends with significant peaks and troughs. Future technologies are influencing the business landscape to continually change in response to the uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity we are experiencing. This dynamic context acts as a catalyst for strategies to evolve and organizations to embrace new processes and products. Offering an out-dated portfolio of services is an ever-looming threat to sustained growth for companies around the world.

Keeping up with the pace of change determines which companies will prosper and which will fall by the way side. The question of how do businesses keep up, is one that every management team must tackle head-on if they wish to progress.

Technological innovation determining the skills needed in a job market is not a new phenomenon. However, the speed of technological change has never been so fast or unrelenting in creating roles that did not exist a few years ago. For example, the trends in Big Data is creating demand for Data Scientists, and in SMAC (social, mobile, analytics or cloud) is accelerating the need for experts in data storage and workplace tools that enable collaboration, flexibility in the workplace and smart, data-driven decision-making.

Specialising in one skill though is no longer sustainable. Employees need to embrace the ability to integrate multiple skills. Jobs that existed ten years ago have become extinct due to changes in work processes and tools. Equally, new professions are emerging all the time in line with new technologies, such as Digital Stewards and Hacker-in-Chiefs at HCL Technologies. Individuals must take responsibility for anticipating these changes and make efforts to re-skill proactively. This is reflected in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends survey this year, 85 per cent of respondents cited learning as “important” or “very important” which is up 21 per cent on last year.

Businesses are embracing new capabilities at different speeds though an industry-wide digital makeover is definitely visible. New initiatives such as web portals for managing benefits or in-house social media platforms designed for idea sharing and career advancement are an example of digitalization of processes that is increasing speed, agility and facilitating customization.

Similarly, the Internet of Things is also potentially transforming the workplace. In fact, the wealth of new connected devices available for personal interactions is reinventing the same people operate at work. The impact and reach of this technological advancement is potentially akin to an industrial revolution. According to a survey by Accenture, 87% of 1,400 business leaders think that the industrial Internet of Everything will be a net creator of jobs.

How do organizations and individuals stay ‘future ready’ is the million-dollar question. By creating a culture of innovation, companies can instill an entrepreneurial spirit in their employees that creates value for clients and the industry. Tactics that could be deployed to ensure businesses stay on this right path need to be reflected in the people practices related to learning, performance, career rewards and talent management. This combines to create an environment that delivers a distinctive experience that multiplies employability. People must be provided access, availability and ability to use technology to translate ideas, learn new skills and experiment to find new ways of working. If we’re empowered to learn, grow and share ideas amongst ourselves, our teams and businesses will reap the benefits.

Employees mustn’t just rely on their employers to lead the charge when it comes to innovation and development. They must take responsibility for building the mastery and ensure they do leading-edge work in line with industry trends. Any job will evolve in line with technology and as such, they must see how they can adopt and enrich roles to grow new skills. Employees must leverage technology to seek regular feedback and advice from those around them, as well as use resources to accelerate learning. If individuals proactively re-invest in their skills, as well as embrace the technology that is driving the global marketplace, they’ll remain valuable to any business.

With business being shaped by technology, as we see in the office where with the reliance we have on computers and automation many businesses will not be able to function in the future if they don’t invest in new technology platforms. The same is true for employees, as a business is only as good as the sum of its parts and so it relies on its employees to cross, up and re-skill.

A culture of proactive continuous reinvestment in learning beyond formal education will help organizations and individuals to keep up with the speed of change. 

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