As we deal with the continued fallout of COVID-19, companies are being tested on their agility – their ability to launch new products, services and solutions to ensure the business continues as close to normal as possible. I believe that this, coupled with our society’s further digitization, will cause our industry’s competitive nature to intensify in 2021 – not just from a technology perspective, but from a talent acquisition and workforce perspective as well.
A change in the COVID-19 discussion
In 2021, conversations around COVID-19’s disruption will shift away from what businesses are doing to weather the pandemic’s storm, to how successful organizations have evolved – and where organizations failed to embrace change. The tools, skillsets and processes of yesterday will not produce the necessary results for this new landscape. Only the agile will survive, while organizations that fail to handle shifts in the business landscape will face extinction.
To increase agility, many enterprises have implemented methodologies like DevOps, technologies like microservices, and journeys to cloud in 2020. For our industry, the value of these investments have grown significantly, moving from a “nice to have” to a must. However, as leaders look to ensure organization-wide agility, we’ll see a new focal point emerge in restructuring and reskilling the workforce to empower an ongoing culture of change. Yet, for this to become a reality, leaders must appreciate that today’s global workforce holds an even deeper desire to diversify their own skill sets – thanks to the uncertainty in the current job market.
Cultivating a new kind of workplace
Going forward, management will need to embrace more significant roles – as enablers and supporters of their employees – providing upskilling programs for self-learning, mentorship, personal development and fostering a culture of continuous learning. Furthermore, to improve sensing capabilities for new opportunities arising from COVID-19, leaders will need to cultivate a culture of creativity across the entire organization, building up robust centralized innovation generators to promote creative ideation. Good examples include hackathons, science fairs and “shark tank” style voting competitions that can generate innovation out of the creativity within.
Beyond an innovative mindset, we can’t overlook the fact that many are working via remote right now, with some struggling to juggle work, personal lives and mental health. For this reason, enabling new work models offering better flexibility will be important, like set times during the week when everyone can take personal time or planning (virtual) physical activities together. Soft skills like empathy, adaptability and work ethic, will also be critical as more work independently or at different paces than others.
A commitment to new and existing talent
At Amdocs, our commitment to talent is to provide challenges that ensure they can grow professionally, and back them up with a wide range of quality learning programs and diverse professional experience. In 2020, we reskilled our teams in new technologies like microservices, and 70 percent of our team are veterans who upskilled from other parts of the business. We also reskilled more than 7,000 employees in DevOps technology.
Leading into 2021, we recently kicked off a new upskilling program for employees covering areas like cloud training, next-generation digital experience and machine learning. Rotational assignments are also critical, and we’re offering a marketplace of projects to choose from so employees get hands-on experience, build their skills and become familiar with where they can grow.
I believe constant change creates ample opportunities for the workforce to evolve for whatever the future holds. Ensuring your employees embrace this change through an environment of continuous growth will be more critical than ever in 2021. When agility is a focus, there’s vast potential to make the entire organization stronger, more resilient and innovative.