Becoming future ready

Last week during an external CSR event, I happened to interact with a few HR folks of MNC companies. We got talking about how the world has changed, the need for people to upgrade skills and how HR looks at recruitment differently now.

For instance, one of the MNCs shared how they have hired sales people from a completely different industry who have had absolutely no knowledge of the new sector that they have agreed to join. This was completely unheard of a decade ago.

Recruitment at one time was done on the basis of the expertise that one brought to the table. Today, that is no longer the case. HR looks for attitude and experience across a breadth of sections/industries. Knowledge can always be gained at hand, on the job. 

This trend is witnessed not only at junior entry levels but also mid-levels and CEO hirings.

What are those new skills that people now need to build on if they want to be future ready?


The ability to communicate effectively and express your intent with the right words, right tone and the right body language has never been as important as it is today.

This skill is closely tied up with the ‘softer’ skills required from managers and leaders. The ability to socialise, show empathy, keep judgements away and really listen stem from a high degree of self-awareness.

Effective communications is known to improve productivity, influence a culture of collaboration and open up cross functional coordination.

Building relationships

Closely aligned with communications and a direct result of effective communications is the art of building relationships. Today’s highly complex world demands that managers and leaders are well networked and up in their game when it comes international policies and dynamic political scenarios that have a huge potential to change the existing world order.

Diverse stakeholder engagement

Managers and leaders are now dealing with a diverse set of stakeholders. They not only interact with internal colleagues and external customers but have to also need to meet regulators, pacify investors and shareholders, reach out to analysts and allay fears. This requires them to have a 360 degree view of the business, people and the world around them.

Digital readiness

Technology is ever changing and has a huge influence in how we live and interact today. Among the top skills required in the present and which will continue to hold a high degree of relevance in the future as well, is the adaptation of leaders to ushering in new digital tools that have the caliber of changing the way many businesses are carried out today.

Social media smartness

Umpteen has been said and written about the importance of having a social media presence. Yet, the number of CEOs using this medium continues to hover around 60 percent. Social media presence gives leaders the opportunity to shape beliefs and perception about their organisation that has a direct correlation on attracting and retaining the right talent. A CEO’s presence on social media can also help dispel rumors or fake news during a crisis situation. 

Cultivating thought leadership

The world out there today listens to those who have a strong point of view and are known to carry people along with them. People look up at a thought leader for new ideas and information. A thought leader is known to fuel trust and credibility and respect for the leader and the organisation s/he is affiliated with.

Being future ready requires an investment of one’s time and resources and a willingness to embrace change when it comes your way.

How ready are you? 

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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