During this pandemic we have all been forced to reinvent ourselves. Reinvent our way of working, the way we relate, the way we see the world, and of course, the way we obtain resources. One of the major concerns of the business world is how to survive the economic crisis; the most impacted sectors are already changing their business models, while others have already shut down operations, and yet the big question is still: what will be balance left after this pandemic?
The answer is still uncertain, though we can confirm that besides numerous challenges that companies face such as reinventing the business model, adjusting strategic plans, digital transformation, and customers/consumers with new needs, we will also need to develop skills that human talent did not have before the COVID -19 crisis.
Since 2015, Oxford Economics has already warned us that by 2022 the talent skills that organizations would need will radically change: digital skills, agile thinking, communication and relationships, as well as operating globally were the first ones to be pointed out. At the beginning of this year., LinkedIn also showed us most assuredly that by 2020 creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and emotional intelligence would be the top 5 soft skills required.
Do you want to find out which professions are most in demand? I encourage you to do a simple exercise: enable job alerts on your LinkedIn profile or other portals, and enter criteria to do with agile software development, data analytics, artificial intelligence, or digital marketing. The hit list will show multiple offers in these knowledge areas, where recruitment experts have found it challenging to find expert talent, who would also have the soft skills I have already mentioned.
The STEM concept (an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineer, Math) today takes full relevance and has become a necessity for the business education and training sector. At this point the question arises: how ready are we to develop such skills in our talent?
A few colleges and universities have already rolled out initiatives to strengthen knowledge in these fields, but this still falls short, and they are still far from providing these skills. If this gap does not close in the early school years, companies will have to do their bit. This means that business training programs must reskill employees so they can do their job properly or upskill them in other subject matters that will help them.
McKinsey's most recent study, "Beyond hiring: How companies are reskilling to address talent gaps", published in February 2020, indicates that technology and business models will continue to evolve rapidly and 87% of the global workforce now show significant skills gaps for the needs of organizations.
The forecasts tell us that these gaps are likely to be observable as from 2025 or 2030. The truth is that we are experiencing this today; 9 out of 10 executives worldwide are aware of this situation and say this impact occurs in more than 50% of the organization's roles. If you have not yet reconfigured your learning talent development strategy. I encourage you to start with 3 key questions:
- What skills should I develop in my talent? My recommendation is that you make decisions based on your business data analytics, by taking into account what is happening in your value chain, in the environment, and in value generation for your customers so you can define what technical skills are required. Plus, include soft skills that empower your talent, enabling them to work collaboratively, be flexible and adaptable, and develop resilience, because today we know for sure that only change is certain.
- How to speed up the learning curve? Technology is your best ally. Virtual and online education platforms are in demand not only due to social distancing but to the possibility of self-management and learning tailored to needs.
- What is the best way to implement an upskilling and reskilling program? Think about the learning journey your collaborators need, what learning experience they want to have, and how to motivate them to learn. Remember that in adulthood the prime challenge is to unlearn what we knew and to learn what we need to know, so you will need to set up a learning strategy based on your collaborators’ needs and not on your vision as a leader of human talent.