Despite the pandemic-induced growth in unemployment levels, there remains a growing and global shortage of high-skilled workers.
Hiring in talent can no longer be the only solution. Organizations must look within and develop an internal pipeline of talent to meet future needs. The aim must be to understand the current skills and capabilities, to know what is needed going forward and know how to build a path to reskill and upskill the workforce.
However, a future-ready team also needs to operate in the here-and-now. They need to be able to execute their current roles, while preparing for their future roles. How can employers access the current talent DNA that their organization needs?
The initial challenge is to understand the DNA profile of current talent and what is needed going forward. The skills needed to become future-ready are likely to already exist within your company – at least in part. If you can understand these and articulate what is needed, you can then begin to share and socialize these.
Standardizing these skills is an important step in preparing your workforce for the future. If you can isolate and identify the most valuable skill sets, you can replicate them. An initial audit of the shape of the current skills will give individuals valuable insight into their own strengths, as well as providing a view of where your company is now. Talent assessment can give you these insights into abilities, preferences and competencies.
The best way to develop a future-ready workforce is not through organizational coercion but from the employee choosing to invest in their own career journey. To this end, it is important to give employees a line of sight of the possibilities and reskilling options. This will provide them with a significant degree of control over their training and development route.
The well-used metaphor of climbing the career ladder is no longer valid. A more relevant one is that of being on a journey. As with all journeys, there are options to follow different routes and paths at various times – and, indeed, career maps in which progression is made not only within one function, but across several.
To help build these maps, career patterns can be highlighted. Certain competencies and behaviors needed for success in different parts of the organization can be grouped together to form job neighborhoods. They are founded on the understanding that certain job groupings are more aligned with certain competencies and skills and can be grouped together. These can help you map the shared characteristics that support digital readiness to skill-specific, functional job groupings that currently serve you.
Once aligned with job pathways, employees can match their skill sets to a series of interconnected job pathways. They get to clearly see possible routes to take. Job neighborhoods open up new pathways for employees based on their existing skill level and help them map their future within your organization.
Creating job neighborhoods serves as a valuable tactic to encourage employee career ownership. It also showcases the future direction that you have for the organization. Employees get to see multiple options regarding their mobility and your organization benefits from the distinct, individual career paths. If employees can work with their supervisors to determine their own career trajectories, they will be more likely to buy in to reskilling initiatives and contribute to the growth of your organization’s internal talent pipeline.