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ICAEW Virtually Live Resource

Unlocking employee potential will be key to future success

A younger member’s thoughts on building a better future of work after COVID.

Jatinder Singh, associate and coach at Lighthouse International, argues that encouraging staff members to reflect on their development will help them reach their full potential, in turn boosting productivity and resilience.

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The coronavirus pandemic has brushed aside many well-established working practices. As we look back over the past few months, individuals and organisations are reflecting on what lessons can be learned from the period and what could be taken forward in recovery.

Self-reflection is a crucial part of the rebuild, according to Younger Members London committee member, coach and trainer, Jatinder Singh. He says: “We will have more productive organisations when each member of staff is fulfilling their full potential. This will only be realised when people recognise that they are not working at their full capacity.”

Singh has worked as a coach and mentor for the past seven years and attributes much of his professional success to his own mentor encouraging him to continually reflect on his development.

“It will make you unpopular to tell your staff that they could be doing everything better, but it is the place to start,” he says. “It is from this starting point that you can rebuild a better company and a better company culture.”

A resilient workforce

Resilience has been key in recent months and with many organisations dependent on the strength and wellbeing of their workforces, it is necessary to evaluate how employers support their staff.

Singh says: “To be better prepared for future crises, companies need to commit to long-term investment in individuals. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, if you have a workforce that can keep their heads when everyone else is losing theirs, then you’ll have a company which will be better equipped to weather the storm of challenging times.”

He explained that a workforce’s resilience is achieved by each person being open-minded.

“This crisis has shown that being open-minded to change and adapting quickly are the keys to success,” he says. “The most open-minded age group are those between 16-25 years old, so perhaps we should be focusing more on what different generations could learn from each other.”

Changing our approach to learning

Singh believes that moving forward, companies need to ensure that employees are being continually encouraged to develop their skill sets and knowledge over the long term, so they can be confidenti in periods of change.

He also argues that learning new skills becomes far more valuable when you consistently reflect on your progress. “Courses can be useful, but to achieve sustainable progress, people need continued support,” he says.

Singh suggests that when someone joins an organisation, they should be assigned a mentor, either internally or externally. This person would be responsible for coaching their mentee and ensuring that they have a heightened sense of awareness regarding their learning.

Singh concludes: “In designing a better future of work, organisations must put the structures in place for staff to be at the centre of all that they do.

“They must systematically encourage their staff to look in the mirror and really evaluate their development and progress. It is this self-reflection which will allow people to reach their full potential and continue to drive innovation in their workplace.”

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