As remote-working compelled the transition to tech-driven ways of working, organizations came to rely heavily on technological tools to navigate the past year. A major change was career development and learning going virtual, with online tools for PMS, virtual coaching and mentoring, virtual upskilling and reskilling.
“In the new normal, agility is going to be the buzzword, for businesses as well as for the employees. One key takeaway from this situation is that anything is possible, and businesses need to be prepared for any change that may sneak in. The employees cannot rely upon their existing skill set, they need to upskill or re-skill themselves, as the situation demands,” said Shailesh Singla – Senior Director & Country Head, HCM, Oracle India
Career development has always been a talent management priority, but traditionally it relied on competency frameworks, static job descriptions, and linear-hierarchical career paths. Today’s fluid organization and dynamic work demands a career development outlook which is real-time, scientific, and employee-centric. Career development is no longer relegated to promotions.
A performance culture
Today, career development and learning go hand-in-hand, with technology as an essential partner in making career progression opportunities available, accessible and relevant for people. Moreover, the right career development construct can help cultivate a great employee experience, thereby helping engage and retain top talent.
Speaking about the changing culture of performance measurement, Anand Shankar, a Partner with Deloitte’s HR Transformation practice said, “Gone are the days of annual and midyear reviews. At Deloitte, the firm has moved onto a continuous performance management process and a coaching culture. The critical enabling component to implement this successfully is a strong technology tool to capture ongoing feedback, administering pulse surveys (pre scheduled or on demand), ability to raise snapshots. With a diverse and distributed workforce, which is constantly on the move, making sure that all of this can be enabled on the mobile is absolutely critical for us. In the spirit of transparency, the aggregated performance snapshot scores and feedback for practitioners is all available at a button click for the practitioners themselves.”
This is only possible when organizations leverage the power of emerging technologies, such as cloud, artificial intelligence, and big data. Here’s how cloud-driven career development is helping organizations:
• Data-driven decision-making: Harnessing the power of data while upholding the ethics of AI and analytics is where the future of workforce management lies. According to a Mercer study3, 2021 will see data-gathering with a view to better employee wellness and strategize skilling and workforce planning. A real-time data-view in the cloud can help build insights into what work is being done and how people are doing it, allowing L&D-OD and HR to craft new adaptable ways of working that bring out the hidden worker potential.
• Collaboration to enhance team performance: Cloud-based collaboration tools enhance team performance and connection, both human-networking as well as with AI tools. The future lies in the concept of super teams i.e. technologies integrated with humans on teams. Cloud-led collaboration can help people perform at greater speed and scale by facilitating dynamic cross-organizational networks and proactively sensing the shifting skill-needs.
• Choice for career decisions: Talent marketplaces are platforms that make visible and communicate to workers, defined opportunities for professional development, training, mentorship, project participation, networking, promotion, and diversity & inclusion1. Such career-tools provide workers with multiple choice – by helping them match their interests, passions, and capabilities against current and future business demands. Two-way skill transparency3 can become a reality with cloud-based career tools.
• Reward for potential: Workforce potential is not about what workers were recruited to do, or what they are certified to do, or even what organizations or leaders want them to do next. It’s about giving workers more freedom to choose how they can best tackle critical business problems as organizations and ecosystems evolve. Potential will be the basis for career planning going ahead, to enable a future-ready workforce.
• Enabling mobility for career progression: With the blurring of geographic boundaries, employee mobility has emerged as an attractive career move as well as a business-enabler. 41% of executives said that building workforce capability through upskilling, reskilling, and mobility is one of the most important actions they are taking to transform work, yet only 17% say their workers are very ready to adapt, reskill, and assume new roles. Cloud career tools can help overcome this challenge through talent marketplaces.
• Build on future-focused skills: Enterprise-agility has emerged as a strength for organizations which have been successful in minimizing work disruption1. Cloud enables the values of openness, transparency, agility, accountability, and ownership. The millennial workforce of today immensely values these tenets, making it a must-have in the employee value proposition. It is important to instil these values in the career development construct, to break through organizational silos and foster innovation. Cloud technologies can mirror and foster the new-age skillsets, with its very ethos. 68% of HR leaders cited building critical skills and competencies for the organization, as priority. Yet, 31% of these respondents still feel that they can’t create skill development solutions fast enough to meet evolving skill needs. 2
As organizations move to a multi-locational, multifaceted hybrid workforce with 48% of employees continuing to work remotely at least some of the time2, leveraging the cloud can ensure that the employee experience evolves to keep up with changing employee expectations.
Cloud technologies enable and empower employees. And they have drastically changed the nature of work. The fact is that disruption is ongoing, and the future of HR lies in strategically reimagining and re-architecting work itself, to create a future-ready organization and its people.
“Cognitive technologies and Artificial Intelligence will boost the entire process of career management, planning and development both from employers and employee perspective. Cognitive technologies can help in identifying and filtering applicable skills for various roles within the organization, and artificial intelligence can support employees skills to various job roles. This then will need to correlate with the respective training programs for career development. With Millenials and Zillenials proportions increasing in the workforce, who want to own and define their own careers, organizations will need to make career options available on the fingertips of their workforce,” Anand said.
“According to a survey done by, McKinsey points out that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies by several years. 85% of respondents said their businesses have somewhat or greatly accelerated the implementation of technologies that digitally enable employee interaction and collaboration. The adoption of automation technologies has also accelerated during the pandemic.
These trends reflect automation’s ability to facilitate contactless interactions at a time of social distancing and heightened awareness of hygiene, as well as cost pressures that may arise from the economic slowdown. Adoption of automation and AI has expanded the most among firms that had a greater shift to remote work since the outbreak. Among executives of companies, 80% said they had increased automation, while only 51% of executives from companies that adopted remote work for just a few employees said automation had grown. Some 35% of survey respondents said they would need more workers skilled in automation, AI, and robotics, a reflection of the increased deployment of automation during COVID-19,” said Singla
L&D-OD must design and deploy cloud interventions that are intuitive, user-friendly and dynamic. But mere adoption is not the answer; leaders, managers and employees must embrace an enterprise mindset. Technological tools can help an organization and its people thrive only if its designed to capitalize on unique human strengths.
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