Technology is transforming the workplace and fundamentally changing the way companies around the world are hiring talent. Skills – technological and “human” skills – are quickly becoming the new professional currency, a benchmark by which managers and human resource leaders are evaluating candidates.
More and more, employers are evaluating candidates first and foremost based on their skills rather than on their previous job titles or formal degrees. The most sought-after candidates have technology skills combined with human skills, a blend that translates into success in today’s rapidly changing workforce.
The good news is there is a place for multiple skill sets in this new economy. While all workers will need to have basic technology skills, as there will be few (if any) jobs that don’t require at least some interaction with technology, people without high-tech skills will continue to play a critical role. Problem-solving, creative thinking, empathy and communication skills – paired with the ability to leverage technological resources – will be in high demand.
Building Teams With a Blend of Technical and Human Skills
Forward-thinking companies are already adapting their hiring and talent development strategies to create dynamic teams with versatile skill sets. Organizations are not only looking for ways to attract and hire individuals with these profiles, but they are also seeking to develop these skills inside their existing workforces. Helping employees understand the skills they have and the ones they will need in the future is becoming a key component of career development initiatives.
High employee turnover, including the loss of institutional knowledge and a drain on resources, is a barrier to creating a skill-focused organizational structure. To offset attrition, employers are building “employee-first” cultures by training and developing workforces for the right mix of skills needed for long-term sustainability and short-term business results.
Viewing the Workforce in the “Skills Continuum”
Structuring organizations around teams and projects will require employees with diverse yet compatible skills to work together in flexible groups to achieve specific goals. For recruiters, it will mean positioning workers and applicants not primarily by their title but by their portfolio of skills and how well they can perform on specific projects and initiatives within an organization.
According to Deloitte, teams-based organizations are structured around four main precepts: shared values and culture, transparent goals and projects, free flow of information and feedback, and recognition for skills and abilities rather than position.
Creating Skill Assessments
A growing challenge for HR teams will be assessing the skills stated on candidate resumes and claimed by existing employees that are not easily demonstrated, such as creativity, communication, teamwork, adaptability and time management. To assess an individual’s interpersonal abilities, talent leaders have begun to lean on peer interviews, social media, crowd-sourcing technology and role-playing. Technologies that can measure a candidate or employee’s soft skills will become more popular as the demand for interpersonal skills rises.
Technology is replaced and upgraded in the workplace so frequently that employees and job candidates alike are struggling to keep up with the most in-demand skills. The most dynamic companies will build cultures of continuing education, where training is always occurring and workers are constantly upgrading their skills. Furthermore, internships, bootcamps and similar training programs will become more common. Simply put, managers can no longer rely on new hires to have all the skills required to handle every project that will arise on the job.
The global workforce is undergoing a paradigm shift, and old methods of hiring and training are unlikely to work well in the future. Organizations will continually adopt new technology and organize workers by their skill sets around team projects. Talent leaders will have to incorporate new ways of assessing both their current employees and potential candidates and be able match skill sets with company needs. A skills continuum model will replace traditional hierarchies, which will all revolve around the platforms that fuel the organization. The most successful companies will start now to view skills as the new global currency for workforce talent.