Thriving In The Age Of Hybrid Work: Build Career Resilience With Skills

By Catherine Lian, Managing Director of IBM Malaysia,

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the significance of data, AI, cloud, other digital technologies and accelerated the future of work. As a result, we need to build new ways of working, new skills, and new ways of doing things. One key term at the heart of this accelerated pace of change is hybrid, both at the organisational and individual level.

Hybrid workplaces – The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study revealed that 59% of executives surveyed said they are looking ahead to planning safe, flexible return-to-work strategies and hybrid work environments that will likely remain after the pandemic. As employees seek to balance working remotely with being in the workplace, flexibility will become the new norm, along with an increased focus on employee experience and productivity.

IBM worked closely with technology partners; Cisco and Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, provide every organisation with an integrated solution to support short and long-term return-to-work goals with IBM TRIRIGA. The IBM TRIRIGA supports organisations returning to work with AI-driven space planning, indoor way finding and a digital assistant to enable flexible workplaces. With the essential component of IBM Watson Works, TRIRIGA can be deployed on-premises or in a hybrid cloud environment for safer, more productive, and efficient space allocation.

Hybrid talent – The digital era needs a flexible culture that fosters the development of critical new skills. Hybrid talent is the future of the workforce. Beyond workers who have STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills and empathetic creativity, hybrid talent will be a seamless mix of employees, machines and the gig economy, providing the scale and flexibility to meet workforce needs. Depending on the nature of the work and over time, the mix of hybrid talent — the ratio of employees, bots and gig workers — will evolve.

Arguably, one of the greatest threats facing organisations today is the technology talent shortage. Malaysia is facing challenges in building its digital workforce, as reflected in the fast-growing demand for digital talent despite a comparative shortfall in supply.

Accordingly, at IBM Malaysia, we do our part to bridge the gap between talent fulfilment and workforce demands with P-TECH (The Pathways in Technology) programme by partnering with the Ministry of Education and MDEC.  P-TECH is designed to break the inequity cycle in education and address skills gaps in the labour force by linking education and workforce development.

P-TECH students in Malaysia will be supported to complete a five-year structured programme at high school and tertiary education. Successful students will be able to step easily into high growth, “new collar” jobs. These “new collar” jobs are positioned in some of the fastest-growing industries, where what matters most is having in-demand technical and professional workplace skills, adaptability, and recognised credentials.

Through a private-public partnership like P-TECH, we aim to connect vocational colleges with industry professionals so our local talent will be equipped with the right skills training in the areas of STEM.

Career resilience.  Complexity is the natural currency for an uncertain future. In order to future-proof ourselves, our team, and our organisation, we have to consider skills, tools, and experiences we can add to our existing profile.

What needs to be developed is career resilience. Career resilience is the ability to adjust to the career change, whatever the circumstances may be, and navigate all the ups and downs and twists and turns on your career path. In today’s world, career resilience is no longer just a “nice to have,” it’s core to professional competency.

According to the Harvard Business Review the two steps to creating career resilience are:

  1. Assess and benchmark skills:  This helps individuals understand the environments that let them shine, the interests that ignite them, and the skills that help them excel
  2. Build competitive skills: Being aware of the emerging job trends and their corresponding skills requirements provides the insights required to keep one’s resume current.

The switch from career dependence to career resilience is not only imperative but also inevitable. We must think of our potential as a set of flexible muscles that have to be trained with a wide range of exercises and activities, rather than a single strength. In an increasingly hybrid world, hybrid skills will be key, which can only be acquired through lifelong learning.


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