By Satya Sharma (Co-founder & CHRO, TO THE NEW)

COVID-19 forced organizations to find new ways to sustain and grow. The effort was almost overnight and perhaps a tall order for many. However, despite initial hiccups, many leaders acknowledge that this new modus operandi gave them a view into the evolution of future workplaces.

Technology changes the job markets by bringing in powerful opportunities. These opportunities create skill gaps and thus encourage people to learn new skills. About 40% of employees’ core skills are projected to change in the next five years and 94% of the business leaders expect employees to learn new skills on the job, a major upshift in the last 3 years. 

Companies need a new-age learning and development strategy to address the skill gap that nurtures critical digital and cognitive capabilities, social and emotional skills, adaptability, and resilience. Below are the four strategic steps  business leaders can consider to build a future-ready workforce.

Identify relevant future skills

While charting out recovery and growth strategies for their firms, business leaders should also identify skill sets that offer maximum value creation for their business. These skill sets can then be aligned with the existing workforce to identify the shortfall in demand and supply of skilled resources and the number of people required under each functional area and skill. 

Start quickly, test rapidly, and change optimally

Instead of a sporadic and need-based approach, reskilling and upskilling should be seen strategically. Reskilling will save the cost of hiring and retaining employees who are efficient and loyal to the company by giving them new roles which will break the monotony for the employee. With upskilling as an approach, the organization can enable the employees to add value and enhance the existing skill set. 

Think like a startup to make a big difference

Startups do not hesitate to adopt new technologies in their organization, coming from a mindset of constantly pushing the limits, being willing to take risks, and trying something new. They offer a collaborative environment and emphasize upskilling. On the other hand, the more prominent companies offer what is needed to grow initially without incorporating any continuous learning. Large companies should embrace their teams' knowledge gaps.

It is not an expense, but an investment

Leaders should lead their organizations with the conviction that skill-building is a critical lever to survive and thrive in the new normal. They should see the ongoing wave of digital transformation as an opportunity to strengthen the learning ecosystem. They do not need to start from scratch and can do so by leveraging existing learning solutions offered by 3rd party technology providers.


History tells us that businesses that envision the future before others and respond quickly to external changes have a competitive advantage. Therefore, business leaders must pursue a broad reskilling agenda that nurtures the future-ready workforce to take advantage of these changes. 

Read the full article here.