What will work and required skills look like after COVID
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work after covid

What will work and required skills look like after COVID

COVID has changed the way we handle a lot of things. We’ve already spoken elsewhere about how people are demanding more meaningful processes, and how this will create an era where HR is more about strategy than ever before.

But one of the most significant changes on the horizon for organizations is the way in which they manage skills and development. Trends from before and during the pandemic are creating a world of resilient and accountable people. People that behave like “micro enterprises” in their own right. Taking charge of their own skill and career development – with their team leaders playing a supporting role.

HR will of course still play a part in this new landscape of one-person bands that constitutes the modern organization. In terms of orchestrating strategy, and helping secure the talent that the company needs to succeed – but also in terms of ensuring resources for skills development and learning are available for everyone.

After all, as everyone takes greater and greater charge of their own futures, competition for talent is will only grow. And it will be your job as an HR leader to support leadership to keep skilled workers around and growing. With this in mind it’s no surprise that building critical skills and competencies is a top priority for 68% of HR leaders.

So what do we need to ensure everyone’s skills stay current?

The challenge here is twofold.

  1. Effectively managing the skills your people have now, and how you help the organization take advantage of them. (Such as by mapping skills and allocating individuals to jobs, roles, and individual projects.)
  2. Dealing with the skills gap and the capabilities you’ll need in the future.

Both of these challenges require a newly dynamic approach to skills management. Employees need more skills to do their jobs than previously – especially as remote working and hybrid working now demand that every part of the employee experience and individual job roles be digitized.

And with organizations facing a huge skills gap (PWC have recently indicated that 133M recently created jobs will require upskilling by 2022), many employees aren’t learning what they need to in order to develop personally, or to do their jobs effectively.

In the face of these major changes, how can HR leaders act to ensure their organizations have the necessary skills to thrive?

1. Map your current skills and identify gaps

Take the time to figure out what you’re working with by revisiting your skills frameworks and getting to know what skills your people have right now.

Outdated frameworks can make this a more difficult task than it needs to be, but it’s worth doing. Knowing what abilities your people have right now not only lets you build a better picture of where you need to upskill and bring in new talent – but also helps to more effectively staff projects to ensure organizational success.

(Doing this will also help project leaders better understand how individual team members can contribute, and provides the basis of more accurate and helpful feedback for everyone.)

2. Leverage current skills to cover the gaps

This is good example of an area where HR can help leadership to tactically and strategically prepare for both short and long term contingencies. It’s impossible to achieve a perfect skills profile – especially from a real-world starting point. But it is possible to identify the links between the skills you have and the skills you’re missing and use them to cross-skill until you can deal with the problem. Which leads us neatly to step three.

3. Upskill and re-skill the workforce

Of course, step three is easy to say, but difficult to do in practice. It requires a focus not just on talent strategy and bringing the right people on board, but a realistic and forward thinking approach to the accelerated rate of learning existing and new employees will need to go through in order to get to work quickly and productively.

Fast changing environments mean skill gaps aren’t static things, and new ones will always occur. (Many expect new skills gaps to have already appeared in just two or three years from now.) This requires linking learning technology to existing skills profiles and ongoing projects to create targeted learning programs for everyone in the organization. Allowing everyone opportunities to pursue the development they need and acquire the skills the business needs them to have.

In all three of these steps, there is an obvious missing link that can help you and your teams create accurate pictures or where you are, what you can do with the skills your people currently have, and how to best make use of them and logically develop them. That missing link is a distributed approach to talent management.

Distributed talent management allows your organization to move from a centralized top-down system of HR focused on forms and formal requests to an ecosystem of teams and individuals that can support each others’ needs for skills and outcomes.

How can Unit4 help you to achieve this?

Arriving at this new model requires HCM technology that can help you bridge the gap between the old HR reality of compliance and governance and a modern strategic, value-added approach. Unit4’s HCM platform provides the flexible foundation for distributed talent management and the level of insight into your current skills and your future skills needs you’ll need to help your organization achieve success in the future. You can learn more about it here – where you can also arrange a demo.

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