Right now, it’s safe to say that HR and people leaders have their plates full. The Great Resignation (aka as the Great Reassessment and the Great Reshuffling) is accelerating. Work models are being recalibrated to not only address diversity, equity and inclusion, but to advance it. And nearly three-quarters of organizations are embarking on workforce transformations.
Since there are so many high-stakes items on HR’s agenda, how can we decide what earns a spot at the top of our list? I’d argue that right now we need to focus our attention on two issues. First, leaders of the people agenda must work on formulating a clear view of their priorities for 2022 and beyond. In many ways, the 2020s start now; 2022 is the first year which will hopefully not be dominated by COVID-19, but by our goals, aspirations, and strategic priorities. This is a theme I will be exploring over the next couple of months but I’m introducing now.
Second, we need to set our sights on skill building because it has the potential to impact most, if not all, of the crises and crossroads that people leaders are facing today. How can you demonstrate that your organization is the best place for employees to grow, explore and develop their careers? How can we give employees real agency and choice to try new experiences and the chance to learn new things that are relevant and in-demand in our company? What does it take to level the playing field? Equipping everyone with access to upskilling and reskilling is certainly a step in the right direction. And what about fueling successful workforce transformations? One of the central challenges is understanding the skills we have, the skills we need, how to help our employees access and build skills to pursue their goals and career ambitions — hopefully INSIDE our company– and how do we build the skills in our workforce that our business and team leaders need for today’s and tomorrow’s business challenges.
Ultimately, an organization may only be as good as the sum of its peoples’ skills, experiences, and interests and its organizational capability to understand these skills and interests and make better and more timely talent decisions. But like every other element of the working world, the conversation around upskilling and reskilling is evolving rapidly. One-size-fits-all curricula curated by leadership are out; employee-driven growth opportunities that blend experience, content and hands-on learning are in. And leaders are finally getting the full picture into the capabilities within their workforce, so they can bridge existing skills gaps and ensure their organizations are prepared for the future of work.
We’re only at the opening chapter of this new approach to building skills and transforming workforce planning. However, many of the leading voices in HR and people management already have quite a few things to say. Since there are plenty of important insights to share, I am dedicating this month’s Research Roundup to exploring the idea of future-fit skill building and pinpointing how these efforts can set us up for success in the new world of work.
The focus of this month’s round-up is the skills and re-skilling agenda.
But first, I want to introduce, as mentioned above, the elephant in the room: How do we reframe our people management priorities and future of work agenda as we plan for 2022, the first year in the 2020s which will not be dominated by COVID-19? I have a lot to say about this topic and it’s one I’ll be discussing at Gloat Live on December 1 and 2 (save your seat here) as I explore “the Future History of the Talent Marketplace.” But first, I’d suggest these two podcasts to kick off your thinking:
Planning for the Post-COVID People Management Challenges
Leadership Styles Must Adapt to Prevent More Quitting, The McKinsey Podcast, with Aaron De Smet and Bill Schaninger
This provocative conversation is a call to arms building on a theme I explore in detail in my book, WORK DISRUPTED. In short, the world has and is changing as the shifts uncovered during the COVID era have made the concerns, perspectives, and desires of the workforce more visible. These are the drivers of the Great Resignation and the Great Reassessment. In this podcast, we are challenged to think about how and what leadership practices need to evolve to keep pace. Listen to it and discuss how your colleagues and teams should upgrade your approach accordingly.
Flow of Work Applications Have Arrived, Josh Bersin Academy Podcast, with Josh Bersin
In this podcast, Josh highlights a trend we’ve been tracking for several years: how HR and talent applications are being integrated into the flow of work (and life) through connections to our virtual workplaces. Think Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, Slack etc. This shift is critical as HR and talent partner with business and functional leaders to integrate career growth, opportunity for new experiences, learning, and fundamental HR transactions and compliance into our virtual workspaces– not as separate apps, but as real-time nudges and notifications. For me, this podcast prompts us to think about how we integrate and make career, learning, and HR part of our work and life flow and not separate tools and apps. In the 2020s, this integration and customer user perspective will be critical.
And here are the pieces of content I think leaders need to have on their radar if they want to get upskilling and reskilling right: