by Ashley Powdar, AARP, August 18, 2023
If you’re a recruiter or human resources manager tasked with hiring and onboarding an army of new employees in what feels like an unreasonable amount of time, you’re not alone in your frustration and stress. You may feel like the last several years of recruiting, hiring and retaining talent has gotten harder. History is on your side with this one. Labor force demographic data shows that declining birth rates combined with an aging workforce have resulted in a tight labor market; business leaders are experiencing an average of 1.9 more job openings per available worker.
How can human resources compete with demographic changes? Age-inclusive professional development opportunities and a clear pathway to advancement can help limit career uncertainty and boost retention. Employer-sponsored training opportunities in the form of online courses and certifications are a promising roadmap to reducing costly turnover, increasing engagement and productivity.
The future of work demands a change in the way HR evaluates the skills and qualifications of potential employees. Hiring managers who can successfully shift from using traditional four-year degree programs as proof of skills and expand their talent pipelines stand a chance of recruiting and retaining the best. We also know that while the age of AI has arrived, it can’t displace every human trait. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the skills that are uniquely human are set to become the most coveted credentials. The good news is that you can start investing in the future of human skills today.
Consider these top 10 in-demand skills that will shape the future of work:
1. Technology use and development: The fears regarding job displacement that dominate the AI discussion are certainly relevant, but not always accurately portrayed. Employees should position themselves in the management role of technology use instead of the execution of tasks performed. Through this lens, employees have the opportunity to improve the quality of their work and overall efficiency.
Opportunity: Direct employees to the MindEdge Computer Applications catalogue to master a suite of project management and organizational applications.
2. Technology design and programming: Technology has the power to transform our lives for the better but we also have seen the historic socioeconomic disparity gaps that emerging tech has wrought. The disparity in technology is best illustrated in the discriminatory role AI has played in hiring and recruiting. The most immediate remedy is to create intentional inclusion in the design and programming process, one that flags unconscious bias and builds upon a robust library of individual experiences.
Opportunity: Train employees in the Emerging Technologies course catalogue to help shape an equitable future of work.
3. Resilience and stress management: A soft skill like resilience and stress management is a tacit characteristic that can take decades to develop. Often times, soft skills like stress management are the most difficult to teach because they are generally developed over time in our everyday lives. However, organizations greatly benefit from resilient leaders who can stay calm and clear amidst chaotic situations. Luckily, micro-credential providers like MindEdge have studied and distilled a learning pathway designed to curate soft skills like resilience.
Opportunity: Encourage employees to elect for the Management course catalogue.
4. Complex problem solving: One of the most uniquely human skills that AI cannot replicate is complex problem solving. It’s not as simple as a math equation or bug in the software. Managing the context of a situation and navigating the emotional triggers of those involved is a delicate balance. Employees who can successfully arrive at a solution and communicate decision points in a respectful way are able to drive project success.
Opportunity: Build an arsenal of strategic-minded employees with the Problem Solving course.
5. Leadership and social influence: Similar to resilience, leadership and social influence are intangible skills that can be developed with experience as well as training. More importantly inclusive leadership has the power to transform an organization, it’s culture, customer experience and financial performance.
Opportunity: Create leaders at every level of your organization with the Leadership course catalogue.
6. Critical thinking: Studies show that AI easily, although unintentionally, replicates human bias. It’s most damaging in the recruiting and hiring process. Critical thinking, similar to complex problem solving, accounts for the emotional intelligence and intangibles left invisible to emerging technology. An employee who can think critically through sensitive situations and crises becomes an invaluable asset.
Opportunity: Outline a growth strategy for each employ with the Interpreting Data course.
7. Creativity, originality and innovation: Great works can be imitated but creativity and originality are born out of rich life experiences. Encourage employees to take time off to recharge, travel to unchartered locations and practice their creativity regardless of the medium. The ability to approach a problem differently without impunity can unlock endless opportunities for innovation. Consider building in creative time and think days to your standard hours of operation.
Opportunity: Encourage employees to explore and experiment with creative activities starting with the Personal Enrichment course catalogue.
8. Active Learning: Thanks to preventive medicine and healthcare advancements, humans are living longer and healthier lives, and the longer we live the more change we encounter. Skills and jobs are already changing rapidly, and will continue to do so long into the future, therefore lifelong learning is key. Employees who embrace active learning will always be in demand.
Opportunity: Encourage employees to develop an active learning mindset with the Future-Proofing Your Career course.
9. Analytical thinking: The big decisions may keep you up at night and feel like an unbearable burden, but there could be a creative solution your leadership team has overlooked. Have you considered democratizing the decision process by sharing your business challenges and needs with team members? Your employees may be several degrees removed from the problem, but do not overlook individuals due to the lack of proximity. Instead, empower employees to use their unique perspectives and skillsets to tackle a business need.
Opportunity: Close the proximity gap and create unexpected leaders in your organization with the Business Analysis course.
10. Reasoning and ideation: The ability to reason and ideate is not a static skillset, it must respond and adapt with the times. As a uniquely human quality, reasoning allows us to read between the lines and draw conclusions from a series of data points and events. Individual contributors and teams who are empowered to reason, and not just push paper, are better equipped to catch costly mistakes and help steer an organization to calm waters.
Opportunity: Create engaged, logical leaders at every level of your organization with the Data Analysis for Improving Organizational Performance course.
We all know the African proverb “go fast go alone, go far go together.” By investing in the top 10 in-demand skills for the future, you increase your chances for both employee retention and higher organizational performance. Studies reveal that at least 58% of employees are distracted at work because of financial stress, but 54% of Generation X have enrolled in a course in the last two years. You have the ability to reduce your employee’s stress levels by investing in their professional development and creating career growth pathways. Employer Pledge Signers who purchase or reimburse employees for online courses and credentials receive a 10% discount.
Sign the Pledge and contact firstname.lastname@example.org to unlock your discount today.