The importance of skills at work: Navigating in a fast-transforming landscape
November 29, 2023
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the importance of skills at work has never been more significant. As industries undergo profound transformations, leaders are finding that their time is increasingly spent on driving change and innovation rather than executing day-to-day operations.
This shift towards transformative leadership is underscored by a growing emphasis on reskilling the workforce. Reskilling and upskilling are on everybody’s lips. This trend was reflected strongly at Unleash Paris 2023 and DEVLEARN 2023 in Las Vegas, there was never so much interest in artificial intelligence and skills.
Reskilling for the future
According to PwC, CEOs are devoting a considerable amount of their time to transforming their organizations, with a primary focus on reskilling their workforce. The ever-accelerating pace of technological advancement and industry disruption demands that companies adapt rapidly. It is not just about recruiting new talent but about enabling existing employees to acquire the skills needed for the future.
The growing shortage of qualified workers has shifted the focus of many companies. Retaining and attracting top talent have become paramount, necessitating a change in mindset: from being client-centric to employee-centric. This transition highlights the ultimate importance of attracting, keeping and developing talents equipped with the necessary skills to excel in an ever-changing environment. The employee with his or her individual needs is at the center of the organization. And the success of the organization is underpinned by skilled and motivated learners who are engaged and fulfilled by the opportunities available to them. Digitalization enables individualization, which challenges L&D departments to think about new approaches: increasingly focusing on the Employee Experience (EX), making it easier for employees to constantly upskill as well as identifying possible development opportunities and next careers.
The role of AI as an enabler for skills
As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to advance, it will transform the landscape of learning and development. Expect AI to revolutionize content generation, content assembly, online coaching, precision learning, simulations, case studies, quizzes, assessments, and even teaching through AI bots.
AI has made it easier to understand skill gaps within the workforce and with personalized learning to close them faster than ever before. However, the challenge now is not just identifying these gaps but implementing strategies to close them effectively. This includes all forms of learning from on-the-job training (gigs, projects, assignments), and mentorship up to off-the-job learning. And each individual defines the right mix from the received recommendations.
A skills ontology provides a structured framework that organizes and defines the various tasks, capabilities and competencies within an organization. It plays a key role as it connects all different aspects of personalized learning and workforce management. It is the currency that connects employees with career opportunities, indicates development gaps and recommends the corresponding learning content. If the skill ontology is AI-driven, it can even collect and consolidate skills, benchmark them in the external market, understand what is the same or similar, predict their relevance, and value them.
Start now, embrace skills
The pressure to overcome the ever-changing challenges of fast-changing workplaces is mounting. Skills are undoubtedly a crucial part of the solution. Start now, embark on this journey in one area, and adopt an agile, exploratory approach. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by embracing the importance of skills at work in the rapidly evolving business world. The future belongs to those who equip their workforce with the skills necessary to thrive in the age of disruption.
Learning becomes less expensive as training times get reduced and employees acquire the necessary skills more quickly, which ultimately helps companies adapt to change faster.
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