Veni, Vidi, Vici.
It is what the human race will be uttering once the curtain closes on the Covid-19 pandemic.
But until then, the harassment caused by the novel coronavirus is all we’ll be talking about.
Can we ignore it? No! It’s a global catastrophe that has affected everything under the sun. And will continue to do so until a cure is found.
Can we lighten the mood and possibly look at the bright side of the current predicament we find ourselves in?
There are definitely many positives stemming from the pandemic: we now take hygiene seriously, families are spending quality time indoors, air pollution is at an all-time low, nature and wildlife are reclaiming lost territory, people are exercising, the health of rivers Ganga and Yamuna have vastly improved (water from the former is even fit for consumption), and the ‘Where’s Wally (Waldo)’ puzzle hardly takes a jiff to solve.
On that (positive) note, the pandemic has done a lot to boost the skills and productivity of many workers. Many companies around the world have futureproofed their employees by upskilling them.
Employer Initiatives To Upskill Employees
The unprecedented change brought about by the turbulent nature of Covid-19 has both employers turning more to resources to upskill employees, limit business disruptions, and become future-ready.
Learning has, and always will be at the core of any organizational growth and development. Today’s employees who are all about career growth also see investment from the employers towards their growth and development as critical. In fact, most job seekers carefully investigate the career growth and personal development plans of any company before deciding to join up.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of how some of the employers who have gone about the Covid-19 induced upskilling venture for the employees.
Open Sesame has provided free content on remote working, social distancing, mental wellness, coronavirus infection control, illness prevention, and courses on important functions like sales, safety, service etc., which can be used by employers to help employees upskill themselves and stay productive and safe on furlough.
The Naspers learning platform, MyAcademy allows all employees across OLX Group access to over 7000+ functional, behavioural & leadership training courses. With it, employees can upskill themselves in their areas of interests, aspirations & development.
The global solutions provider to the biotech and life sciences industry, Indegene have launched Indegene Academy to facilitate digital upskilling in the highly regulated pharma industry. The courses address immediate needs and the AI foundations for medical affairs and drug discovery.
What is the Role of E-learning?
Online learning, e-learning, edTech — call it what you want — has been instrumental in equipping employers and employees with methods. Even before Covid-19 made an entrance, global edTech investments in 2019 alone stood at USD 18.66 billion. This global edTech market is projected to exponentially grow and attain a value of USD 350 Billion by 2025.
With Covid-19 though, the demand has surged in 2020. And online learning platforms are offering free access to their services. In fact, employers and online learning platforms are coming together to ensure that learning is not hampered in any manner.
Learning & Development teams in IT firms feel the need for content curation. Almost all IT firms have tie-ups with learning content providers like PluralSight, UDemy and Coursera. In an article published in 2018, Ishan Gupta, MD of Udacity revealed that the enterprise business with firms like Wipro, Mindtree, and Infosys had actually doubled in the past year.
Udacity, another e-learning platform, is hosting a virtual conference on how AI can help understand Covid-19 and how it can help prevent and predict future pandemics.
The flexibility and variety provided by e-learning cannot be beaten. And this trend is set to continue even after the pandemic dies down.
How Has Remote Working Improved Employee Soft Skills?
Covid-19 hasn’t been easy at all for employers and employees. The gloom of isolation and the waiting game has frustrated everyone at some level. That said, remote employees are increasingly brushing up on their soft skills.
No matter how qualified an employee is, no matter the technical know-how, without soft skills technical knowledge and qualification fall flat. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2020 soft skills which cover a wide variety of skills such as critical thinking, conflict resolution, leadership, communication, delegation, time management, empathy, people skills amongst others will be the most sought-after skills by any company.
These skills do not only have an impact on professional spheres but personal as well. That said, how has Covid-19 and remote working helped employees improve their soft skills? Let’s take a look.
Work Ethic Hasn’t Degraded: In a remote working scenario, there is neither a manager nor boss to oversee work being done. Sure there are communication barriers, but that hasn’t resulted in an employee putting off projects or missing deadlines. The same amount of in-office work is being done if not more, deadlines are being met, and employees are even wrapping up work in advance.
Employees are Onboard: Covid-19 hasn’t stopped people from going on the web and staying in the loop. Now more than ever, employees know what’s trending and have a keen sense of the issues and competitors. With e-learning, they’re even connecting to virtual conferences and listening to podcasts.
Curiosity is at an all-time high: The agenda now is Covid-19 and employees know that. They’re closely monitoring how their company/industry is being affected, how others are handling it, and how they can contribute or find solutions to bounce back.
Communication is improving: Communication is key at a time like this. Employees know this and are implementing ways to overcome their personal barriers. They’ve improved on their methods to communicate with co-workers, managers, and senior leadership.
There is variety: Much of this has to do with creativity. Employees are flexing their creative muscles and making remote work really interesting. Some are sharing stories about how they’re coping amidst Covid-19 with their peers whereas others are leveraging zoom and hangouts for other employee engagement activities.
Time is being managed effectively: There’s flexibility in remote work for sure. However, this flexibility can is not immune to distractions. Employees have found a way around this. They’re sticking to schedules, and to-do lists to better manage their time and work even with all the distractions right in front of them.
Problem-solving finds a new home: Every organization exists to provide solutions. And the problem-solving skills of an employee are what determines the efficacy of these solutions. Remote employees are collaborating with other departments, minimizing personal and project conflicts with the least amount of escalations to solve problems and identify solutions.
Covid-19 has been a revelation for many companies. Sure it has not been business as usual, but it has provided employers and employees the opportunity to tread waters and explore ideas that they thought would never be possible. Many have gone back to their drawing boards to implement new policies to overcome catastrophes that may occur in the future. They’re working on the new work culture and strengthening the employer-employee relationship.