RippleWorx Education V.03 Things we Learned

October 26, 2021
5 min read
It’s time for the Great Rebuilding.

Conditions post pandemic (now being referred to as an endemic) are impacting organizations abilities to retain their top (and not so top) workers (check out my last Things We Learned V02). Furthermore, the need for different skill sets has accelerated across nearly every market and industry. A recent McKinsey global survey found that 58% of respondents identified closing skill gaps as a higher priority since the pandemic began.

The skills those companies listed as the highest priority were leadership, managing others, critical thinking, decision making, and project management. And, yes, advanced skills in IT, technology, complex processing, etc. were also listed, but the bulk of their focus is on developing social, emotional, and cognitive skills to drive a more employee centric environment AND deal with new, hybrid ways of working across most industries.

Hmmm. Why might that be? Not to simplify such a complex problem, but one reason I believe lies with the fear of the growing trend of employees leaving their professions. Our newest employee just made that exact same move. She left her entire industry to work in something new and different that gave her greater flexibility, growth and development, and an environment centered on her values and needs as a person.

So, what should you do about it?

I believe it is time we add a new “R” to the mix. Let’s call it the Great Rebuilding and the authors of “Three keys to building a more skilled pandemic workforce” have suggestions that I believe are useful and scalable. You don’t have to be a massive organization to put these steps into practice.  

1.     Know where you are.

The authors refer to it as finding your true starting point and it means to take a comprehensive view of the skills across the organization and then use that data as the basis for supporting supply and demand models for current and future roles. Do the skills and competencies align with the business strategy and integrate with solid talent practices? A strategy focused on the demands in your changing markets becomes inputs to your skills and the inventory of your skills is an output for understanding your strategic readiness.

2.     Rebuilding skills – it’s a way of life.

Your best asset for reskilling or upskilling for demands in the future is the workers you have today. Furthermore, data on engagement practices often point to the issue that poor development opportunities lead to very low engagement. Turning inward to your existing job pool and quickly reskilling workers is an excellent strategy for retention. A skills hub can help you balance the supply and demand of skills – manage, operationalize, and scale them.

3.     Adopt an ecosystem mindset.

The authors suggest through examples that “integrating skill building with the whole ecosystem in mind can help companies as well as the communities and other stakeholders.” In fact, one of our customer’s is building a learning ecosystem to grow early career industrial talent through technical skills and leveraging senior professionals at the organization as creators of content (think TikTok but short videos on how to weld). But they also realize that stopping there does not meet future demands of the business nor help support their growth goals. The leadership, along with their learning team, will expand this learning into the communities in which they operate and hire.

With the great resignation trend not slowing down, and other larger companies using pay to attract talent away, organizations must create compelling reasons to stay. Rebuilding your workforce from within using reskilling and upskilling could just be the right steps to keeping your best people AND meeting the changing demands of work and new ways of working.


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