What will the post-pandemic world of work look like? And how can businesses shape it? Among the topics that will dominate the 4th industrial revolution is talent management. To close the skills gap, companies will need to adopt a new approach that will lead to more investment in people and their skills.

Out with the old, in with the new talent? In the reskilling revolution, no approach to HR management could be more archaic. The consequences of replacing workers instead of investing in them can be devastating, and it’s costing companies billions.

Recent studies have shown that up to $136,000 can be saved per employee if reskilling, upskilling, and redeployment are used instead of lay-offs. Plus, according to the PwC Annual Global survey, 79% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of skills, which is up from 63% five years ago.

Photo by Khara Woods on Unsplash

To better encapsulate the struggle of talent management, companies need to approach their ROI goals in a different manner. Businesses should put the emphasis on people, reskilling, and on re-energizing the workforce and thus adopt a new Return on Individuals approach. Without this shift, companies are in danger of going out of business, concludes the new study developed by LHH, The new ROI: A Return on Individuals.

Leading with action

By 2030, it’s estimated that around 400 to 800 million people could be laid-off and looking for work due to a lack of industry-specific skills, and only the organiations who have dealt with the issue will still exist. Without businesses, there will be no jobs but without skilled labour, there will be no businesses.

Companies like IBM, Amazon, and PwC are taking direct action. They’re investing in widespread upskilling and reskilling programmes across their entire workforce. Only recently, a large financial services firm inverted their investments in development and outplacement. In-company development became 70%, and outplacement 30%. This resulted in a $15m to $20m gain in annual ROI, and $3m to $5m was saved annually in severance and recruitment expenses.

Multinational powerhouses drive reskilling trends. Thousands of employees are being trained around the world in cutting-edge training centres like KPMG’s new Florida facility. The $450 million investment plans to give over 32,000 thousand workers access to the training they need. Not all organizations can create training centres with 44 acres of land, but with over 800 training partners, KPMG understands the future of workforce transformation.

Your path to a renewable workforce

So how exactly can businesses develop a future-proof talent ecosystem? Their roadmap needs to be underpinned by these six distinct stages of planning:

  1. Visualize. By considering organizational design in hand with future skill requirements, you can develop a broad vision of your company’s needs. To begin executing this plan, begin with two basic questions: what types of people do you need, and where are you going to find them?

  2. Assess. To transform your workforce, you should begin by looking at your in-house talent. This involves assessing the suitability, adaptability, and potential of your current employees.

  3. Commit. Transparency is vital if you want trust and commitment from your workforce. In the face of profound change, it’s common for some employees to have a ‘hold-on-to-what-I-have’ mentality. Make sure they understand that a future-proof workforce translates into options, not cutbacks.

  4. Execute. New approaches to reskilling are required to produce rapid results. Your internal labour must be aware of the options to train for different roles in the organization. Creative exit options must be presented, as well as incentives to stay with the company.

  5. Rethink. Even world-leading organizations don’t get future-proofing right 100% of the time. If your job matching and skill intervention policies are open to constant review, internal movement, and workforce agility increases.

  6. Improve. The evolution of your workforce transformation will require detailed analyses. Look for both quick and long-term plays that can improve on what you’ve already done. Current employee engagement, as well as alumni sentiment should be measured. You can use this feedback to inform your strategy and avoid threats to employee training ROI.

Global cooperation

In talent management, one message resonates above all others: cooperation between governments, corporations, and individuals leads to success. Cooperation can be improved with these steps:

Governments – Reskilling must be incentivised by public institutions. Differentiated tax treatment between lay-off costs and current workforce investment should be introduced, so that that severance costs and reskilling benefits are highlighted. This will help innovative financial mechanisms to be embraced, which will improve cooperation, and close the skills gap.

Corporations – What is the purpose of a corporation? To produce long-term value for employees, communities, and customers as well as high-level investors. Support mechanisms must be introduced which help employees to understand any skills gaps (assessment), and opportunities must be opened which guide them towards opportunities (coaching) – to empower development and realise potential.

Individuals – It’s essential to have personal ownership over your own talent. Consider it your duty – before your organization’s – to find out what new skills, upskilling, and reskilling opportunities are available. You must ask yourself what your ‘career fitness’ is at all times. Plus, ask your manager about their workforce transformation strategy, appraise yourself, and bring this to the table to formulate a cooperative development plan.


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