Transitioning to a Skills-Based Organization: First Steps (Overview)
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Transitioning to a Skills-Based Organization: First Steps (Overview)

September 13, 2022 | Report

Skills Series Part 1: Overcoming Five Major Challenges

The transformation of work—including the emergence of new types of jobs demanding new skills—is now a major pain point for CEOs and their teams. A global survey by The Conference Board reveals that CEOs are looking for growth through the adoption of digital technology and new business models—but a big question looms over whether they can attract and retain workers with the right skills to realize these ambitions.

Our research suggests that businesses facing the most intense competition for skills or operating in highly unpredictable and changing markets need to adopt a new strategy: become an organization that places skills at the core of human capital strategies. This strategy entails anticipating how work and jobs are changing and what the implications are for talent demand and supply. Armed with this intelligence, business can prioritize reskilling, upskilling, and cross-skilling[1] where it must be done rapidly and at scale to improve overall performance.

[1] Reskilling helps workers develop new skills that enable them to transition from a declining job or occupation to one that is growing or in demand. Upskilling helps workers improve the skills they already have. Cross-skilling helps workers combine their existing skills with skills from different specialties, functions, and occupations.

Based on research by The Conference Board, we define a skills-based business in the following way:

Skills-based organizations define how work is accomplished by deconstructing roles and jobs into critical tasks and outcomes and identifying the current and emerging human skills required to complete the work. For these organizations, skills become the center of the talent strategy, in place of, or alongside, the traditional structure of jobs, enabled by intelligent technology.

While businesses have been using skills for decades to define work, what is different now is the speed of change and the digital, intelligent technology driving it. The most basic unit of  work—tasks—are changing rapidly and exponentially. The complexity and static nature of jobs are being challenged. So the elemental aspect of workers&

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Principal Researcher, Human Capital, Europe
The Conference Board


Former Research Associate, Human Capital Center, Europe
The Conference Board