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Your workforce needs a robust skills strategy!

Anita Lettink
Anita Lettink
Hey there,
and welcome to the first edition of 2021! Even though we’re only 3 weeks into the new year, I already feel like we’re just extending 2020. Fingers crossed for a better year!
When we look back in a few years, I’m pretty sure we’ll look at the workplace “before” and “after” Covid-19. The pandemic has accelerated workplace and workforce changes that otherwise would have taken us 5+ years to roll out.
Which brings me to the importance of skills, the topic of the month. Even before the pandemic, we knew that the skills needed in the future of work are vastly different from what is available today. Many skills now have a life time of 12-18 months. CEOs realize they need upskilling programs to ensure access to workers with the right skill sets. That’s why you need a skills strategy today!
The “war” for skilled talent isn’t over - despite the pandemic, skilled workers are in high demand and can switch to new jobs. They place high value on the opportunity to acquire new skills, to stay relevant and remain an attractive candidate. If their employer doesn’t address that need, it will be hard to get them to sign up.
In the past, upskilling meant official training. These days, it’s much more than that: people can take advantage of mentoring programs, MOOC’s, attend virtual classes from famous universities, or learn on the job and receive a certificate to prove that. Courses are action-based, just-in-time, and focused on acquiring a particular skill while using modern technologies like gamification.
That requires you to adopt a new skilling mindset to build a corporate program that’s strategic and agile, and relevant to business objectives. It must be well-suited to the needs of learners, as people have different preferences when acquiring new skills: some learn best through learning by doing, while others prefer to participate in classroom events or private tutoring.
There are many startups creating innovative solutions to help you address the skills gap. You can find some of them on hrtechradar.com. I interviewed the founders of huapii and Glean Labs for this month’s background article on skills. And the links below will help you get educated on the skills economy, so you know what to do!
Next month, the topic is payroll innovation. Please reach out if you have something to share.
Have a great day, Anita

Insights & Ideas on the skills economy
Growth motivates your people. It’s a key element of the employee value proposition. But learning is not the same as before. Alternative approaches to motivate learners are gaining ground, like gamification and micro-learning. Learn about the 5 upskilling trends for 2021 from Shekhar Bhattacharjee.
Learning closes skills gaps and elevates productivity. That is why it’s important to focus on up and reskilling as strategic enablers that unlock potential, and drive productivity and performance. To understand how others create a supportive environment for learning, download the learning and skills at work trends and practices from CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.
The internal talent marketplace is evolving into an opportunity marketplace. This next-generation marketplace goes beyond matching people with full-time roles: it provides employees with access to gig work, mentorship, rotation programs, stretch and volunteering assignments, to give them innovative and skill-building experiences that align with business needs. Why? Because employees are looking to maximize experiences and their contract with you is just one of their interests.
Employees know they need to reskill: 75% are more motivated to improve their technical or professional skills as a result of covid-19. Yet companies, and especially HR, are slow in addressing this need as they are consumed with short term issues. While that is understandable, it’s a big problem. The Future of Work Arrives Early explains why, supported by insightful charts.
Self-management, as well as social and emotional intelligence are some of the most critical skills people need to thrive. A mentoring program is especially helpful for employees looking to acquire these particular skills. Listen to this huapii hour where Prof. Dr. Dirk Buyens & Sarah Quataert from Vlerick Business School explain the steps to successfully roll out such a program.
Or watch this webinar on Redefining Workforce Needs for the Decade Ahead to learn how fast skills are changing and what skills will be needed to thrive. Matt Sigelman takes a data-driven approach to clearly lay out how you can build a workforce with the right skill sets, depending on the economy you are in.
Meet the Innovators
Check out these new HRTechRadar members:
Culture & Engagement: Guusto
Service Management: Gyde
Talent Acquisition: Bryq
What’s next?
It would be nice to believe that 2021 will be about stability and getting back to normal; however, this year is likely to be another one full of major transitions, writes Brian Kropp. There are nine forces that will shape business in 2021, one of them being that the employer will take an active interest in an employee’s life experience. Discover the others in 9 Trends That Will Shape Work in 2021 and Beyond. (And yes, the skills gap makes the list.)
The pace of work will only increase! Goodbye and good riddance 2020. What will we see in 2021? tells the story. Written by Nicole Quinn from Lightspeed Venture Partners, the article provides insight in how investors look at the future of work and technology. Why is that important? Because it gives you an idea of what type of solutions they think will play a key role.
Mental health made both of the above lists, and will be front and center as we deal with the fallout of the pandemic. While companies introduced mental health programs before, it’s clear that body and mind play equal roles in keeping employees happy and productive.
Companies are investing in technology to help address this issue, and employees are more willing to share private data in return for help. But they remain reluctant in sharing their feelings with other people: did you know that more than 40% of your employees prefer talking to a bot over human interaction?
And if you are working on a better employee experience, you need to start with a Zero UI in mind. And then explore this Career Stack Framework for an overview of tools and solutions empowering the new career journey.
Jobs
Movers and shakers
The latest funding rounds and company updates: the year started a bit slow, but kicked into high gear this week with large investments in HCM Suites for the SMB market:
Events
See you next month!
Do you have comments, questions, tips, links for the next issue? Send me a note or schedule a chat.
Written by Anita Lettink. I write about workplace innovation and the future of work. I run HRTechRadar to showcase startups. I’m also an analyst & advisor: if you have questions about HR, payroll and outsourcing I’d be happy to help. You can connect with me on Linkedin or Twitter.
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Anita Lettink
Anita Lettink @let_anita

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