Reskilling in “VUCA” age

There are so many articles about reskilling in 2021. In addition, a futurist, Alvin Toffler mentions in the following. “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

In fact, we are living what is called “VUCA” age. VUCA is an acronym and represents volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, respectively. In other words, we do not know about what will happen in the future. For example, if we were to work in a factory to manufacture digital cameras, we possibly would have lost our job. This is because a lot of people in the world do use their smartphone instead of a digital camera. Of course, there are people who use and love digital camera, and that is why the market still exists.

However, big companies should consider their shareholders and stakeholders. As a result, they might make a big decision to withdraw the market. As a result, the decision will affect its supply chain and suppliers in the end. Thus, it might be better for us to keep the fact that we will lose our job in the future in our mind.

In this sense, the quote from Alvin Toffler is really true. Present and future generations must learn, unlearn and relearn to keep up with this rapid changing society. However, the question here is how to do so? Many people do not think that we have enough time to learn new things. Let us see the case of Shionogi.

The case of Shionogi

Shionogi & Company, Limited is a Japanese pharmaceutical company, and medical supply and brand name also uses Shionogi. The Japanese company will start four-day work in a week from 2022. Of course, it is not mandatory for every employee and apply for employees who want, in fact. In addition, salaries of employees who work four-day in a week will be 80% of five-day work.

Even though their salary will be decreasing, the new policy has benefit for both employees and the company. From employees’ point of view, they will have more time with their family or work in another company. When we work in a different company, what is needed? In many cases, we need different communication skill, different expertise and different mindset. As a result, it gives a good opportunity to broaden their horizon. It means that employees can expand their capabilities.

When employees can enhance their skills and have different mindset, what will happen for the company? It means that the company also can enhance its capability. In VUCA age, the big companies like Shionogi needs more innovation and take new challenges. To achieve this purpose, the diversity of its talents is necessary. Therefore, the new policy will have a good effect on both the company and its employees.

The stage of development

Of course, Shionogi’s initiative is not new. We can see the other example from Telefonica, the Spanish telecom giant. In addition, the experiments of four-day work are just starting, so we cannot conclude that it will work very well or not. However, one thing for sure is that reskilling is really important in VUCA age and four-day work is one of the possible solutions. In addition, the new policy is still the stage of development.