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6 Considerations on how L&D should prepare for the New Skills Economy

Talent acquisition has always been important for organisations but lately the checklist for what a talented individual should look like has radically changed.

Until not long ago, experience was the most important advantage a candidate could have. Though that is still of some value, today’s HR professionals are faced with the daunting task of recruiting employees not only for what a certain position requires at the time of the interview but what it may require in the not so distant future.

The most precious exchange coins in the present day work market are flexibility, adaptability and the capacity to learn fast. It’s a new skills economy, grounded in the rapid digitization and the amazing transformation it has brought about.

Organisations need to rethink their learning programs

The most recent Deloitte Global Human Capital research revealed that 47% of HR and business leaders consider developing new career trajectories and skills to be very important for the long term success of their organisations. However, more than half admit that they have no programs designed to ensure the development of their employees in this direction.

It’s obvious that corporate learning needs to catch up and keep up as recruitment is only the first step of what should be a continuous process. An entirely new approach to talent management is necessary with recruitment expanding into more non-traditional backgrounds and business learning becoming on-demand and learner-centered.

A learning culture has to become the norm

Building a learning culture is no longer simply advisable; it’s rapidly becoming a requirement for attracting and retaining the most suitable employees. By going back to the drawing board and re-designing everything having to do with learning strategies, organizations will gain the competitive advantage.

Employees need to be encouraged towards autonomy and self-direction while provided with all the tools and resources they will need to adapt and grow.

Read more: The solution for happier, more loyal employees? Self-directed learning

Learning specialists will have to partially give up control over the process in order to be able to show an impact in the results. Trusting people with their own development will lead to increased engagement and a lowered turnover.

Technology should be constantly updated

Apart from a radical shift in the way the L&D activity is regarded, adhering to the most recent learning trends and technologies will play an important role in the organisation’s capacity to adapt to the new skills economy.

This, of course, means investing in the latest LMS versions, keeping up with the technology and tapping into the immense potential Augmented and Virtual Reality have for learning.

Globalization also makes it imperative that the content is varied and versatile enough to meet the needs of individuals with various degrees of competence coming from different cultures and speaking different languages.

Read more: What are your options when creating multilingual training courses?

The leadership pipeline needs to be redefined

There currently is a leadership crisis in organisation. Research shows that as few as 13% of leaders manage to find the right balance between driving results and being people-oriented and most of them are fairly young. That’s why it makes perfect sense to trust younger employees in leadership roles, create reverse mentoring programs and establishing an effective pipeline for leadership talent.

Read more: On leadership development for Millennials

Creativity and the ability to think on one’s feet are far more valuable in today’s corporate world than prestigious degrees or renowned internships. There is no scarcity of information but very few have the capacity to filter and use it to their advantage.

Reward programs need to adapt

A fresh view on reward programs is also long overdue. The Deloitte study mentioned above showed that only 3% of organizations found an effective means of motivating their talented employees.

This is because the way that the old schemes were designed no longer hold any appeal for the Millennial demographic. They care more about flexibility, autonomy and purpose than about the monetary aspect. Today’s employees value being appreciated and allowed to grow and don’t think a lot before leaving a job that fails to live up to their expectations.

Today’s effective scheme should be based on continuous performance management, flexible work options, the opportunity for constant development and rewards that are meaningful to the employee.

There has to be a shift from business analytics to people data

The most important shift remains the transition from business analytics to people data.

Crunching numbers may still look good on pie charts but since in this economy skills drive results there is need for a more personalized approach. Rather than rooting all hiring or career-growth decisions on stale organization data, HR professionals must move into a different decision-making setting, one that is based on candidates' and employees' skills.

Human-centered solutions that are generated by real-time people analytics data (debriefs, interviews, performance reviews and 360 degrees evaluations) will lead to improved results in this dynamic and very different economy.

Over to you!

What are your thoughts about the skills people need to develop if they are to thrive in the workplace of the future? What else do Learning and Development departments need to consider if they are to successfully navigate the demands of this workplace? The comments section is all yours.

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