Organisations find it increasingly difficult to quickly find and develop talent with the most in demand skills and at the same time 58% of the workforce needs new skills to get their jobs done, Gartner said recently.
Gartner TalentNeuron data shows the total number of skills required for a single job has been increasing by 10% year-over-year since 2017.
In addition, one in three skills in an average 2017 job posting in finance, sales or IT finance or sales are already obsolete, the advisory firm noted.
Emerging skills gaps due to ongoing business disruption and rapidly evolving needs have widened as a result of the current pandemic.
Many organisations have focused on talent acquisition to get the skills they need, however a 2020 Gartner survey revealed that 74% of organizations froze hiring in response to COVID-19, said Alison Smith, director in the Gartner HR practice.
“In today's environment, hiring is not possible for many organisations,” she observed. “Instead, companies can look at current employees who have skills closely matched to those in demand and utilise training to close any gaps.”
According to Gartner, HR leaders should do the followings when considering skills adjacencies to address skills needs:
- Increase transparency of current employee skill sets
- Identify and mobilise non-obvious skills adjacencies
- Adjust career pathing strategies to encourage flexible career progression
Gain better insight into skillsets
The first step to leveraging skills adjacencies is for HR leaders to collect information on current employee skill sets, which enables them to map out secondary and tertiary skills, Gartner pointed out.
Rather than creating a complete picture of current employee skill sets, many leading organisations focus on collecting key skills data that is just comprehensive enough to allow them to easily keep it current, the firm said.
Employees and their managers must be empowered and encouraged to main a portfolio of skills that are visible to HR, which will then enable HR to maintain a current view of skills for the organisation, Gartner advised.
Understand and prioritise skills adjacencies
To address critical skills needs through leveraging skills adjacencies, HR must determine which secondary or tertiary skills to begin building upon, said Gartner.
Leading organisations are using machine learning and large data to identify and unlock the power of skills adjacencies at scale, the firm observed.
Some progressive HR leaders have partnered with their own internal data science teams to ground upskilling efforts in current knowledge of employee capabilities and prioritise immediate skills application, the firm noted.
Encourage flexible career progression
Traditional career frameworks rely on the assumption that roles will remain relatively unchanged for years and move in a ladder-like trajectory, said Gartner.
As skills adjacencies begin to uncover new connections and career options, career paths will need to be more fluid and unrestricted by traditional roles and skills requirements, the firm advised.
Career paths need to be flexible enough to enable employees to move around in — often unconventional — ways that allow the organisation to best leverage employees’ skills adjacencies, said Smith.
“Uncoupling employees’ concept of ’progress’ away from just roles and titles empowers employees to be dynamic and ready to change course as the organisation needs,” she advised.