Navigating the career 'jungle gym' in the Next Normal

SINGAPORE: Top human capital managers from Singapore believe that capacity building should be a top priority in order for businesses to successfully navigate the post-Covid era of the “Next Normal.”

Head of LinkedIn Asia Frank Koo was one of the management thought leaders involved in a panel discussion at the recently held Singapore Management Festival. He said for businesses to evolve in today’s highly "VUCAH (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous and hyper-connected)" world, progressive career movement is no longer a vertical climb but a lateral trek requiring interdisciplinary skills.

“In the past, all of us believed that we all need to climb the career ladder: be rank and file, then a manager, then as high up as you can manage in the organizational chart," he said. "But times are different, (and) the environment changes quickly. What happens if your boss gets fired? What if your entire department is dissolved in a restructuring decision?”

He added that the modern worker should be mindful of where they are in their career but also how to get to the next, often convoluted, level. “The career ladder has evolved into a jungle gym," Koo noted.

"You need to know where the trees with the low hanging fruits are located. You need to build capacity and exercise the right muscles to climb and swing to other trees with better fruits. Even if you have only 70% of the required skills, you should be optimistic enough to know that you can acquire the rest of the skills in your learning journey.”

Alvin Aloysius Goh, Executive Director of the Singapore HR Institute, noted that consumer behaviour moved at the speed of digital transition. “Knowledge workers from brick and mortar companies need to reassess if they have the skill sets required to survive this fast pace.”

These comments were echoed by Sharon Teo, Head of Corporate Services with MSIG Insurance. “ It was a major issue during our transition when we had to deal with managers who were uncomfortable with not being able to physically supervise their staff, let alone trust a new digitized workflow," she told the event. "The buy in for virtual learning was slow but we persistent by boosting Learning and Development and by offering bite-size trainings."

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