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Pinpointing the Right Skills to Activate Performance

“The only way to survive is to continuously transform into something else. It’s this idea of continuous transformation that makes an innovative company.” Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM

Technology is everywhere, transformation is everywhere, and we’re using technologies to drive business transformations constantly. Many organizations ponder “the future of work” but the reality is that the future is already here, it just manifests itself differently throughout the global economy.

The Future is Now

Deloitte Consulting argues that “the future of work is being driven by the confluence of massive technology and people-driven disruptors.” We’re being hit by a plethora of disruptors: millennials shifting the workforce, technological tools, robotics, AI and visualization, new required skill sets, and shifting regulatory environments — just to name a few. All of these disruptors require a response, but businesses are struggling to make informed decisions with the exponentially increasing pace of change.

At our annual conference, Degreed LENS in Austin, TX, Casey Caram and Alyssa Loverro joined us from Deloitte Consulting to take us through a practical exercise on how to prepare for the future of work through embracing disruption. Deloitte focuses on three elements that are critical to consider in the future of work transformation: work itself, workplace, and workforce. Watch the full video of the Degreed LENS Deloitte presentation at the bottom of this post. Or better yet, register for our next virtual event, Degreed LENS Light 2020!

Three factors of work transformation

Three Factors of Work Transformation:

Work Itself: The nature of work is changing to achieve new business goals. This requires upskilling around automation and augmentation.

There has been a shift in the perspective of how “work” is done. Historically, we have viewed people as individual contributors, but today we must expect people, teams, and intelligent machines to work in tandem to deliver business outcomes.

Key questions to consider: How is the work you do actually changing? We adopt new technologies to improve our efficiency and accuracy, but how is that impacting the actual work? What does it mean for people? Do roles change? Do responsibilities change with the emergence of newly needed skills? 

Workplace: Just as there is a shift in what constitutes work and individual roles, the shift in needs and expectations for the physical workplace are causing significant disruption. These changes increase the pressure to embrace digital transformation.

Key questions to consider: Where is work done geographically? How can we maximize collaboration, productivity, and consistency to empower our people?

Workforce: Who can perform the work as it changes and how can organizations close skills gaps by tapping into alternative talent pools and upskilling methodologies?

When it comes to workforce considerations, Deloitte Consulting observes a spectrum of talent they call the “open talent continuum.” This examines the range of talent that can fit the traditional, function-specific work (think full-time employees and managed service providers) as well as the open, task-specific (think gig-workers and crowd-sourced talent) workforce structures.

Key questions to consider: Given that changes are inevitable, and there are new outcomes possible at work due to advances in technology and automation, what does that mean for the workforce? How do we identify who has the right skills and capabilities to do the job? How do we consider part-time workers, gig-workers, or contractors when looking to staff a project or initiative?

While these questions may not be easy to answer, the case for change is clear. According to the Deloitte 2019 Human Capital Trends, an alarming 57% of workers actually find it easier to find a new job outside of their organizations than internally, as the process for internal mobility is lacking or non-existent. In order to account for this reality, Deloitte argues that there must be a fundamental and human-centered shift in learning & talent philosophy.

Six Practical Steps to Shift Your Talent Management Strategy for the Future of Work:

Deloitte argues that traditional employee lifecycles following “attract, develop, and retain” methodologies are highly reliant on employment brand and industry expectations to attract new talent. This strategy also relies on business units and gut-feelings to identify and develop point-in-time skills demands while they rely on extrinsic motivators and messages to influence employee mobility.

The new employee lifecycle of “access, curate, and engage” is a dynamic process that requires organizations to embrace the “capability economy” whereby capabilities and skills of the future become more on-demand. Employees also have the power of choice and discovery in their development as organizations curate experiences and make learning available in the flow of work. And finally, there is open and honest communication about what employees want and what organizations need when it comes to non-traditional career paths.

Casey Caram puts this in clear and precise terms: “What we’re trying to break away from and think about is how can you access the capabilities that you need, whether it’s inside your organization full-time or it’s temporary labor that you bring in? How are you curating the experiences that are going to keep your employees engaged? We have an incredibly low unemployment rate. People have a significant amount of open jobs. How are you keeping employees, how are you curating experiences for them, and how are you engaging them to participate and upskill themselves?”

As you and your organization embrace workforce transformation, here are a few final tips to make it successful:

The new employee lifecycle

Imagine the possibilities of the future by leveraging industry-specific data and insights to define your ambition and strategy for transforming your workforce for the future.

Compose a vision that embraces technology. Redesign work, workforces, and workplaces to maximize the value of automation, alternative talent sources, and collaborative workplaces.

Activate workforce development programs to access skills, curate next-generation experiences, and engage the workforce in a culture of curiosity and possibility.

Invest in a culture of learning. Communicate the value of and reward those who put an emphasis on reskilling and upskilling, and being ready for what’s next.

Mind the gap by identifying areas of opportunity as well as skills gaps. Leverage internal talent to deliver on the needs, and only hire when you’ve identified a skills gap that can’t be filled by reskilling or upskilling your existing talent.

Create an environment that embraces, nurtures, and cultivates human capabilities. Your people are ready for transformation, they simply need opportunities to advance their own capabilities and visibility into what the organization is striving for.

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