As we enter the next phase of the pandemic and restrictions ease, organizations are looking for answers on how to return to work effectively and how to adapt to the new shape of work. Many companies rightly believe the answer to emerging as strong as before – if not stronger – lies in skills and reskilling. That is, by focusing efforts on the workforce skills critical to a successful and resilient future, companies will be able to spur organizational agility and meet the rapidly evolving needs of the business and the market. An employer’s ability to reskill and upskill is hence the practical lens through which to measure progress on agility.
Yet, organizations are finding it challenging to make timely decisions about whether to reskill, recruit, or outsource for a particular skill in the absence of good information. According to Mercer’s 2020 Global Talent Trends research, two in five HR leaders acknowledge they don’t know what skills they have in their workforce today and, just as concerning, only one in three are quantifying their skills gap against business objectives. So as employers plan the return to work, poor knowledge of their workers’ skills leaves many in a disadvantaged position: it is tough to make strategic, targeted and efficient workforce decisions in the dark.
Reset around skills
Resetting around skills can fuel organizational capability. Skills are key to adaptability, a crucial consideration when only 45% of executives believe their workforce can adapt to the new world of work.
Skills and offering reskilling opportunities are also a vital part of the reward package that binds employees to the organization and energizes them. We know that thriving employees are four times more likely to experience a culture of learning and growth, and 78% of employees say they are ready to reskill. In the current pandemic-induced uncertainty, the most valuable currency an employer can provide to an employee is the opportunity to develop skills that lead to a sustained career and financial security for the employee and their family.
Data and tools fuel skills
To support this re-setting, employers are looking to advance skill-enabled career development and pay strategies. To execute on these strategies, data and technology are required.
Prior to the pandemic, skills were in the spotlight featured in publication after publication as an area of focus for business and HR leaders. While COVID-19 has upended much about work, skills remain as relevant as ever – indeed they are essential to unlock the power of your people when you need them most.