Changes in business and the world make skilling even more important.
When an organization is growing, skills need to change and update constantly. That’s a good thing for the talent development (TD) profession and is generally a good thing for the organization, noted ATD President and CEO Tony Bingham during a recent 2022 Japan webinar.
Bingham joined UMU Entrepreneur CEO Dongshuo Li in examining how technology and a robust learning culture are critical to organizational success. Success can only be achieved, however, if the many challenges organizations and talent leaders face—including quiet quitting and quiet firing, change fatigue, burnout, and more—are addressed.
The global webinar, moderated by Masashi Urayama, president of IP innovations and advocate for the ATD international member network, was the third of the 2022 Japan series.
Reason for Changing SkillsSkills gaps are mismatches of current skills capabilities against what a company needs, explained Bingham. Sometimes this is a result of technology. Beyond the organization itself, there may be a shortage of available workers locally or even globally with the necessary skill sets—manufacturing and healthcare are clear examples.
Operational strategies also may necessitate new skills, for example, as a result of a new product line or business direction. Finally, skills may need to be developed because of a knowledge loss resulting from retiring individuals or employees leaving the organization.
Required SkillsAmong the skills needed are technical or functional ones, along with skills that have become more important to organizational culture in the hybrid or remote work environment, such as critical thinking, problem solving, people management, and decision making, Bingham pointed out. CEOs, too, are valuing a general service mentality and empathy more and more as they see the stress employees face not only in work-life but also from the macroenvironment, such as challenging economic situations. Finally, Bingham added CEOs seek talent who understand the business.
This skills list is long. Workers need to be adaptive to their environment, and Li suggested a megaskill that is critical: learning. Being able to learn helps us master the other required skills.
Learning ConstraintsWhile there are many skills to acquire for our new world of work, there are constraints to doing so. One of these is that we have yet to maximize the effectiveness of development in the hybrid space, according to Bingham. Technology, while enormously helpful, still does not allow for full engagement from and with learners.
But artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving, and it’s a critical component to learning technology. Li explained that just as individuals continue growing and learning, so too does AI continue to learn based on what the learner knows. But AI is not effective on its own, Bingham noted; it’s critical that TD professionals curate content.
Another constraint TD and other leaders face with hybrid or remote work is the loss of culture. This is a unique value add of organizations and is important to their success.
Continuous SkillingLi spoke to the changing demands and opportunities for the TD profession, emphasizing that we have an even stronger responsibility not only to develop on-the-job skills, but also to develop employees as human beings.
“We’re never done learning,” stressed Bingham. It’s not always going to be easy, but we’ve got to put the work in and persevere.
Learn more about the skills gap and how to address it in your organization by accessing the ATD Research report Bridging the Skills Gap: Workforce Development in Changing Times.