27 Jan

The perfect NY resolution – look up! 

The first two quarters of each year are the introspective times to plan ahead, for the year,  for the next horizon. There are many shiny new things demanding your attention as you plan this year, and many of them require transformation to  your mindset, culture and operations.

PWC’s 26th Global Annual CEO Survey revealed that “nearly 40% of global CEOs don’t think their business model will be viable in a decade if their company continues on its current path”. These workforce changes are requiring new skills, in teams, in leaders, in people.

We’ve noticed a recent trend that involves identifying and isolating the skills people have and then mobilising them across an organisation to where they are needed. Its a sensible concept. Unfortunately, its rarely being implemented well. 

We recently participated in an industry webinar in which the 100+ audience was surveyed on why they were identifying skills within the organisation. The most popular response was ‘strategic workforce planning is better when you know what you have’ to meet the needs of today and literally tomorrow. The second most popular response was to create ‘more mobility options for employees’ – in other words being able to plug people from one department into another. Alarmingly, very few people chose the option we would have: ‘Our work will change and so our workforce will need to change’.

At an enterprise level, we suggest all organisations resolve to lift up their collective heads and look to the horizon because change is coming. Here’s three things that will help.

Understand what you need

In thinking about what you need, it’s important to understand where you can go at an enterprise level. Many of the skills required for the current business model, such as specific programming skills, may well be redundant or superseded in 5-10 years. So rather than focusing on skills linked to specific software or processes, it can be better to focus on the inherent skills the business will need, such as critical thinking, learning potential and adaptability. These behavioural attributes are much more difficult to teach than technical skills, so investing in people who already have them will be a good longer-term decision.

Understand what you have 

There are several tech-based solutions for identifying the skills within an organisation. Unfortunately, they generally fall short in two key ways. The first is that they rely on staff self-assessments. The second is that they rely on staff actually completing the self-assessment. Both leading to low reliability in the data.

A better approach is to empower line managers to undertake and maintain this skills-based inventory.

Get moving

Looking up and looking ahead, in terms of skill requirements we can all do better, and indeed we must. Think about what the metrics are in your performance plans, where are they pointing? We all seem to be kicking the tyres of Gen AI at the moment – are you suffering from a ‘freeze response’ due to the sheer volume of choice involved?
In KPMG’s 2023 CEO Outlook, 70% of global CEOs reported prioritising a generative AI investment, compared to just 56% in Australia. Many companies are yet to make the investment but the tech giants know it’s coming. For example, Oracle is reportedly building another 100 cloud-based data centres to accommodate expected future demand.

The need to improve our productivity, get moving in building skills for the future in Australia, and around the world, is apparent. Early adaptation is also likely to be a competitive advantage. Australian leaders need to embrace the decision-making process and not be overwhelmed by choice – there’s false comfort in stasis.

How JOST&Co can help

We can help you shape and design what the future could look like based on scenarios of future growth. This is difficult work for embedded teams to do alone as their performance targets are often based on BAU models.

We can also talk to business leaders about the risk landscape and expected areas of change that institutional capacity will need to address.