Building a resilient workforce

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Building a resilient workforce

Blog Post

Written by John Berry on 18th December 2019. Revised 23rd December 2019.

2 min read

Ox bow resilience wolf-schram-ZFxXlaAxEaE-unsplashThe future is uncertain. And hence so too are the skills needed by our managers and employees in order to have our firms survive, if not thrive.

Human capability – the marrying of skills and knowledge with the technology that the worker uses – will expand, fuelled by AI and automation. For their future wellbeing, the worker must be an exploiter of technology, not someone who is replaced by it. This demands huge growth in both task and contextual skills – coming from both formal and non-formal learning. It won’t be enough to know how to do. Workers must be inquisitive, and lead their own learning in order to drive their performance.

But, so much for the linear. What happens when, almost inevitably, things don’t work out for the firm and its managers and employees? Uncertainty means unexpected change.

Resilience – to have a resilient workforce – is a watchword here.

Resilience demands that managers and employees will be committed to continuous personal learning. Resilience comes from an understanding that new skills can be learned, abeit necessarily from a strong base of foundation skills and knowledge. Resilience comes from experience in both work and non-work settings, from formal and non-formal education. Resilience suggests that an exclamation of, “I can’t do it”, is purely temporary.

Resilience has three elements: the ability to manage yourself and your learning, the ability to communicate and collaborate with others and the ability to successfully craft one’s own environment. As skills that are difficult to automate, those might be termed ‘skills for life’.

So, to action!

Formal education is not keeping up with the skills demands of the economy. Government and educators will contribute, but their focus will be the young. And in any case, resilience needs both skills and meta-skills – realising task and contextual competencies.

So, managers, no-one is going to do it for you.

Right now, every employee must become resilient and invest in themselves. And every manager must invest in their employees. With a partnership of managers and employees, firms can achieve resilience. 

The time to start is now. 

Call us to start your planning for the challenges ahead.