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How to future-proof your talent strategy

04 May 2022

Do you have a future-proof talent strategy?

Alarmingly, only 16% of business leaders are ready to address the talent problems they face today, let alone the talent problems they’ll face tomorrow.

A future-proof talent strategy is one where a business has the people, processes and skills they need to thrive in the future world of work. A future filled with opportunity, change and disruption.

In this blog, we share how you can future-proof your talent strategy.

Future workforce planning

A future-proof workforce must be underpinned by a strategic workforce plan. A comprehensive roadmap that details the steps your business needs to take to succeed long-term with their talent strategy.

To develop a strong future workforce plan, you need to answer three key questions:

  1. Where is our workforce now?
  2. Where does our workforce need to be in the future?
  3. How do we get our workforce there?

To future-proof your talent strategy, you need to first understand your current position. Undertake a detailed analysis of your current workforce. Assess each employee and create a skills map that highlights your strengths, weaknesses, and gaps.

Secondly, you need to understand the key current and future trends affecting talent within your business and broader industry. These include the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors that’ll shape your future skills mix. For example, a tightening regulatory environment in finance will see demand for governance and compliance talent increase. Rapid advancements in technology for professional services companies will see demand for tech talent soar. Understanding what pressures will drive your business long-term will allow you to estimate the steps you need to take to future-proof your talent strategy. Just remember that much of the future working world remains unpredictable, and many skills you’ll eventually need don’t yet exist. Nonetheless, this research will put you on the right path, but you’ll need to constantly adjust your future workforce plan as time unfolds.

Combined knowledge from questions 1 and 2 will inform your approach to question 3 – How you will get there? This question refers to the strategies and tactics you’ll employ to reach your future talent goals.

Targeted Upskilling and Reskilling Programs

The most effective strategy to future-proof your workforce is upskilling and reskilling current employees. In dynamic sectors (e.g., technology, engineering) where the goal posts for skills are constantly shifting, you must create a work environment that encourages continuous learning. According to PWC,  39% employees fear their job will become obsolete in five years without upskilling or reskilling. So much so that 77% of employees are ready to learn new skills or completely retrain.

The beauty of ‘building’ your workforce is that you can curate and nurture particular skills you’ll need most in the future, and not be reliant on ‘buying’ talent in increasingly scarce supply. Refer to your future workforce plan and create training programs that push you closer to your talent goals. Focus on your skill weaknesses and gaps, but also don’t neglect your current strengths. As demand for skills evolve, so too must your workforce to maintain your competitive edge. If you consistently deliver targeted, creative, and engaging training programs for your employees, they will be far more prepared and ready for the future working world.

Embrace technological change

Undoubtedly the most disruptive force facing your future talent strategy is technology. It has the potential to simultaneously create, destroy and augment jobs in Australia’s workforce. According to the World Economic Forum, AI technology will create 97 million jobs and replace 85 million jobs – a net gain of 12 million jobs. If this proves to be true, it’ll mean that future jobs and skills will look very differently to what they do now, but the demand for human workers will endure.

As such, organisations must embrace technological change and ensure their workers have the skills to remain relevant and valuable in the future. This means upskilling and reskilling to work alongside technology to enhance individual productivity and organisational performance. Any future talent strategy that doesn’t consider the impact of technological advancement on workers is doomed to fail long-term. However, organisations that account for technology in their talent plan are more likely to future-proof their people.

The future world of work will be filled with opportunity, change and disruption. Some businesses will thrive, others will struggle. Your fate will be determined by how well you future-proof your workforce moving forward. At Ignite, our Talent Solutions team specialises in future training programs. We help upskill and reskill your team in critical future skills like cyber-security, data science and others to ensure your business has the people, processes and skills you need to succeed now and into the future.

Talk to our team to find our more!