Why professional development means building resilience

Resilience training is set to become a key part of professional development, equipping advisers with the ability to learn new skills quickly and own their careers.

Research suggests the Australian workforce will need to upgrade their skills and capabilities over the next three years. According to Deloitte, this shift will be underpinned by both corporate and individual resilience in five key areas.

As well as giving financial services professionals the opportunity to reflect on their work-life balance, the COVID-19 crisis has forced many businesses and workers to reinvent themselves in order to survive.

These trends have many predicting that resilience training will become a key part of professional development, equipping employees with new skills to both manage the uncertain present and thrive in the future.

In its 2020 Global Human Capital Trends report, Deloitte Australia examined the top workforce trends and ways business leaders can better blend technology and people to create lasting value for themselves, their organisations and society at large. One of its major findings was the need for professional development to focus on building resilience and not just skills.

“While this crisis has been very difficult in a number of ways, it has made many of us realise just how quickly we can reskill and how resilient we actually are,” says Pip Dexter, Deloitte Lead Partner, Human Capital.

“Smart organisations will start teaching resilience as part of their professional development, giving their workers new skills to adapt to an increasingly technology-driven future and also the aptitude to manage (and thrive) in an uncertain world.

“In the future, adaptability will be a key, in demand, skill – the ability to adapt to change rapidly is a key requirement now. Those who can adapt faster, will thrive.”

Skills landscape

The Human Capital Trends survey noted that even before the pandemic, organisations were struggling to navigate the fast-changing skills landscape. More than one in two respondents (53%) said that between half and all of their workforce will need to change their skills and capabilities in the next three years. Almost three-quarters of respondents saw organisations as responsible for workforce development, compared with just 19% seeing this as the role of educational institutions.

According to Deloitte, there are five shifts that organisations need to make to help build better resilience for themselves and their workers:

  1. From building skills to cultivating capabilities – the ability to learn new skills quickly will become increasingly important for professionals to remain relevant.
  2. From focusing on short-term skill gaps to better engaging workers’ desire to learn and grow – putting workers in the driver’s seat to own their careers.
  3. From formal learning to learning on the job – research shows that learning through experience yields better learning gains and retention than traditional classroom instruction.
  4. From being paid to work, to being paid to learn – given the importance of continual reinvention to an organisation’s business strategy, organisations need to create incentives that motivate people to continuously learn, adapt, and improve, both at the individual level and the team level.
  5. Prepare people to benefit society, not just the business – the most effective organisations will employ an approach to workforce capability building that considers not only their business needs but the needs of the workers, suppliers, customers, and communities in which they operate.

Resilience development plan

For financial advisers contemplating resilience training, half the battle may be focusing on their own wellbeing and development against a backdrop of economic challenges, erratic financial markets and personal or client pressures.

Benestar, a Financial Planning Association wellness partner, suggests considering several factors as part of a resilience development plan.

“Formulating a plan can help you target specific areas that you would like to become more aware of and improve upon when building your resilience,” Benestar states. “Regularly review and modify your plan to reflect your progress and notice any positive changes in your ability to respond to difficult or stressful situations.”

It suggests using four categories — Body, Mind, People, Work — to set some realistic and achievable goals, while also recognising some of the barriers that might need to be overcome.