Learning at Work Week: Continuously reskilling and upskilling throughout your career is the key to success urges career and HR expert

Two colleagues drawing business graphs together on glass wall and discussing it during workday at office

“As the world changes, individuals at all levels must embrace the reality that the skills and competencies that brought them success in the past may not suffice in the future” – Asad Husain. 

With technological advancements, shifting political and economic terrains, and evolving societal norms, the world of work as we know it is changing, which is why we also need to change with it. This Learning at Work Week Career and HR expert Asad Husain emphasises the importance of reskilling and upskilling throughout one’s career to remain relevant and involved at work. 

Learning at Work Week takes place 13th-19th May 2024 and its purpose is to spotlight the importance and benefits of continual learning and development. The theme for 2024 is “Learning power” which explores how lifelong and continual learning can give people the power to change, grow and achieve their individual, team and organisational goals. 

Asad Husain, author of “Careers Unleashed” and a four-time Chief HR officer, with over 30 years of experience working for blue chip companies such as Procter & Gamble and Dun & Bradstreet understands the importance of continual learning and development, and how it can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful career. 

“Continually enhancing your skills and knowledge as a key component of both personal and professional development. This includes keeping up with industry trends, unlearning skills no longer required and upskilling in emerging areas. This ensures you can clearly articulate your value to an organisation and increase your ability to drive change”.

Drawing on his extensive experience, Asad has identified four key elements individuals need to embrace to continuously learn and develop throughout their career:

1. Embracing transformation

The dawn of automation, artificial intelligence, and digital transformation necessitates a fundamental reevaluation of one’s skills and competencies. Those who are stuck to outdated tools and methodologies risk being left behind in an era characterised by agility and adaptability. We must embrace a continuous transformation approach in the face of constant disruptions. 

Embracing a growth mindset and actively seeking out opportunities for professional development is an essential part of adapting to these changes. Whether mastering new technologies, staying abreast of industry trends, or acquiring advanced certifications, the journey of upskilling is a lifelong commitment that will separate dedicated workers from the rest.

2. Unlearning

Unlearning is an important step to increasing our capacity to learn new things. Despite how dynamic today’s work environment is, many seasoned individuals are still entrenched in strategies and approaches that used to bring success. Reliance on familiar tactics can offer security, but it also risks stagnation in a landscape that is constantly changing and innovating. Failure to adapt can lead to missed opportunities and waning relevance. Therefore, unlearning – the discarding of obsolete knowledge, practices, and assumptions – is essential for individual and organisational success.

Unlearning challenges traditional notions of learning, which focuses on acquiring new knowledge or skills and a mindset of openness, curiosity, and continuous growth. Instead, unlearning involves consciously discarding outdated beliefs, behaviours, and perspectives to make room for new insights and approaches. 

This is a crucial foundation for effective upskilling and reskilling. Unlearning empowers you to challenge the status quo and ensures you’re ready to navigate future challenges and opportunities with confidence and resilience.

3. Where should you upskill?

It is essential to upskill in areas where individuals already have some proficiency but need to enhance their capabilities further to keep up with evolving trends and technologies. In today’s context, technology is advancing rapidly, therefore upskilling areas might include digital literacy, a skill everyone must continually enhance if they wish to be able to understand and leverage emerging tools and platforms effectively.

Data analytics is also an important area to upskill in as this is becoming increasingly critical for decision-making. Upskilling in data analytics would allow leaders to derive actionable insights and drive informed strategies.

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Thanks to technology today’s world is interconnected, and cross-functional collaboration is almost unavoidable. Most people collaborate across diverse teams and disciplines, therefore upskilling in areas like cross-cultural communication, team dynamics, and conflict resolution will be extremely beneficial. Enhancing collaboration and driving better outcomes.

Finally, developing soft skills such as emotional intelligence is also important, focusing on aspects such as self-awareness, empathy, and relationship management. Individuals should upskill in emotional intelligence to build trust, encourage others, and navigate complex interpersonal dynamics.

4. Reskilling

Reskilling involves acquiring entirely new skills or competencies to adapt to changing roles or industry demands. In today’s fast-paced environment, individuals may need to re-skill in areas such as digital transformation. This may involve learning about emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, or blockchain, and understanding their implications for your role, your business and operations. 

In an increasingly diverse and multicultural world, individuals should also re-skill in inclusivity to enable environments where all employees feel respected, valued, and empowered to contribute their best work.

Finallyas environmental and social issues continue to gain prominence, individuals must re-skill in corporate social responsibility and sustainability practices to influence positive social impact and long-term sustainability within their company. A skill essential to ensuring a business’ future. 

“Overall the imperative for individuals to unlearn, re-skill and upskill goes way beyond individual professional development. This is a strategic imperative for organisational resilience and competitive advantage. By embracing transformation, unlearning outdated practices, upskilling existing skills,  and reskilling to acquire new skills, individuals can position themselves and their organisations for sustained success in an era of change. Practices that should be embraced both inside and outside of Learning at Work Week”. 

About Asad Husain

Asad Husain is a four-time Chief HR Officer and future-focused HR leader who is passionate about inspiring and influencing people worldwide to achieve their career aspirations. He has lived and worked in the USA, UK, UAE, Russia and Pakistan during his career, and has held global HR responsibilities at times, contributing to both organisational growth and the individual success of his companies’ employees. His varied experience, guidance from many good leaders, and his continuous desire to learn and grow have enabled him to learn the art of building a successful career.

Holding over thirty-one years of experience, working for companies such as Gillette Company, Procter & Gamble, Dun & Bradstreet, and Del Monte, Asad is keen to share his global learnings to inspire success and help others reach their full career potential. 

Asad’s new book Careers Unleashed is the answer for those who feel like they are sleepwalking through their careers, who are feeling purposeless and unmotivated in what they do. Throughout, Asad guides readers into not only finding success at work but also fulfilment, exploring how people can better understand themselves so that they can align their goals and passions to find their north star and unlock purpose in their career. You can find the press release here.

As Learning at Work Week ends, we celebrate the insights and skills gained. Let’s continue fostering a culture of growth and innovation, applying what we’ve learned to drive our collective success.

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