The skills people need
Perhaps surprising to some, the most sought-after skills are not solely related to technology. While these do feature highly on many people’s lists, the top 10 in-demand skills feature a blend of hard and soft skills.1 The skills fall into four broad categories: problem-solving skills (such as analytical and creative thinking), self-management skills (such as resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility), people skills (such as leadership and social influence) and technological skills (such as design and programming).
Many of these skills are not confined to one function or level within a business, they’re skills everyone must develop to navigate constant disruption and deliver ongoing performance improvement.
Five ways the C-suite can support the reskilling of their workforces
While learning and development (L&D) teams have a key driving role in reskilling workforces, everyone has a part to play in delivering ongoing performance improvement. With rapid change and transformation essential to success, learning is no longer the sole responsibility of L&D teams to get right. Learning and continuous improvement is something everyone must take ownership for. Here are five ways that you as senior leaders can support your organisations in tackling the reskilling revolution.
1. Be adaptable
Role modelling begins at the very top. If you’re expecting your workforce to be adaptable and learn new skills to meet emerging demands, then you need to take the same approach. What’s got you to where you are now may not get you to where you need to go. You must consider where your own skills gap may lie and what you might need to unlearn.
2. Connect people to purpose
If you want people to engage in this new era of learning, you’ll need to develop and articulate your story as to why. As a starting point, you can help people to understand how their learning and reskilling directly supports the company’s mission and purpose, why they should care and exactly how they can go about getting the skills they need to succeed in their roles.
3. Think more collaboratively
If we are to reskill a global workforce, collaboration must be at the heart of our approach. As a senior leader, you can’t rely on leading from within. You need to step outside of your organisation and think more holistically, perhaps even collaborating with, and learning from, those you deem competitors.
For example, if there are three different types of fast-charging stations, each used by different car brands, the leaders of electrical car companies could work together collaboratively to decide on a universal charging plug, cutting out the need for add-ons such as adapters.
4. Seek out cognitive diversity
Creating an adaptable workforce is a pre-requisite to the ongoing upskilling and reskilling that will become part of our everyday lives. Building this adaptability at an organisational level will require diversity. Cognitive diversity will be particularly important as you’ll need people with lots of different perspectives to tackle challenges at pace. In many companies that have a strong culture, this can be a real challenge as emphasis on cultural fit in the recruitment process can result in hiring people similar to those already working there. This can then lead to problems such as group think, where the desire for group conformity leads to irrational decision-making, which in turn stifles adaptability.
5. Champion your L&D team
Due to advancing technology, requirements and expectations around learning have changed dramatically. L&D teams are aware of the challenge of resetting to something new and better, with two-thirds (66%) of L&D professionals globally reporting that they are focused on rebuilding and reshaping their organisations.2 As a senior leaders, you can support your L&D teams by connecting into their strategy, promoting their initiatives internally and taking an active role as learners yourselves.
As senior leaders, you must recognize the pivotal role you can play in supporting continuous learning and development in your organization. Try using these five behaviours and actions to support your organization as they navigate the reskilling revolution.