Upskilling for the future: What will the critical skills be and how to acquire them?

The world is changing fast. And if we want to stay ahead we need to remain relevant. As employees and employers, we must keep up with the changes ahead of us in terms of the world and the future of work. The alternatives mean that we become obsolete or irrelevant, which is something no one wants to experience.

This is backed by data. A study carried out in Australia showed that 40% of jobs are in danger of becoming obsolete. Meanwhile, as many as 65% of today’s students are believed to be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist. Are we ready for the future? We have to be. 


The Law of Accelerating Change

The Law of Accelerating Change basically states the following: change is happening and it is happening at an accelerated rate. In the world of work, we have to either adapt or perish. And since the latter is not an option, we need to adapt and thrive in new working environments and fulfill tasks that may not even exist yet. 

For example, some of the top trends and predictions for the way of work in the future include: 


  • The way teams work will be affected by the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI)
  • There is expected to be a rise in hybrid and remote work
  • The fractional workforce will continue to be on the rise
  • Organizations are more likely to pay attention to employee wellness, and
  • Workweeks and work schedules are expected to see changes in flexibility.


The top qualities of valuable employees


Because of the impact of technology and the changes and flexibility that we are likely to see in the future of work, employees, managers, HR professionals, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and all decision-makers will need to be well-prepared when sourcing and nurturing talent. 


This is because some skills are expected to become ever more valuable in the future, more so than they are today. Examples of critical skills that employers will look for in selecting and recruiting talent include:


  • Honesty
  • A strong work ethic
  • Reliability and self-management (dependability)
  • Complex problem-solving, analytical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Conflict resolution
  • Effective communication
  • Willingness to learn and to ask questions (active learning)
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Creativtiy and innovation
  • Digital literacy, technology design, and technology monitoring
  • Emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills (and a positive attitude)
  • Initiative
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Reasoning and ideation
  • Self-motivation
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Determination and persistence


While this may sound like quite a long wish list, these skills and combinations thereof will transform the workplace into a much more agile organization that can streamline operations by relying on its talented workforce to make magic happen. But how will this happen? The answer is through a three-phase process of continuous workforce transformation.


The 3 phases of workforce transformation

Workforce transformation is a given. It’s going to happen for sure. Whether it’s one day soon or tomorrow is hard to tell. But organizations need to be prepared. There are three generally accepted phases for such transformation and these are:

  • Scout: during this phase, organizations need to take stock of where they are today, what gaps in talent currently exist, what they are planning for the future, whether they can achieve these goals with their current talent pool, and reassess their organizational readiness for the future. 
  • Shape: to leave things in the hands of fate is not the preferred option for organizations. They need to shape their own futures by designing future strategies to meet their needs of tomorrow. This can be done by hiring not only externally for the skill sets they require now and in the future, but also by nurturing talent and accelerating skills boosts through internal learning and training. 
  • Shift: during the third and final phase, employers and organizations need to place a strong emphasis on upskilling and reskilling their current talent pools so that they are ready for what the future holds. The higher the investment in training and learning now, the better the organizational outcomes are expected to be. 


How to acquire and train for the skills of the future

Preparing your current and future employees for the future of work can seem like a daunting process. But with the right gap analysis and strategies in place to ensure smooth skills acquisition and nurturing, your organization can truly forge a successful path for itself in the future. 

One of the best ways to do this is to initiate learning and training opportunities to help current and future talent reskill and upskill while undergoing continuous training so that they are never far behind but rather so that they are always on top of and ahead of the curve when it comes to the technological and other challenges that may arise. With this in mind, organizations will do well to do the following:


  • Embrace digital innovation
  • Create new goals and visions, and
  • Train your workforce on a continuous basis.


The last point above is the major point that we’d like to emphasize. Training and continuous learning are great ways for everyone in the organization to adapt to and better manage the introduction and implementation of new technologies the business may be introducing. However, this is also an effective way to get workforce buy-in when organizational shifts take place. 

Of course, there are multiple ways to achieve learning and training with options including either an online, in-person, or hybrid approach. Other educational and learning opportunities may come in the form of:


  • Peer coaching as opposed to management-only coaching
  • The creation and fostering of learning networks
  • Using nudging techniques to push employees to learn new and valuable skills
  • Using the “mass personalization of change” by having individual employees change or adapt
  • Emphasizing the importance of continuous learning
  • Encouraging certifications
  • Offering online courses and training, and
  • Encouraging participation in informative and engaging webinars 


These approaches, whether used individually or in conjunction with each other have multiple benefits. They can foster greater employee engagement while ensuring that organizations are also much better able to keep abreast with the changing times. 


Our upcoming webinar on the future of work and critical skills: don’t miss it!

Being a lifelong learner is no longer an option. It’s a necessity. Organizations need to continue to develop and train their talent pools so that they can address gaps before they arise and remain agile and competitive. If you are wondering how to do this, then perhaps our webinar can answer these questions and give you even more information about the future of work that you had hoped for. Save the date! It’s at 11:00 on April 20, 2023, and you can register your interest here. We can’t wait to see you there!

Published: April 19, 2023

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StorsenDigital is a leading company that specializes in sourcing the best outsourcing talents in Europe. With the rise of remote work and digital transformation, skilled professionals are in high demand, and StorsenDigital is at the forefront of managing the supply and demand of these talents.
StorsenDigital is a leading company that specializes in sourcing the best outsourcing talents in Europe. With the rise of remote work and digital transformation, skilled professionals are in high demand, and StorsenDigital is at the forefront of managing the supply and demand of these talents.