Upskilling and reskilling: Investing in employee development for the future - By Mufi Kajiji, CEO, Zurich International Life – Middle East

Thought leadershipArticleMay 7, 2024

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In the words of renowned futurist Alvin Toffler, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

So, what does this mean for our workplaces?

It’s certainly important for companies too. Whether we're talking about learning new tech skills or soft skills such as communication, teamwork and time management skills, getting everyone up to speed requires some real work and planning. Toffler's idea is highly relevant today as everything around us keeps changing. It's a reminder that being able to pick up new skills is crucial, in both our personal and professional lives.

As leaders, it's up to us to make sure our teams can handle these changes. With all the new technology, digital transformation and new ways of doing business, learning new things is part of the job.

Here are four practical strategies to help you:

  • Investing in employee development is a win-win. Learning at work is super important to help your team learn and grow. Think about it like planting a garden. When you water the plants (help your team learn), they grow. And when they grow, your garden (the workplace) flourishes. Investing in the development of our employees is a strategic imperative. By nurturing talent internally, we not only empower our workforce but also cultivate a culture of continuous improvement and loyalty. In today's dynamic landscape, where the only constant is change, investing in our people is an investment in our future.
  • Leaders must lead by example in learning initiatives. True leadership stems from leading by example. Leaders must not only champion learning initiatives but actively participate in them. If you're leading a team, be a learning leader, it's cool to show that you're learning too. When leaders demonstrate a commitment to their own development, they inspire a culture of growth and learning throughout the organization. By fostering an environment where learning is valued and encouraged, we equip our teams to navigate the complexities of the modern business world with confidence and resilience. It creates an environment across the entire workplace where everyone's growing and getting better together.
  • Simplifying processes benefits everyone. Both the company and the employee gain by keeping things smooth and simple. Simplifying processes not only benefits the company's bottom line but also enhances the overall customer experience and boosts employee morale. By streamlining operations and embracing innovative technologies, we can optimize resource allocation, reduce redundancies, and improve service quality. In doing so, we position ourselves as industry leaders committed to delivering exceptional value to our customers while empowering our employees to excel in their roles.
  • Regular assessments ensure skills remain relevant. Things change fast. One day you're using a flip phone, and the next, you're asking your smartphone to make dinner reservations. The pace of change in today's business landscape necessitates regular assessments to ensure the relevance and currency of our skill sets. By conducting regular skill assessments and staying abreast of industry trends, we can identify areas for improvement and invest in targeted training and development initiatives. By embracing a culture of lifelong learning and adaptation, we position ourselves and our organizations for long-term success and sustainability.

Let's embrace upskilling and reskilling as essential pillars of our organizational strategy. It's not just about staying current; it's about building a place where everyone's excited to see how they can grow. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to nurture talent, foster adaptability, and empower our workforce to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. When we all focus on learning and getting better, the possibilities for excellence are limitless. Together, we can build resilient organizations that are well-equipped to succeed in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

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