training & development
LEADING EMPLOYEES OUTSIDE THEIR COMFORT ZONE
TO MEET EVOLVING ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS
By Alison Grenier
One of the key functions of human resources is to ensure individual employees are matched with job
roles that complement their skills, thereby maximizing personal productivity for employees and the
Occasionally, however, an employee’s chosen career path and job role expectations may be at odds
with what’s best for the organization. What if an employee doesn’t like the role they are being asked to fill?
What if it is outside their comfort zone? What if it requires them to learn a skill that they don’t already possess?
How do HR practitioners lead, rather than push, employees outside their comfort zone to meet ever-changing
With the traditionally cautious and non-confrontational nature of the HR field, this conflict can cause some
discomfort on both sides. The role of HR is to support employees and help them reach their potential. But we
live in a world where we’re constantly forced to adapt to new realities, and this includes continually evaluating,
refining and redirecting “human resources” to maintain our competitive business advantage.
INVEST IN TRAINING
By investing in training, leveraging tech skills and maintaining focus on the essential soft skills of the future,
organizations can create an environment where employees are supported to grow their skill sets as business
Following the global financial crisis, German logistics giant DHL undertook a massive training program to
re-engage its people and refocus them on the company’s customer service to maintain their competitive edge.
After only three years, all 100,000 employees underwent a series of coursework, covering fundamentals of
international shipping, company history and values and role-specific training, which remains part of new team
members’ onboarding today. By investing in employee development on such a large scale, DHL sent a message
that they will support employees in keeping their skills current to meet the evolving needs of the organization.
LEVERAGE TECH SKILLS
According to Techvibes, Millennials are more likely than their older counterparts to have skill sets that are
aligned with tech jobs, including social media and knowledge of software applications. This poses a significant
flight risk to the organization; in fact, nine per cent of Millennial ‘job switchers’ have already made the move
from their chosen career path to technology related fields. So, what does this mean for employers? Give your
younger employees plenty of on-the-job opportunities to increase their technological literacy, which will not
only develop their tech skills, but increase the technical aptitude across the organization.
…BUT DON’T FORGET HUMAN SKILLS
While a technical skill set is increasingly important in the workplace, according to the World Economic
Forum, the top 10 skills that will be needed in the workforce of the future are non-technical, such as critical
thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility. These are skills that can be learned and
practiced by all employees, regardless of age, tenure or job role. By creating a workplace that expects and supports
employees to exhibit these competencies, organizations will enjoy increased flexibility, greater agility
and be better poised to meet the demands of the future. n
Alison Grenier is Head of Culture and Research at Great Place to Work Canada.
blueximages / 123RF Stock Photo
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ JULY 2018 ❚ 35