demonstrated through various methods such as formally identifying
continuous learning in the organization’s overall business
strategy and modelling positive upskilling behaviours.
Other approaches include fostering a growth mindset and
ingraining learning into the daily workflow. Managers can do this
informally, by incorporating lessons learned into review meetings
and providing job shadowing opportunities, and formally, by integrating
upskilling expectations into performance plans.
Finally, an effective upskilling strategy should be inclusive
and accessible for all, regardless of role, tenure or age. RBC, for
example, hosts a live podcast series called RBC Disruptors which
delivers insights through monthly conversations about disruption
and innovation. While every episode may not be pertinent to
every listener’s work, RBC believes that expanding knowledge and
thinking is relevant to everything their employees do.
2. IDENTIFY CRITICAL FUTURE SKILLS
Leaders need to work together to: 1) identify and prioritize
the key skills that will be required in their organization in the
future to drive both business and talent results, considering both
functional- and organization-level requirements; and 2) conduct
an honest and realistic assessment of current capabilities to determine
the largest skills gaps. This process is far from simple, yet it’s
To help identify skills gaps, digital self-assessments, which are
useful when evaluating data and digital acumen, and peer-to-peer
assessments, which are more appropriate for assessing soft skills
such as learning agility, curiosity and empathy, can be very effective.
Data analytics tools, particularly predictive analytics and artificial
intelligence (AI) are being used successfully by some
organizations to more effectively identify and assess employee
skills gaps. IBM’s “Your Learning” is an example of an AI-driven
learning platform that has been employed with great success: 70
per cent of IBM employees today have the skills they need for the
future compared to just 40 per cent five years ago.
3. APPLY A MULTI-FACETED APPROACH TO
DEVELOP CRITICAL SKILLS
Once an organization identifies its critical future skills and existing
gaps, it can design upskilling activities that will have the most
impact. Leaders should develop a multi-faceted approach based on
the unique needs of their employees, the degree of skill development
required and how quickly they need to scale.
One approach is to “raise the water level” to enhance the organization’s
baseline level of skills. Many firms are using this
approach to “level up” the core data and digital literary skills of
their workforces; leveraging technology to provide employees with
a personalized experience.
hr career path
26 ❚ APRIL 2019 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL