Opinion

Employees need to acquire multidisciplinary skill-sets to survive

M Chandra Shekar | Updated on October 14, 2020 Published on October 14, 2020

To attain cost-efficiencies in these Covid times, organisations are looking at multi-talented human capital to perform multiple roles

Under the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, enterprises expect multiple outcomes from their limited human capital. To deliver numerous timely results, they should acquire multidisciplinary skill sets. Let us take the example of the teaching profession. In the pre-Covid situation, the teaching profession was known for “teaching” as a significant activity in majority institutions. Due to the current crises, many institutions are expecting several outcomes apart from “teaching”.

Now teachers working in higher educational institutions are trying to become “consultants”, “researchers”, “trainers”, “fund mobilisers”, and “marketers” to generate new sources of revenue along with a mandate of achieving national (NIRF) and international (QS-World) rankings. Also, they are playing a pivotal role in the digital transformation of teaching. The teacher has become a “virtual teacher” by learning different technologies in the last six months. The learning curve of the teaching community to obtain multiple skill sets in the previous six months was a big surprise and truly commendable across schools and higher educational institutions.

Now, let us observe the digital transformations in the field of management profession. The corporate expectations from management professionals working across functions are in peak demand. And due to Covid-19, companies are eager to recruit multi-talented human capital under tight budgets to attain cost-efficiencies. The digital transformations in the field of finance are occurring at a much faster pace than in the pre-Covid period. Now, finance and accounting professionals are upskilling in various technologies such as MS Excel, Power BI, SAP-ERP, SQL Database, Virtual Audits and Data Analytics software Python, etc. This upskilling will make them fit into the space of emerging fin-tech field.

Similarly, IT professionals are keen on learning finance and banking basics to provide fin-tech solutions in emerging areas like P2P lending, open banking, block-chain and financial research.

Role of HR

Next, the HR function which is known for managing human capital in an enterprise. Their primary role is to identify the right talent (selection and recruitment), provide the required training (learning and development), assess performance appraisals (feedback) to retain and promote best-performing talent in an enterprise. Further, they are involved in activities like job design, job analysis, job rotation, compensation pay, employee benefit schemes, promotions, grievance control, and conflict resolutions.

Moreover, they deal with human capital daily, so they need a thorough understanding of behavioural studies, psychology, business management, communication and, most importantly, technology now. Also, HR managers’ role is significant in setting up corporate culture.

Covid-19 made employees work from home, and managing them virtually will be a tedious task. So HR managers are acquiring new skill sets to conduct online written tests, virtual group discussions, virtual interviews, and verifying social behaviour on social networking websites. Of course, they are taking a massive risk while hiring, as they might not able to assess personal attributes such as character, attitudes and behaviour accurately on virtual platforms. Covid-19 further extended HR managers’ role as counselors to manage employee stress-related issues and burnouts.

Marketing function

Similarly, Covid-19 redefined the entire marketing function. In the pre-Covid phase, marketing function used to handle sales, advertising, branding, and market research. Due to this ongoing pandemic the sales manager’s job profile is entirely overhauled. The pandemic paused the personal selling. Advertising managers are redefining the strategies on digital mode such as pay per click (PPC) type of advertisements. Also, floating advertisements on OTT (over the top) channels such as Amazon Prime and Netflix can be noticed.

So the marketing function is transforming into digital marketing where technology is leading and directing this function. So the marketing managers need to learn the new-age digital marketing skills like web design, managing social media, Google AdWords, SEO (search engine optimisation), programming and content writing.

Covid-19 is transforming management functions in a faster manner with the help of new available technologies. IITs and universities in the country offer courses across disciplines like engineering, technology, sciences, and humanities and socialsSciences. It is the time to collaborate across disciplines and customise multidisciplinary courses to train human capital for the future needs of the business community.

At the same time, business schools in the country must tie up with technology companies/institutions to create tech-savvy managers.

Human capital must, therefore, acquire multidisciplinary skill-sets for survival in the ongoing crisis.

The writer is Assistant Professor, Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad

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Published on October 14, 2020
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