It’s an understatement to say that the goals for organizations have changed from 2020 to 2021.
Last year, any planned goals were quickly sidelined by the crisis management needed to lead organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations were simply trying to survive.
This year, organizations are trying to thrive.
The Top HR Priority for 2021
A Garner survey of more than 750 HR professionals shows how leaders are looking to the future in 2021.
The top priority mentioned by HR leaders for 2021 is building critical skills and competencies.
In the survey, 68% of HR professionals said they were focused on this initiative. It was the number one priority mentioned by HR professionals.
Compare that to other initiatives listed by respondents.
- 46% said they were prioritizing organizational design and change management.
- 44% said they were prioritizing their current and future leadership bench.
- 32% said they were prioritizing the future of work.
- 28% said they were prioritizing employee experience.
While HR professionals have a variety of action items on their to-do list, building critical skills and competencies was mentioned most often by respondents.
The top initiative appears to be in response to some of the factors impacting modern skillsets and employee training (or the lack thereof).
Why Organizations Are Focused on Building Critical Skills and Competencies
COVID-19 taught us many things. One lesson was that teams need to be prepared to quickly pivot, adapt, and learn new skills.
Garner reported that 71% of organizations said more than 40% of their workforce had to use new skills as a result of COVID-19.
Many workers had to learn new skills as the workplace and market quickly changed.
The pandemic reminded organizations why they need to be able to quickly build skills and competencies. It also reminded many organizations that they are unable to quickly up-skill their teams — even though they will need to do it more often in the future.
#1) Employees will need more and more skills in their toolbox.
With fast-changing technology and markets, workers will continue to need new skills. Garner reported “the total number of skills required for a single job is increasing year-over-year by 10%.” The number of skills that workers need will continue to grow.
#2) Many existing skills will become obsolete.
The skills employees need to perform their job are not static. The number and type of skills that employees need are always growing and changing. Garner reported “33% of the skills that were present in an average job posting in 2017 won’t be needed by 2021,” and 58% of the workforce will need new skills to get their jobs done.
#3) Many organizations don’t know what skill gaps they have.
A problem facing many HR professionals is that don’t have a good view of the skills and competencies that currently exist within their organizations. The survey found that 36% of respondents said they “don’t know what skills gaps our current employees have.”
#4) Many organizations don’t have learning systems set up.
Another problem facing organizations is that they don’t have systems ready to train their team. In the survey, 33% of respondents said they “don’t effectively integrate learning in employee workflows.” Another 31% said they “can’t create skill development solutions fast enough to meet evolving needs.”
Setting Your Top HR Priorities for 2021
The world changes fast.
A majority of HR professionals are making plans so they can help their organizations quickly adapt and adjust. In 2021, they are focused on building critical skills and competencies in their teams.
What do you think? Is your organization focused on building critical skills and competencies this year? Or, are you focused on other initiatives? Tweet at Align HCM (@AlignHCM) and let us know what your biggest HR priorities are this year.
And, if there is anyway we can help your organziation evolve and grow, let us know. Reach out for a free consultation with our HCM specialists. Schedule your call today.