The CHRO Agenda: Adaptive Skills: A New Development Challenge for Modern-day Professionals | NTT DATA

Thu, 22 June 2023

The CHRO Agenda: Adaptive Skills: A New Development Challenge for Modern-day Professionals

The world of work is undergoing an unprecedented transformation that affects the skills required for many positions. Professionals have to rethink how and where they work and why they work, what we call "purpose."

At the same time, the labor market is demanding talent with new skills and adaptive skills, transversal to different roles and positions, which are not only related to technical matters but also to the capacity to lead, manage and relate within the company in their ecosystem, and to the outside world.

The Human Capital area now faces a new challenge since companies' training and development strategies are focused on technical skills rather than on training adaptive skills, which today are essential in this new context of hybrid work and digital transformation.

Today there are fundamental skills to deal with change and uncertainty scenarios. According to a study conducted by NTT DATA, the following were identified:

  • Adaptive flexibility and agile innovation (81%)
  • Analytical and critical thinking (71%)
  • Technological expertise focused on data culture and cybersecurity (70%)
  • Continuous learning (52%)
  • Optimism and resilience (47%)
  • Communication and storytelling skills (44%)
  • Empathy, context, and emotion comprehension (39%)
  • Well-being, mental health, and work-life balance awareness (44%)
  • Inspiring and leading from innovation, purpose, and with a diversity approach (60%).

Cross-cutting Skills and Holistic Approach

Adaptive skills have become essential in the new context of hybrid and digitally connected work. Technological and digital expertise have become key cross-cutting skills, a core part of the DNA that companies must integrate. Employees must also incorporate digital skills and learn to use different technologies supporting the new working models. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and metaverse-based solutions play a role as enablers for these changes.

In today's business world, companies are looking for more holistic people who must be skilled in their specialties, deal with other visions and perspectives, and develop experiences focused on the customers (internal and external). Talent management involves helping them to navigate through changes and giving them the capacity to innovate, identify and solve problems with more agility, understanding the existing information, and a sense of purpose.

Main Challenges for Organizations

In Latin America, talent competition is one of the main challenges companies face today. In a highly competitive market, the need for more qualified professionals, the high demand for specific profiles with certain skills, and the lack of investment in employee development result in fierce competition for talent. To attract and retain the best talent, companies must build a strong employer brand, invest in training and development programs, and offer competitive compensation packages.

In this region, managing talent becomes a challenge due to high turnover rates and mobility, making it difficult to retain skilled professionals long-term. This can be approached by offering clear career plans, learning opportunities, mentoring, and coaching programs to foster employee growth and satisfaction. Offering attractive benefits programs and promoting a positive work culture is also essential to reduce turnover. 

Rapid technological evolution is another challenge for organizations, as they must stay ahead of the latest trends in emerging technologies to remain competitive. Still, they must identify which ones make sense to promote within their organization for an efficient operation. Therefore, it is essential to invest in digital transformation initiatives, hire skilled professionals and offer training and development opportunities to current employees.

Another critical challenge is the adaptation to the expectations of new generations who value work-life balance, professional growth, and social responsibility over traditional benefits. Companies must adopt their culture and policies to adapt to these expectations, prioritizing flexible business models, growth opportunities and promoting sustainable initiatives. 

Professionals of the Future

Organizations must focus on developing adaptive and cross-functional skills with an emphasis on adopting emerging technologies, fostering digital capabilities, and creating inclusive and collaborative cultures to remain competitive in business and today's labor market.

The professionals of the future are not looking to work harder but to work smarter and with a clear purpose focused on creating a more significant impact and using technology as an ally. These employee preferences condition their choices and their intention to remain in a company.

Company leaders and the Human Capital area must drive these technologies and take advantage of them in their reskilling and upskilling strategies to make people more confident in following business transformations and changes. 

This new context shapes the dual challenge facing leaders and Human Capital areas today: to ensure that talents have the skills required by the market to leverage digital tools and maintain high employee satisfaction rates.

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