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The Disruption Era: Skills-Based Hiring and Development for a Future-Proof Workforce

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Posted On Jul 02, 2024 

This week, LHH took part in the 2024 SHRM Annual Conference and Expo in Chicago, IL. While there, we hosted a Mini Talent Conversation Series at the HR Strategy and Innovation Theater. This series aimed to showcase our upcoming fall events and discuss the current ideas and challenges facing the global workforce of the future.


On day two of the event, we held our second mini conversation titled, The Disruption Era: Skills-Based Hiring and Development for a Future-Proof Workforce. We were joined by three outstanding panelists:


  • Tisha Danehl - Ecosystem Partnerships, LHH
  • Gretchen Jacobi - SVP, Enterprise General Assembly
  • Christine Castaneda - Head of Recruitment Solutions, North, LHH


As noted in our first mini-conversation on day one of SHRM, the importance of investing in skills development cannot be understated. Now more than ever, employees are looking to their employers to provide internal space for upskilling and professional growth rather than looking externally to fill new positions.


In a recent LHH research study, The Great Potential - The Global Workforce of the Future, 30,000 workers from 23 different countries were surveyed. In today’s panel, the speakers were asked which findings stood out to them most.


“What stood out to me is that 50% of workers believe employers are responsible for upskilling and reskilling them to prepare for a digital future. When you’re training your employees, you want them to be better, faster, and stronger at the end of it and have the ROI to prove it. However, this statistic (50%) shows that the knock-on effects of talent attraction and talent retention benefits are huge because employees expect those programs. And they don’t expect them so that they can be better at their job. They expect them because they expect their employers to invest in them and bring them along on the journey.” - Gretchen Jacobi


Some findings from The Great Potential highlighted the frequency at which employees contemplate their careers. Almost half of workers (47%) are looking at open roles, and a third (33%) say they think about their career plans daily or weekly. In total, 72% of workers contemplate their future plans—such as their next job, reskilling, or upskilling, and it’s no less than quarterly.


“What jumped out at me the most is that 72% of workers contemplate new career plans at least quarterly. And when I think about my team, I talk to them once, maybe twice a year, about what they’re really looking for—and not just their career path but what new skills they’re looking for that I can help them upskill. But [as managers], we don’t have those conversations enough, and I think it needs to be brought into weekly meetings to figure out what’s next for them.” - Christine Castaneda


The bottom line: managers and organizations need to invest in internal programs that allow their existing employees to reskill, upskill, and have the opportunity for mobility. But what role does AI play in the changing job market and business landscape? Talent is essential to digitalization and AI. In the changing talent marketplace, employers have an opportunity to build organizations around the skills they need (AI-integrated skills). Workers will be ready and drawn to employers who invest in skills training, mobility, and non-linear career paths.


However, these needs are driving a noticeable shift in how talent looks for opportunity and how organizations attract the right people. According to the panelists, more and more companies are highlighting the need for skills rather than a four-year degree. This shift is opening up the candidate pool for many businesses and gaining them a competitive edge against their competitors.


“We all know that a four-year degree is not actually what we’re looking for - we’re looking for the skills. So if you break your search down to the skills specifically, you’re going to greatly increase the pool of candidates that you can attract for your jobs, and it will be a huge competitive advantage relative to your competition.” - Gretchen Jacobi


“We’ve seen a shift in the hiring process of people incorporating assessments a lot more, pre-hire, to make sure these candidates know the skills and to give them a platform to showcase those skills if they lack a degree. This way, we can move forward with that candidate—so it’s really refreshing to see our clients open their minds up and also their candidate pool to acknowledge a bigger crowd.” - Christine Castaneda


The LHH conversation series offers a valuable platform for professionals to connect, network, and learn about the latest developments in their respective industries. If you wish to attend in the future, watch for upcoming events in your area and explore the “Great Potential, Global Workforce of the Future” report for more insights into these trends.


Interested in gaining deeper insights? Watch the complete session now.