The acceleration of changes brought about by the pandemic increased the risk of a rapid growth of people without necessary skills. While epidemiologists seek to “flatten the curve of cases”, in the world of work it would be virtuous to do so with the curve of those who are unemployed.
In a context as complex and uncertain as the current one, it seems difficult to see beyond isolation. However, little by little, we are starting to think about “the day after” and which aspects to focus on.
The changes that are taking place will establish new habits. In particular, in the workplace, what appeared to be “the work of the future” has accelerated its arrival. At the beginning of the pandemic, virtual team meetings were standard practice for just a few. Today they are essential to enable business operations and there is almost no company that does not use them on a daily basis.
It is clear that “the work of the future” requires different skills than ones that are common today. Some are simple technological competencies – such as opening an account in BlueJeans and scheduling a meeting with three colleagues while others are behavioral – such as adapting communication to achieve similar progress to what could be achieved in a face-to-face meeting. Complex skills are also required. For example, an increasing number of positions today require predictive analytics knowledge, even in functions such as human resources, where we hardly have people with “hard” skills.
This acceleration in changes brought about by the pandemic increased the risk of a rapid growth of people without necessary skills. While epidemiologists seek to “flatten the curve of cases”, in the world of work it would be virtuous to “flatten the curve” of unemployment.
As organizations, and in particular, from the Human Resources (HR) function, where do we focus to achieve this ambitious goal? At Mercer, we see four areas of action:
The opportunities and responsibilities of HR are to act in relation to each of those four axes described above – allowing us to contribute to our organizations and society as a whole.