There’s a lot of buzz these days about the outlook for tomorrow’s talent. Global businesses and higher education institutions acknowledge that change is happening and they need to adapt, but don’t know where to start.
We talk about the skills gap, and why so many jobs go unfilled even as millions of people can’t find work. We discuss intelligent technologies and how they’re changing jobs. We talk about college graduates with staggering loan debts struggling to enter the workforce.
Yet too much of this talk is occurring at the 50,000-foot level when we need to hit the ground running. People are the heart of our businesses, and talent should be at the forefront of business strategy.
Think of it this way: when an organization faces a new threat, what does it do? It prepares. If a competitor starts to take away market share, it develops an aggressive plan to get it back. If a business models shifts in its industry, it creates a strategy to adapt. We must recognize that lack of insight and preparedness around tomorrow’s talent is a threat to the success of our organizations and the health of our society.
Rather than talking about it at such a high level, let’s get more specific. For example, here are some areas all business leaders need to better understand and communicate:
Skills. What future skills do we need to support our business strategies and changes within our organizations, and what are our plans to acquire those skills or reskill workers?
Partnerships. Are we pursuing, or do we need to pursue, collaboration opportunities in the wider community with higher education, training, or workforce development organizations?
Infrastructure and resources. How will we fund and build the needed programs, and find the people to support them?
Some leaders are very in touch with these areas because their companies have had to reskill significant portions of their workforces to support new business models or adapt to new technologies. But the reality is many of us are still in the early stages of understanding the problem.