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Dealing with pressure of retaining talents amid other competing needs 

By Gloria Nwafor
26 April 2022   |   4:09 am
With employers looking for qualified candidates amid skill gaps, there is a need to ensure that organisations attract, develop and retain talents to meet current and future skills needs.

Olusegun Mojeed

With employers looking for qualified candidates amid skill gaps, there is a need to ensure that organisations attract, develop and retain talents to meet current and future skills needs.

Research has found out that the demand for learning and development (L&D) professionals has doubled in a year as companies turn to training to retain talents.

For instance, the 2022 Workplace Learning report by Linkedln, which surveyed 256 L&D professionals, found there was a 94 per cent increase in demand for learning specialists last year.

The report also found that, last year, skills gaps had widened in half of respondents’ firms while two in five (41 per cent) said they planned to deploy large-scale upskilling or reskilling programmes in the year ahead.

The report also found that four in five (80 per cent) employers believed that it was less expensive to upskill or reskill an existing employee than to hire a new one, with almost three in five (57 per cent) stating that providing employees with the opportunity to find new roles within the business was top priority.

The research, carried out in December 2021, found two in five (38 per cent) L&D teams expected their budgets to increase this year, with key focus areas for training programmes in 2022, including leadership and management, digital upskilling and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Senior Director at Linkedln Talent Solutions, Becky Schnauffer, said it was clear L&D professionals would play a huge role in helping businesses retain top talents and narrow their skills gaps.

“By providing employees with opportunities to develop their skills and progress their careers, not only will companies strengthen their talent retention and recruitment efforts in a tough jobs market, but they would also boost the engagement of existing employees,” she said.

With this survey, what likely are the top skills Human Resources (HR) will need in 2030? What will HR look like in the future and how can HR leaders prepare?

HR experts are of the view that the people leaders of the next decade will be agile, data orientated and tech-focused.

According to them, HR leaders know better than anyone how the pandemic changed the world of work – and how it made HR more critical than ever.

They said that the crisis enhanced the value and understanding of HR’s role.

Co-author of Sage’s HR in 2030 report, Charlotte Penny, mentioned agility, resilience, people analytics competence, collaboration and influence, compassion and digital savviness as top skills HR will need in 2030.

She said by 2030, HR teams will have even more responsive approaches, not only to the way they work but to the way the team is designed and operates.

Chief Executive Officer and founder of The HR Lounge, Angela O’Connor, said HR leaders would be the lead change agent, using their understanding of transformation to create continually agile organisations.

She said companies would adopt a more agile approach to work, in terms of work patterns and performance expectations.

According to her, taking the principles of the agile HR methodology and applying them to processes and mindset would make great strides towards more HR agility.

O’Connor explained that by year 2030, HR would be at the heart of the company, using analytics and business forecasting for strategic workforce decisions.

On how HR leaders can get ahead today, she said: “HR leaders need to brush up on skills around forecasting, planning and analytics. If you cannot do general accounting or financial planning and analysis, it is a good time to start.”

On collaboration and influence, a research adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Mel Norris-Green, said HR leaders today and in the future would need to use their powers of organisation, delegation and mediation to strengthen collaboration and work in partnerships with other functions, such as Information Technology and on projects outside of the traditional HR remit.

He said HR leaders must learn how to harness their new-found status and needed to build on their ability to sell ideas, approaches and perspectives through influence.

On compassion, according to Chief Research Officer at Lighthouse Research and Advisory, Ben Eubanks, said of all the skills, it was compassion that many businesses relied on most during the pandemic.

In the future, he said HR would need to continue to think about how to serve people, to care for people and look for ways to build better connections.

On digital savviness, Eubanks, argued that as HR technology continues its ascendancy, HR leaders would be expected to have strong digital skills by 2030.

He added that skills such as the ability to use software tools and the ability to collaborate and build relationships were critical.

Similarly, the Head of HR at Procter and Gamble, Mofoluwaso Ilevbare, explained that technology could enhance HR solutions; analyse employee insights and stakeholder needs; simplify HR processes; enhance productivity and help leaders to make intelligent choices that accelerate business performance.

“The pandemic isn’t over, and new challenges such as the climate emergency and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) are also increasingly becoming HR issues. However, HR has proven its mettle, especially in crisis management. Now, into evolutionary and adapted practices, HR needs a focused and determined approach to meet these challenges successfully,” she added.

Mofoluwaso Ilevbare

Meanwhile, President and Chairman of the Governing Council, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), Olusegun Mojeed, who spoke on ‘2022 HR Outlook’ recently, urged industry leaders to drive employee wellbeing, while working within the purview of labour laws.

At a recent roundtable of HR thought leaders organised by the institute, practitioners maintained that there is need for HR managers to re-learn and adapt to the new world of work.

The outlook mentioned employee wellness, artificial intelligence (AI) and a flexible workplace, among others, as major factors in the outlook of human resources (HR) in 2022.

He said the outlook signals that it is a good time for HR and a key learning area for business leaders to make a meaningful impact.

According to him, “employee experience is very key because what we have is an unhappy workforce, which is leading to the migration of our citizens to other countries. These countries have made efforts to invest in social welfare and wellbeing.”

On other initiatives such as flexible workplace, digitisation and Artificial Intelligence to drive business outcomes, he said: “The world we live in is constantly evolving as we have witnessed various paradigm shifts from the fourth industrial revolution, the pandemic, which disrupted our lives, then the great resignation, which is seeing a massive migration of Nigerians moving to developed countries. In the midst of this, the HR manager increasingly has the responsibility of charting the course of productivity in any organisation.”