The rapidly changing world of work, affected by the global pandemic and shrinking shelf life of skills, requires rapid skill shifts. How can your organization bring it about as soon as possible? How can they create a culture of continual learning that’s crisis- and disruption-proof and also boosts internal mobility? And most importantly, what does it need to be looking out for in the future?
In an exclusive, virtual roundtable organized by People Matters in association with Degreed, industry leaders considered these questions.
Skills gap poses a big business risk
Kickstarting the session, Anushree Tiwari, Enterprise Sales Director at Degreed, shared insights from The State of Skill Report 2021, highlighting that the pandemic subjected organizations to sudden change. The report found that upskilling opportunities are down. In fact, six out of 10 workers from the more than 400 companies interviewed said COVID-19 accelerated their need to keep upskilling themselves. Yet 46% of employees reported that their employers had reduced upskilling and reskilling opportunities. Lack of skills is not just a personal challenge. It also poses a large business risk. The shift in demand for skills has led to some tangible business opportunity losses as well. For instance, 55% of employees said that lack of skills makes their jobs more stressful, affecting their mental health. From a business viewpoint, this can bring loss of productivity, loss of quality, and increased attrition, which puts business recovery at risk.
For your organization to get a handle on this, it helps to start by understanding where the current skills of your employees stand, and what skills they require for the future. Most businesses do not have good visibility into workforce capabilities, with almost 6 in 10 talent leaders looking for better technology to assess and monitor workforce skills.
Identifying the skills required today
People want to associate learning and whatever skills they’re acquiring with their long-term career goals. Core skills like adaptability, resiliency, navigating change, leading without authority, communication (especially in a remote working world), critical thinking, and adopting a learning mindset have become important.
Enabling learning hinges on empowerment. It begins with allowing people to take the next steps and make mistakes.
At Alstom, leaders are looking to develop agility in employees, because traditional ways of working are disappearing. Moving on from classroom training, employees have adapted to virtual learning and virtual onboarding. It helps when employees take ownership of their training and work to make themselves indispensable.
To drive learning, communicate goals
At Mercedes Benz, learning leaders look at megatrends, and how to optimize customer offerings. This then trickles down to deciding what skills are needed to make these offerings. In other words, to drive learning it helps when organizations clearly tell their people what the goal is. You can do this in part by describing the skills needed for jobs or projects that people want to get into. At Volvo, leaders look at what products and services they want to develop in the next 10 years and then look at how to help people achieve those goals. They unbundle jobs, redeploy people, reskill people, and develop people from unidimensional jobs to multi-dimensional jobs. This creates a mindset shift in people. It helps them move away from predetermined career paths. And it helps them own their own careers rather than boxing them into predefined roles.
Similarly at L&T, leaders look at what kind of business areas they want to get into, what strategies they want to adopt, and what skills are required to get them there in the next five years. This helps the organization identify skill gaps and prepare people for technology advancements so they can achieve the company’s goals.
Before an organization makes a skill shift, it needs to enable mindset shifts at the employee level. This helps drive a continuous learning culture that can make people future-proof.