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Identify Skills of the Future

Don't rely on a crystal ball; instead, use an iterative process to proactively identify future skills.

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  • Cara Bannon, Director, Human Resources, IMRF
  • Denise Brass, Workforce Manager, Shopify
  • Robert Collins, Director, Workforce Development, London Economic Development Corporation
  • Michael Fairless, Associate Director, Learning & Leadership Development, WE
  • Dan George, Founder and CEO, Piper Key
  • Keisha Osbourne Grant, Senior Manager, Transformation & Change, Telecommunications Services of Trinidad & Tobago Limited
  • Doug Hamor, Workforce Planning & Strategies Leader, Suncor Energy
  • Giselle Mota, Principal, Future of Work, ADP
  • Ugo Orsi, IT VP Technology Operations, Loblaw Companies Limited
  • Sarah Sheffer, Director of Strategic Workforce Planning, Henry Ford Health System
  • Emilian Siman, Senior Data Analyst, EMO Workforce Planning and Development Board
  • Ross Sparkman, Head of Workforce Planning, LinkedIn
  • Qamar Zaman, Senior Business Analyst, Greater Toronto Airports Authority
  • HR is not equipped with the data needed to properly address the skills gap. There is a lack of successful processes for forecasting future skills (United Nations, 2020).
  • Reacting to changes rather than following a process to identify future skills puts organizations at risk of falling behind. Not having the right future skills in place can negatively affect a company‚Äôs performance. It can reduce innovation, increase talent costs, lower quality and customer service standards, and make it much more difficult to pursue market opportunities (PwC, 2019).

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • There is no cure-all for understanding what skills your organization will need in the future. HR must embed an iterative process to identify the future skills needed and the gap with current skills in the workforce to execute organizational and talent strategies.

Impact and Result

  • Scope the future skills identification process and design a pilot to uncover future skills and the skills gap. Iterate and apply this process throughout the organization to identify future skills.
  • Modify and/or create new roles to incorporate future skills into your organization.

Research & Tools

1. Determine process scope and design a pilot

Determine scope, analyze data, set goals, and identify stakeholders and pilot participants.

2. Uncover the skills gap

Gather insights about the pilot group, uncover current and future skills that are aligned with tasks to identify gaps, and prioritize.

3. Modify roles or create new ones

Identify pilot group roles requiring future skills, then modify or create new roles and communicate role changes to pilot segment.

4. Integrate and plan to operationalize the process

Gather feedback on the pilot, reclassify future skills, and support them through aligned HR programs. Determine modifications to process and build a communication plan for the organization.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a ten call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Determine process scope and design a pilot

Call #1 - Determine the scope of the process and identify relevant data.
Call #2 - Review data and select pilot segment and stakeholders.

Guided Implementation #2 - Uncover the skills gap

Call #1 - Plan to uncover and define current skills.
Call #2 - Review current skills and plan to define future skills.
Call #3 - Review future skills and identify gaps.

Guided Implementation #3 - Modify roles or create new ones

Call #1 - Uncover roles requiring future skills.
Call #2 - Review whether to modify current roles or create new ones.

Guided Implementation #4 - Integrate and plan to operationalize the process

Call #1 - Review feedback from the pilot.
Call #2 - Plan for HR program alignment to support future skills.
Call #3 - Review future skills identification process.