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October 2019
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TD Magazine

Still Getting Ready

Nearly all organizations are preparing for the future of work but still have much to do.

What's one thing forward-looking companies and doomsday preparers have in common? Preparation. The main difference is that while doomsday preppers brace themselves for seemingly far-out possibilities, organizations are getting ready for something inevitable: the future of work—the immense change occurring in technology, talent, and business.

According to a recent Thomsons Online Benefits report, 99 percent of companies are taking at least one action to prepare for the new skills landscape. Some common preparation strategies within this vast majority include:

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  • identifying gaps between current and required skills supplies
  • developing future-focused people strategies
  • adapting skill requirements to new technologies and business objectives
  • revising workforce plans to close skills gaps
  • identifying how employees may support or disrupt changes
  • redesigning jobs.

Despite those efforts, other research shows that companies have only made limited progress when it comes to future readiness. When ATD Research released its The Future of Work report in May, only 24 percent of the 444 talent development professionals who participated in the study believed their organization's workforce was well prepared for the future of work in terms of skills needed.

You may wonder: How can talent development professionals contribute to their companies' future readiness? One action recommended in the ATD report is to develop a culture of learning.

With the need to reskill employees, develop soft skills, and train people on new technologies, creating an environment that encourages employee growth can provide an edge. Another ATD report, Building a Culture of Learning, released in 2016, found that 66 percent of talent development professionals believed a learning culture would enhance their organization's ability to effectively respond to change. Maybe those preparing for doomsday should give it a try.

About the Author

Alex Moore is a junior research analyst for the Association for Talent Development. Alex returned to ATD in 2019 after spending a year living and working in Chile. Prior to moving abroad, Alex was a writer/editor for ATD working on TD magazine, a research coordinator at ATD, and a customer care advocate at ATD. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 2015 with a B.A. in English.

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