How the future of talent looks like?

We at Talent Vectia are huge fans of future. Even though there are many scary or at least potentially risky views about the future, there are also many unleashed opportunities and places for growth and learning both for organizations and individuals.

As AI, robots and technological development is getting even faster some might feel unsure about how the future looks like for them. Well, good news: according to World Economic Forum there won’t be a shortage of jobs in the era of robots but instead new opportunities to re-skill ourselves, provide even better solutions to our customers and to find more meaningful jobs.

However, with all the opportunities, there remains at least one critical question to solve: what would be the right steps to take – both as individuals and as organizations – to ensure skilled talents to fill in the new job opportunities? We know by research that skills, not education, matter in future. Freelance and project work will become the new norm and the focus should be in developing skills that help us, as individuals and as companies, to work in the new era. Also, we need to develop learning methods that are easily adapted into our daily work and to build agile learning platforms.

Coming back to my question: what would be the right steps to take?

Step 1: Put your people first – build learning programs for re- and upskilling

As we are heading towards – or actually living – the 4th industrial revolution, organizations need to systematically develop new ways of working and new ways of developing talent. According to Josh Bersin, many companies already struggle with skills shortage.

Not only do we need to find ways to move people more easily, we must do it in a way that respects the strengths and career goals of the individual and the business needs of the organization.” — Josh Bersin

What this means in action? Dialogue, I would say. Continuous dialogue on future needs and aspirations both for the organization and for the individuals. Making sense and finding meaningful opportunities for growth.

We at Talent Vectia believe that the key to success is to truly put people first. This should not be done only by recruiting new talent but rather building learning programs that provide employees with critical future skills and support agile ways of working and learning. Already today we know that nations and companies are building re- and upskilling programs to support their citizens to prepare for future. Learning and development should be a key investment for the future.

Step 2: Develop behavioral skills next to professional mastery

For quite a while now we have come to understand the importance of behavioral skills next to professional mastery as a key to success. Both WHAT and HOW matters. As work becomes more flexible as well as network and technology driven, it will become essential to develop and master skills such as self-leadership, teamwork, curiosity, adaptability and self-reflection. Also, as we use more and more data, AI and technologies, some of the key skills to develop are analytical and critical thinking, problem solving skills and an ability to truly understand the whole by working in “multiperspective” teams.

In the era of on-going change and working in networks, systemic thinking and interactional skills become essential. As robots take over many manual tasks, we as humans are left to develop our emotional intelligence and co-operation skills. Our ability to operate in diverse networks and systems to provide added-value to our customers and to our co-workers requires strong ability to understand human interaction and team dynamics. And the basis for learning and growth is to cultivate curiosity, growth mindset and open-mindedness both as individuals and as organizations. Adopting a trialing approach means there might be some errors in the way – opportunities for learning in our words.

Step 3: We will all become leaders – at least of ourselves

For individuals, the future of work provides huge opportunities for purposefulness and flexibility. We have more freedom to choose our working places and schedules with the technological advances and the working culture is shifting towards purpose, citizenship, and team-centricity. As our freedom and opportunities evolve it also brings us more responsibility to lead ourselves and to adopt an active role in setting our career targets, finding our learning paths and finding a balanced and productive approach to our work.

One thing to keep in mind for us all: it is far more exciting and empowering to take the driver’s seat in re-skilling ourselves. When you are not in the driver’s seat, change might feel scary and make us feel unsecure. Adopting a proactive approach in seeking for new opportunities to develop our skills actually makes us feel happier and in control of our life. Finding your learning path starts with questions: what I love the most? What drives me? What are my key values?

Step 4: Something new, something old – use the 70-20-10 rule

For talent development the old rule of 70-20-10 becomes crucial for us all: effective learning takes place in everyday working situations and in dialogue with our customers and colleagues. The key is to use reflection as a tool for learning – one of the most important future skills for us all. We learn in a dialogue with others. Thus, it is important to both create and seek opportunities to work with novel situations and people, take time for reflection with them and to carefully listen to different approaches and perspectives. Also, asking and receiving feedback is an important tool to use in skills development.

One of my favorite study shows that active learning methods are the most effective. Thus, digital and dialogical learning platforms like our LOGE are important tools for both organizations and individuals. Technology enables learning online, video-based, and non-real time and helps us to co-create and learn from each other.

Still find it difficult to explain to your organization why you should put effort in talent development? Perhaps referring to a recent study conducted in Finnish companies might do the trick. The results show that companies that take an active role in analyzing what skills are essential to meet their future strategic goals and actively develop their personnel in every organizational level, perform better in business gross margin. And not just economically but also from quality, customer satisfaction, equality and imago perspective, skills development and having the talent are keys for success.