Covid-19 has changed the future of work drastically in the last two years. While flexibility and a hybrid work model have become the new normal, skill requirements, too, have undergone a significant change. There is a dearth of critical talent and a major skill gap plaguing the existing talent pool. This need for effective talent development programmes is seen across industries, including the healthcare sector, where employees have a larger role to play and can potentially influence health outcomes.
In today’s fast-changing pharmaceutical landscape, learning and development are core to the sustainability and growth of organisations, as they help employees stay ahead of new trends, and ensure they are equipped with right skill sets to meet new requirements.
In the healthcare setup, developing a workforce ready for the newly required skills plays an influential role in innovating the ways that we identify and address patients’ unmet needs and optimise the standard and quality of care for patients. In fact, part of AbbVie’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Framework is to foster the development of diverse talents to solve the most elaborate health challenges and make a remarkable impact on people’s lives.
Why investing in career growth is instrumental to the future of work
Statistics suggest that upskilling has helped over 80% of employees feel confident about their work and increased their work productivity and efficiency. As technological advancements transform the face of healthcare, upgrading skills to quickly adapt to the changes has become necessary.
Proper learning and development approaches and programmes help develop a competent workforce to handle the requirements of the new normal. Strategic skill transformation can benefit various roles in the healthcare industry from pharmacists, drug developers, R&D specialists, technicians, medical assistants, and other allied professionals, fostering collaboration and influencing outcomes.
Tailored learning and development programmes can also improve problem-solving, interpersonal, and analytical skills, enhancing team-wide efficiency. Integrating a culture of learning into the business can encourage employees to dedicate themselves to continuous improvement. As of 2021, we run more than 160 learning and development programs and educational resources to hone our employee capabilities across Asia, including coaching and mentoring programs, and short-term assignments for talents. Our award-winning programme, ‘Learn. Develop. Perform.’ (LDP) offers webinars, online tools, and mobile resources to help employees learn the necessary skills to be their best.
An emphasis on skill enhancement can also generate financial gains for companies. By enhancing employee competence, improved matching of people’s skills with the jobs created can be envisaged. The potential of ESG to support organisational efforts in building patient-centric measures has been widely acknowledged by patient groups. Hence, development programs can also engage employees to drive improvement and innovation of the ways of working, to advance the pipeline and bring treatment to address patients‘ unmet needs to life.
Mitigating the challenges around skills development
In spite of its benefits, new skill development needs wider adoption. As per a recent report published by PwC Asia-Pacific, 42% are worried their employer will not teach them the technical or digital skills they need. The skill gaps should be filled by developing learning and development strategies and tailored programs to accommodate the future requirements and changes. The fast-changing pharmaceutical environment and the changing nature of work leave some organisations behind as some move fast and lead the changes.
With the healthcare industry undergoing a significant technological rehaul, apart from digital fluency, human resources need to go beyond their traditional roles to adjust to the rising demands of the workplace and changing industry trends. At the same time, soft skills such as emotional intelligence, resilience and adaptability, collaboration, and communication that cannot be replicated by technology will continue to be developed.
Future-proofing the industry
Investing in people is a way to invest in future growth. As hybrid work becomes a norm, learning and development must be prioritised to bolster an agile and thriving workforce that have changing expectations of work culture. This can be done by leveraging research to identify gaps and minimize shortcomings. For instance, to meet the needs of a diverse workforce, AbbVie has dedicated teams that provide training on leadership development and function-specific skills and knowledge. Insights are gained from employees, business strategy, outside research, talent data and thought leaders to customize development programs. To enhance performance and collaboration in a hybrid working model, we recently introduced ‘Where We Work,’ an approach where office-based employees are given the flexibility to work virtually.
At AbbVie Asia, we have developed talent development plans and programs to help our employees learn, develop, and grow based on the growth mindset and realize our Asia vision, which focuses on advancing pipelines and talents for patients. By doing so, we empower them to create meaningful solutions for our patients. We also take a personalized approach to our employee development plans by filling the gaps based on our talents’ interests, aspirations and needs for growth. To ensure accountability, people development is one aspect in which our leaders are evaluated.
There is an imminent need to invest in a skilled workforce which is better prepared to handle the organizational and environmental changes in the future. Strategic skill enhancement can, thus, enable the organisations to stay abreast of changes, in order to provide effective patient solutions that make our healthcare systems robust and resilient.
Making a future-proof plan involves thinking beyond employee strength. It is pertinent that designing and developing learning and development programs be reviewed in a holistic manner considering the long-term needs of organisations and anticipated environmental changes and demand given the technological advancements driving a new normal in the ways we work. In all, creating a culture of continuous learning and development and a workplace that accommodates hybrid working can build a cohesive, adaptable, and positive employee experience.