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HR Labs Season 5: The power of skills: Redefining career paths for future success

Cornerstone Editors

In today's rapidly changing economy, organizations face the challenge of adapting to new job demands and ensuring their employees have the necessary skills to thrive. The ability to effectively manage changing skill needs has become a crucial source of competitive advantage.

To delve into this topic, Raffaella Sadun, a renowned professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and leader of their Digital Reskilling Lab, joins host Marc Ramos to explore the importance of connecting reskilling with employee motivation and engaging managers in skills efforts, plus examine the profound role of technology solutions. Join us as we uncover how organizations can embrace a skill-oriented approach to succeed in the future.

The demand for reskilling and upskilling

As technology advances and business models evolve, some jobs become obsolete while others demand new capabilities. Raffaella Sadun emphasizes that the economy is changing at an accelerated pace, with reports suggesting significant shifts in job requirements and a need for 1 billion people to reskill due to technological advancements. Raffaella underscores the importance of organizations proactively identifying skills gaps and investing in reskilling programs to equip employees with the necessary capabilities for future success.

The psychology of reskilling

Reskilling employees for different occupations presents a unique challenge. Raffaella distinguishes between upskilling and reskilling, emphasizing that the latter involves a significant personal transformation. While external factors such as changing job markets and technological advancements may push individuals to consider reskilling, employees' internal or intrinsic motivation plays a vital role. Marc and Raffaella discuss the importance of understanding what motivates individuals to embrace reskilling and the psychological barriers that may hinder their acceptance. Marc highlights the significance of creating the proper context, providing relevant information and aligning opportunities with personal ambitions to foster a sense of purpose.


Building a skills-based organization

The concept of a skills-based organization is gaining traction in the business world. Raffaella and Marc explore its definition and implications. Raffaella describes a skills-based organization as one that can flexibly match the skills and capabilities of its employees with its evolving goals and projects. Organizations can create a more agile and adaptable workforce by moving beyond traditional hierarchical job titles and focusing on individual skill sets and motivations. However, implementing a skills-based organization involves more than just an information infrastructure. It requires strategic alignment, organizational processes, incentives and employee involvement. Raffaella emphasizes the need for a holistic approach encompassing the entire organization and its ecosystem. She states, "Building a skills-based organization requires strategic alignment, a supportive infrastructure and active involvement from employees and managers."


Are you eager to get your team ready for what's ahead? The Cornerstone Skills Graph helps you better understand your people's capabilities and close skills gaps. It automatically creates skill profiles based on job titles, work history, learning habits, etc. With the power of AI, it links your people to tailored learning content to hone existing skills and master new ones, preparing them — and your organization — to thrive in the future. Learn more about the Skills Graph.

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