You need a skills-based approach to recruiting and developing talent

By Ryan Roslansky

As the global economy undergoes massive changes, companies look to improving or strengthening the skills of their employees with a renewed sense of urgency. Success will require major changes in thinking about how hiring and employee development is done.

The economic toll of the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to leave more than 140 million people unemployed and 1.6 billion people at risk of loss of income. Sadly, many of the jobs lost simply will not come back. At the same time, some companies and industries cannot hire quickly enough. Shifting to a skills-based approach is a viable solution to the challenges facing the business world.

Workers often do not realize that the skills they have acquired for one job can be easily transferred to another, and neither can employers. Take the food servers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic. Over 70% of them have the skills to be successful in customer service, which is currently one of the most posted areas on LinkedIn.

Evaluating employees and new hires based on their skills rather than their work history can help companies realize that they may already have the talent they are looking for. It also makes talent pools more diverse and recruitment more efficient.

This is the future of hiring and development. In an age when talent is the No.1 commodity in business, companies cannot afford to get stuck in old mindsets. Here are three ways companies can supplement or enhance the skills of their existing workforce and take a skills-based approach to hiring new employees:

Support the new career paths of your employees:

Many large companies around the world have seen the need to add to the skills of their current talents as urgent in recent years and have invested heavily in the “future proof” of their employees. For example, JPMorgan Chase added $ 350 million to its $ 250 million plan to further educate its workforce. Amazon.com is investing more than $ 700 million to provide additional training for its employees. PwC is spending $ 3 billion to upgrade the skills of all of its 275,000 employees over the next few years.

If your business is unable to support a structured learning program, encourage managers to find out what other areas of the business their employees want to know about and help them participate in meetings and projects. cross-functional. Allow them to devote 10% of their working time to this cross-functional work.

Do not wait for the next crisis to begin the process of rehabilitating employees in critical positions. Employees who see good opportunities to learn and grow are 2.9 times more likely to be engaged. Creating internal programs that identify and fill skills gaps not only helps prepare for future disruptions, but also helps your strongest and most dedicated employees feel secure.

Give employees time to learn and reward them

According to a June 2020 survey conducted by Glint, a human resources software company owned by LinkedIn, an overwhelming number of employees (97%) want to increase or at least maintain the time they spend learning. Leaders and managers should make it clear that continuing education is an integral part of personal career growth and can be done during company time. To foster a learning culture, encourage employees to set aside calendar time for learning each week or month, and do the same.

It can be stressful to juggle learning with looming deadlines and customer needs. Remind yourself and your team that the investment in learning will pay off in the long run, and provide specific advice on employee growth plans. For example, an employee can make it a quarter-end deliverable by dedicating four hours each month to learning courses. Some companies also promote apprenticeship programs with competitions and incentives. Rewards, whether monetary or token, can dramatically increase employee participation. The involvement of leaders and managers is a must — it is crucial for us to lead by example. Even putting the most recent course you watched under your email signature tells employees that learning is a priority for you.

Switch to a skills-based approach when hiring

Over the past year, LinkedIn has seen a 21% increase in jobs advertising skills and responsibilities instead of qualifications and requirements in the United States, and the number of positions that do not require a degree has increased. by almost 40% in 2020 compared to 2019. Companies are starting to be more intentional about hiring for a candidate’s future potential rather than their work history. But it will be a long road. Our traditional recruiting processes still emphasize certain types of training and experience.

Start by rethinking your job descriptions. Focus on the results you would like to see, rather than the type of skills that you think could provide them. Highlighting the desired skills achieves the same results without creating an unnecessary barrier to entry, such as an academic requirement. You will also need a skills-based way to assess applicants and find your finalists. If you are looking beyond education and experience, what should you assess?

From technical skills assessments (such as coding tests) to innovative soft skills assessments to ‘job auditions’, there are many ways to assess a candidate’s ability to perform without relying on education or experience as a proxy. Even asking unexpected interview questions can let you see how a candidate processes information and resolves issues in real time.

The reward ? A larger and more diverse talent pool and perhaps stronger retention: Employees without a traditional four-year degree stay in companies 34% longer than those with such a degree, according to LinkedIn data. While this could be a sign that it is more difficult for them to find their next job, it could also be a sign that they are just more engaged and feel like the company is betting on their success. . As the 2018 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report showed, 94% of employees said they would stay with a company longer if it invested in their careers.

By adopting a competency-based approach to the hiring process, credentials and credentials can be accompanied by assessments, certifications, approvals, and other alternative methods to determine a candidate’s abilities and suitability. candidate. Additionally, by focusing on skills, employers can increase the size of their talent pools and identify quality candidates for difficult-to-fill positions. Once you’ve hired them, keep your employees engaged and your business ready to adapt to changing demands by creating a culture of learning. This is how we will begin to recruit and develop talent for the future rather than the past.

Ryan Roslansky is the CEO of LinkedIn.

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