Employability and HRM: How HR Looks For Employability?

hrm and employability

Employability is crucial for both employers and employees. A thorough understanding of employability is necessary to avoid an employment mismatch, which can result in wasted time and money.

Employability is a combination of personal attributes, skills, and knowledge that make a graduate or current employee more successful in their chosen occupation, resulting in benefits for themselves, the workforce, the community, and the economy.

Let’s Try to Understand Employability and how HRM treats it.

What is Employability?

Employability is the ability of an applicant or candidate to gain and maintain a job.

However, the University of Edinburgh argued that employability is not the same as gaining a job; rather, it is about the ability to perform jobs successfully in a position and move between occupations, thus remaining employable throughout their life.

Understanding Employability in the Hiring Process

Every human resource manager looks for a person who has the ability and potential to perform jobs for which he or she would be hired.

On the other hand, every candidate looks for a job where he or she can utilize existing and future skills and experience to make a solid contribution. In this respect, an HR manager asks himself/herself before hiring, “Is the applicant employable for my organization?”.

However, before getting into an interview or even before applying for a job, an applicant implicitly or explicitly asks himself/herself, “Am I really employable for the position?”. Thus, a common term here is derived called ’employability’.

Importance of Employability for All Parties

If an employment mismatch occurs at this stage, both parties are harmed as time and money are spent in the recruitment and selection process. Hence, a clear idea about employability is very important for employers, HR managers, and employees.

Defining Employability from Various Perspectives

However, the term employability is used and explained in different contexts and in different ways—we explain it from various angles for greater understanding.

Employability is a combination/set of achievements such as personal attributes, skills, and understandings that make someone, especially a graduate or even a current employee, more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community, and the economy.

Importance of Employability Skills

The employability of a university, college, or technical school graduate is very important not only for the reputation of those institutions but also for employers who look for graduates with the minimum skills to be adaptive in the workplace. Employers look for work-ready graduates with clear evidence of specific job skills.

Therefore, students need to develop their employability skills throughout their time at a university or college. Otherwise, many of them will not be able to secure a suitable job after their graduation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the world ever more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA), while business models have been changing rapidly.

The scenario can be more devastating in the near future if graduate employability cannot be increased in a borderless world where jobs can be gained and continued from home.

Moreover, the business model, for example, the ‘Brick and Mortar Business Model’, has been changed to the ‘Click and Mortar Business Model’. We would say the business models will keep changing according to the changes in technologies and other issues like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Therefore, to remain attractive to employers, graduates or other people who are even currently in jobs need to make sure they gain employability skills.

The job market is competitive, which has now become not only competitive but also very challenging because companies sometimes cannot determine which types of employees they need as the working operations keep changing.

It was reflected during the COVID-19 pandemic when employers became confused about what types of skills they needed for the changed work environment during the lockdowns.

If another pandemic or any other health or natural disaster happens, employers may need other types of skills rather than only graduation or experience.

Therefore, graduates or current employees need to develop their graduate employability, which will be good not only for companies but also for HR managers to lead and get the jobs done.

“Employability skills are personal qualities that make a person ’employable.’” These skills are often called “soft skills” or “transferable skills”. It is because these are distinct from technical knowledge or work experience.

These skills can be applied to almost any job, in any industry, therefore, if anyone has employability skills can adjust him or her in a job environment very quickly.

Interestingly, many people start to develop these skills early in life, but many of them may not be aware that they are doing so.

Similarly, many people cannot even develop themselves with these skills; therefore, our attempt is to provide an idea here what the employability skills required for graduates and others to make them employable during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Before doing so, it is very important to note that employability skills will be changing according to changes in external forces; therefore, readers are encouraged to keep an eye on contemporary issues.

Employability Skills and How These Can Be Attained

Employability skills are not specific to one particular career path but are useful across all employment sectors. However, mastering these skills is a long-term process; therefore, it is necessary to understand how these skills can be attained.

As stressed, every manager, whether from HR, marketing, finance, accounting, operations, production, service, communication, and so on, always wants an employee who can not only perform jobs but also have employability skills.

In this section, we have outlined some of the significant employability skills and processes/suggestions on how someone can achieve these skills.

Time Management Skill

Time management skills are one of the most significant employability skills that every employer looks for among candidates because everyone has to finish his or her job on time.

Otherwise, an employee not only misses deadlines but also wastes the time of every stakeholder associated with the job. This also hampers the potential for achieving opportunities in the dynamic market world where customer demands change dramatically.

Hence, employees, i.e., human resources, have to perform various jobs on time to meet demand. Good time management enables an individual to complete more in a shorter period of time, using minimum resources, lowering stress, and facilitating career success.

Furthermore, time management skills also lead to improved efficiency and productivity, resulting in lower unit costs of products, which immensely benefits every organization. Good time management gives an employee extra time to spend in his or her daily life.

An employee who can manage time effectively enjoys having more time to spend on hobbies or other personal pursuits and can balance with their personal life.

At present, work-life balance is one of the crucial issues everywhere; therefore, an employee with excellent time management skills can give more time to family members, friends, relatives, and even to social events, making leading a healthy life possible.

Furthermore, managing time well leads an employee, manager, or even entire organization to more opportunities and less time wasted on trivial activities.

As we know, the ability to prioritize and schedule work to be completed on time is extremely desirable for every organization. Individuals who practice good time management skills are always preferred in terms of promotion and career development.

Time management is the process of planning and controlling how much time an employee should spend on specific activities.

However, time management skills include a variety of skills that may help an employee manage his or her time well.

Therefore, time management skills can be called a combination of some other skills such as organization, prioritization, goal setting, communication and planning, delegation, and stress management.

If an employee can achieve these skills, then he or she will be able to attain time management skills successfully.

Therefore, at this stage of the chapter, we would like to briefly explain the skills, which together lead an employee to develop his or her time management skills.

This is explained in the following table:

Organization

What an employee would like to complete and when can only be possible to determine when he or she is organized because it gives a clear picture of what to complete.

Prioritization

Everyone is not a manager in an organization or even in projects, but everyone is a manager of his or her time. Hence, assessing one’s own responsibilities for priority is the key to being a good time manager.

Hence, priority is very significant in managing time. In this respect, a priority list of what to do now and then can contribute to deciding what to complete and when to complete. Here, two strategies are involved.

The first one is – an employee should decide to complete the items/responsibilities/tasks to be performed.

The second one is – an employee has to prioritize his or her tasks starting with the most time-sensitive ones. Or even can combine both.

Goal-Setting

It will allow an employee to clearly understand what is the final goal and what he or she exactly needs to prioritize to achieve the goal.

Here, employees should divide the goals into shorter, intermediate, and longer-term goals.

Communication

Communication skill will allow an employee to make plans and goals especially when he or she works with others or in a team.

It allows him or her to delegate jobs into some specific time that will contribute to focusing on completing the most significant and relevant tasks that are aligned with the goals.

Planning

Planning is a fundamental part of management. An employee has to be efficient in planning his or her day so that tasks can be accomplished to help stick to the schedule.

Delegation

This skill is normally assumed for the managers or leaders, but it is equally required for individual employees because delegation helps to divide the tasks among different people and even different time spans.

As a result, the jobs can be done on time and lead to being skilled in managing time.

Stress Management

The time management skill also includes stress management because attention to mental health is urgent as it motivates to perform well when going through schedules.

How To Ensure Time Management In Workplace?

How To Ensure Time Management In Workplace?

As we understand, time management is very much significant for every employee. We have to learn how to manage time effectively and efficiently.

  1. Setting Goals
  2. Prioritize Wisely
  3. Setting a Time Limit
  4. Taking a Break Between Tasks
  5. Organize Yourself
  6. Remove Non-Essential Functions or Tasks
  7. Plan Ahead

Setting Goals

Firstly, the employees in the various workplaces have to set measurable and achievable goals. Hence, the SMART method, which includes specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely, is recommended.

Prioritize Wisely

Then, the employees will have to prioritize their tasks according to their importance and urgency. Therefore, the following suggestions can be effective for the employees to determine which are:

  • Important and urgent: Do these tasks right away.
  • Important but not urgent: Decide when to do these tasks.
  • Urgent but not important: Delegate these tasks if possible.
  • Not urgent and not important: Set these aside to do later.

Setting a Time Limit

Setting time limits for finishing tasks helps you to be more focused and competent.

Making a small extra effort to decide on how much time you need to assign for every task can also help you identify possible problems or difficulties before they happen. That way, an employee can make plans for dealing with them.

Taking a Break Between Tasks

When doing a lot of tasks without a break, it is difficult for everyone to stay focused and interested to continue the work.

Therefore, every employee is recommended to allow some downtime between tasks to clear his or her head and refresh themselves. Employees should also consider grabbing a brief nap, going for a short walk, or meditating, motivating them to continue their tasks much more efficiently.

Organize Yourself

Employees should utilize their time calendar for more long-term time management to develop time management skills.

Employees can write down the deadlines for projects or tasks that are part of completing the overall project. It is also recommended that employees should think about which days might be the best to dedicate to specific tasks.

For example, an employee may need to plan a meeting to discuss cash flow on a day when they know the company CFO is available. Therefore, if everything is organized with every employee, he or she would be able to execute any function on time.

Remove Non-Essential Functions or Tasks

It is important to remove excess activities or tasks that are not useful and are not related to mastering time management. Therefore, every employee should determine what is significant and what deserves the precious time spent.

Employees should also remove non-essential tasks/activities to free up more time to be spent on genuinely important things. As a result, an employee could use the time much more efficiently.

Plan Ahead

In order to gain time management skills, every employee should make sure he or she starts every day with a clear idea of what he or she needs to do – what needs to get done THAT DAY.

Consider making it a habit to, at the end of each workday, go ahead and write out his or her “to-do” list for the next workday. That way, an employee can hit the ground running the next morning.

Personal Motivation Skill

To develop employability, personal motivation skills are very important for existing and future employees. If an employee is self-motivated, he or she will exhibit a positive attitude during crisis periods. Therefore, staying self-motivated is crucial.

Some employees secure a job but fail to overcome the probation period because they are not perceived as self-motivated in different projects or even during crisis periods. Hence, employees should strive to maintain motivation regardless of the situation.

Self-motivation drives employees to persist even in the face of setbacks, to seize opportunities in the dynamic work environment, and to demonstrate commitment to their goals. Self-motivation always leads employees to success at the workplace, provided that he or she remains committed after being motivated.

However, many employees lack motivation, hindering them from taking timely action.

Furthermore, poor self-motivation among employees in the workplace diminishes their performance, fosters poor communication, lowers employee engagement, increases employee turnover, and reduces productivity, potentially turning the organization into a toxic environment for both employees and employers.

Therefore, employees must cultivate self-motivation. In this regard, we provide some suggestions below that may help employees become self-motivated.

5 Tips To Be Self-motivated.

5 Tips To Be Self-motivated.
  1. Educate Yourself
  2. Believe that You Can Do It
  3. Never Give Up
  4. Finish What You Start
  5. Understand Your Resilience

Educate Yourself

Some employees start a job without even knowing the experience and skills required to accomplish the job. Therefore, they cannot complete the job on time and eventually fail to execute.

Employees should educate themselves by reading books or other study materials and through practical training sessions, watching video clips of different scholars, and work strategies. As a result, they could broaden their current knowledge by educating themselves.

It is widely recognized that an informed person will always make better choices and become successful in seizing opportunities where they present themselves.

Once employees educate themselves, their confidence level goes up, and they take everything positively, thus becoming self-motivated. Hence, we believe employees should educate themselves to avoid becoming demotivated.

Believe that You Can Do It

Everyone, whether a current or prospective employee, should believe that they can do it regardless of limitations. This determination is the first step in gaining self-motivation, as it gives confidence. In this respect, never get held back by stumbling blocks. You must know that you can accomplish functions to achieve your goals. Thus, you will be able to motivate yourself, which is required to make you employable for a better job.

Never Give Up

There are many employees who give up after being unsuccessful in some endeavors. However, this is not something employers expect from employees.

Therefore, employees should keep going and focus on their goals. As a result, employees will find out that moving forward is the only way that will contribute to reaching their potential, as there is no gain in failure.

Employees should also visualize what they would like to accomplish, which would motivate them to stay focused. Hence, a never-give-up attitude and determination will help employees stay self-motivated, eventually helping them to be more employable in the current competitive job market.

Finish What You Start

It is a significant problem in the current world, especially among the new generation, i.e., millennials, who prefer to get something quickly from the workplace or want to finish very quickly.

However, when it comes to pulling through, this generation, particularly millennials, simply doesn’t continue. As a result, they become frustrated; hence, it is very urgent to finish what you start.

Managers often examine previous work accomplishments so that a task or project can be given to the right person to complete it. If employees cannot finish the projects or tasks on time, they will be frustrated.

This would make them demotivated towards the workplace, which finally reduces their employability at workplaces. Therefore, employees must make every effort to finish off what is started. This is a great process to accomplish goals and improve their self-esteem.

Understand Your Resilience

Resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’ after a setback! It also helps employees keep themselves positive in the face of challenges. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and is also a significant mantra that allows a person or an employee to understand/think about their ability to accomplish something.

This is often used as the process to manage negative emotional responses to events. As a result, employees can use rational and positive thinking to examine situations and overcome reactions that they find to be entirely logical.

This is also called psychological resilience, which is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a challenging situation or to return to pre-crisis status quickly.

Listening Skill

People often do not understand what they should listen to due to their poor listening skills. In the modern work environment, listening skills do not only depend on face-to-face meetings because employees have to listen to what is told over the phone or other wireless communication processes.

Due to disruptive technologies or noisy environments, employees often listen to something, assume something else, and implement something totally unexpected which might not be assigned.

Therefore, it is urgent for employees to develop their listening skills so that they can actively listen to and apply instructions to their jobs.

Furthermore, listening skills also contribute to building trust with employees at the workplace, which increases employee retention and productivity. Furthermore, listening also helps in resolving conflicts in organizations because employees listen to each other, which helps them understand each other’s needs and contribute to reaching a solution.

As a result, the relationship between the employees is developed while acceptance of the differences in the mutual process is possible. Hence, it is very important for employees to develop their listening skills.

Active listening helps an employee to be fully aware of and concentrate on what is being said rather than passively hearing what the speaker is trying to convey. The objective of such listening is to get information and listen to understand various clients and situations before responding by doing something.

Therefore, employees should be determined to listen carefully and understand what people are trying to convey without being judgmental. The next section shows how the employees can develop listening skills:

How to Develop Listening Skills? 5 Steps

How to Develop Listening Skills
  1. Be Empathetic
  2. Maintain Eye Contact
  3. Don’t Interrupt
  4. Make Adjustments and Avoid Wrong Assumptions
  5. Developing Attitude

Be Empathetic

Being empathetic allows employees to be present with the speaker emotionally and understand them by putting themselves into their shoes. As a result, employees will be able to feel what the speaker says and assume the emotions of the speaker efficiently.

However, it is not very easy for employees to be present and concentrate in the moment always but to be empathetic, i.e., generous, and putting their heart and soul. Full concentration in the conversation would definitely help them understand what the speaker is saying. As a result, their listening skills would be developed.

Maintain Eye Contact

Eye contact with the speaker would help an employee to stay attentive to what the speaker is saying. It is called the primary aspect of effective communication. Nobody would be interested in speaking with an employee who has divided attention while he or she is speaking.

Therefore, keeping eye contact would give them the impression that the employee is actively listening to and trying to get what is being said. In this respect, books, papers, phones, or any other distraction should be kept aside so that full attention can be given to the speaker.

Don’t Interrupt

Employees must not interrupt during a conversation because when they interrupt a conversation, they subconsciously inform the speaker that their voice is more relevant and important.

Sometimes, it is difficult to keep pace with the speaker, but listening and being attentive would develop the tolerance to understand what is being said rather than interrupting.

In this respect, if employees need to interrupt, especially during one-to-one sessions, they should raise the questions politely and take permission before cutting the conversation midway.

Make Adjustments and Avoid Wrong Assumptions

Making adjustments in listening is very significant, and it is nothing but keeping an open mind. Try to follow what the speaker conveys, even if that is difficult for you to understand. This would allow making adjustments to your current knowledge and what the speaker is conveying.

However, you must be careful about wrong assumptions. In this respect, keeping the mind open and ready to invest time into what the speaker is saying must be adjusted to the situation.

If an employee can make effective adjustments to both what you already know and the situation, the employee will be able to develop his or her listening skills.

Developing Attitude

A positive attitude towards people can help develop listening skills because it allows the listener to adjust to the situation and become respectful. Attitude is a feeling of emotion that comes from understanding.

Therefore, everyone in the organization should be respectful of what others say about a fact or state because we all can learn something new from others, even if we have strong beliefs or prior feelings about the topic.

When we have a positive attitude towards others, we tend to look beyond our preconceived notions and become better listeners.

Networking Skill

Networking is another significant skill that develops employees’ employability in the present world. It is because it builds up knowledge of different careers.

Beyond this, this skill is also important as it supports employees to manage their careers in the future. Many jobs require the use of a professional network, and employers value this skill among graduates.

Furthermore, networking skills are also the competencies that employees need to have to maintain professional or social contacts. This skill is required to develop and maintain relationships of values. Other employability skills should be included when developing networking with people.

However, we would highly recommend employees attend different workshops, conferences, meetings, seminars, etc. This would help them make relationships with people in a similar industry or even outside of the industry.

Networking also helps employees to get good references, especially when they apply for jobs. As a result, their employability in the current competitive world is enhanced.

There are many other ways to develop networking, for example, taking part in charity or volunteer works, charity fundraising events, conducting research in teams, publishing reports in journals or newspapers, and interacting over social and professional networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on.

All these works help organizations develop networking with different people and eventually help enhance employability.

Information Technology and Communication Skills:

We have put both information technology and communication together because whatever information you have would be valuable if you cannot communicate with the right users of information. This is because communication is the way to distribute the information required by various parties.

However, communication nowadays entirely depends on information technologies, even during face-to-face meetings.

Moreover, these technologies are changing very quickly, for example; Skype was one of the most popular video conferencing Apps for a long time, but during this pandemic, the videoconferencing Apps Zoom, StreamYard, MS Teams, Google Meet, Webex, and so on have taken the market position.

In this respect, some employees who are not capable of using these technologies, are left behind even though many of them have lost their jobs due to a lack of knowledge.

Furthermore, some employees, even with graduation degrees, do not know how to write an email professionally, but nowadays, most of the communication depends on emails. Formal communication via letter has decreased.

Communication processes have changed over time; for example, communication was popular through letters or emails, but nowadays, communication via social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and so on has become more useful than ever before.

Therefore, employees, in order to develop their employability, must know how to use various information technologies so that they can make both verbal and nonverbal communication more efficiently and effectively.

The need for information technology and communication skills has been more important than ever before due to the pandemic, which compelled many of us to stay home and communicate with the help of various technologies to execute tasks.

Employees must know the techniques and processes for effective communication to develop their employability.

Digital disruptions are going on now, especially for the fourth industrial revolution technologies such as Cloud Computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and so on.

Therefore, to know about all these aspects, employees should develop the information technology-related skills that will eventually develop their employability in the job market because employers will not recruit an employee without any knowledge of technology and communication skills.