Organizations are focused on talent optimization now more than ever.

Humanizing work requires talent optimization. When your people reach their potential, well, that is when business wins are fueled by people wins.

Investing in your current talent creates a foundation of trust and pays dividends in creating loyal talent. The quality of the learning program matters as well.  When employees see that the company invested in external programs in addition to providing internal learning opportunities to apply what they learned the org gets the best possible outcomes.

The ways organizations deliver their services or products in this low-touch economy is different and requires a workforce that is fluent digitally.  Organizations are looking closely at the best ways to get work done using non-traditional staffing models such as gig, freelance, part-time, etc. to gain access to the talent they need vs solely focusing on reskilling. When an organization decides to leverage the talent they have there is a significant amount of time focused on looking at a capability and skills analysis. While unemployment is currently higher, the skills gap exists and many organizations are looking internally to see if they can build capabilities to deliver on their business objectives, while also retaining institutional knowledge.

Typically, some form of a task force is created led by the learning and people/talent/HR functions of the organization to determine who would be eligible for the reskill program. After significant analysis around each role and the capabilities and skills needed teams will look to performance indicators based on manager input to determine if there are X # of roles that are available they select the individuals most likely to succeed in learning based on objective criteria such as performance, and/or tenure, etc. There are also assessments that are used as a point of data to determine the individual's likelihood of success. Typically, managers’ recommendations hold a lot of weight unless the organization has determined that an entire team/department/function are all being re/upskilled.

Identifying individuals who are curious, creative, agile, and are able to think critically tends to perform better in these programs because they have learned how to be a great learner with a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset.  For talent that does not inherently have a growth mindset, it doesn’t mean that all is lost. There is still the opportunity to teach talent how to learn.  Knowing how to enable learning is more effective than having great skills development programs. Once your talent knows how to learn, applied and blended learning that allows the individual to self-pace, apply their new skills, and connect with a community of learners is what accelerates a learner's ability to retain knowledge.

Putting the learner at the center of these programs and allowing the program to be personalized to the individual gives people the chance to access new opportunities, establishes a sense of ownership in their own career path, and feel a sense of pride and belonging. Designing all of the work using a human-centered approach is what organizations have missed by putting profit above all else.  By putting the human at the center you are far more likely to see the profits organizations are looking for.

These are but a few methods to optimizing teams. Keri had the opportunity to contribute to The Economist as they explored a 'Road Map for Re-Training Workers'.

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