We recently invited Katy Tynan, Principal Analyst Employee Experience & Future of Work at Forrester, to share how organizations can take a skills-first approach to talent. Here are the three key takeaways from our May 2022 webinar…
1. It’s time to unbundle the Job
Traditional Enterprise organizational design is hierarchical, siloed and static – it’s not agile. We have boxes of jobs and we allocate staff to those boxes. But that doesn’t leave companies much room to be nimble. This approach also treats humans as if they are identical, non-changing machines.
But Katy believes – thanks to technological innovation – we can now embrace an evolving model that is more adaptive; one where we think of employees as people with skills and capabilities, and offer opportunities to learn new skills and meet their future aspirations.
This skills-centric approach means people do the right work in the right moment with the right skills and right tools… and we use automation for the tasks that humans cannot do, or do not represent a good use of their time.
In order to achieve this far more flexible organizational model, where employees feel like they are doing their best work, we need to leverage the on-demand workforce (contingent workforce aka gig economy) as well as automation. The missing piece in the puzzle is matching tasks with people: to create and apply a universal skills language to the world of work.
2. The key barrier to the adoption of automation is skills development
Despite what some may believe, increasing amounts of automation is not eliminating jobs: it is simply augmenting them. A shift to automated processes, however, does require some retraining, upskilling and mindset changes amongst the human beings doing the work humans need to do.
A Forrester Data and Analytics Survey showed that the top three challenges of adopting automation technologies are People related: the lack of required skills, and the cultural changes needed to make digital transformation really successful.
What is holding back the workforce from adapting to the Future of Work is a Skills Gap… but we don’t tend to spend a lot of time trying to help our employees get more comfortable with technology. We need to start approaching this as an important learning process.
3. Your approach to learning and development needs to change
In order to address this automation skill gap (that is, harmonizing people and technology), organizations need to look at their learning strategy – and move from the old model of traditional learning that is HR and administration-focused, to a more learner-centered approach. It is about creating a employee-centric experience.
Indeed, the L&D strategy ought to extend beyond the organization. By mapping and tracking skills beyond the employees today, you can more quickly bring the right skills in when necessary tomorrow.
Aim to connect learning to business outcomes – not just measuring how many people completed a course – and create a learning community. Ground your strategy in science – the 70/20/10 learning model, where 70% of time is spent on ‘doing’, 20% is spent on watching (shadowing others) and 10% is focused on coursework or formal training.
Katy also mentioned that less than 1% of employees’ time is dedicated to learning.
In order to close the skills gap, Katy recommended:
- Building in at least 10-20% of time that people can dedicate to learning and development, whether that is formal learning, on-the-job learning or social learning.
- Investing in adaptive learning technology to connect people with the resources that will enable them to discover, explore and assess their skills.
- Developing a Coaching Culture: train managers to be coaches, who know that part of their job is to help their team to develop skills and find opportunities in talent marketplaces.