Richard Doherty, Senior Director Solution Marketing at Workday, shares his vision about reskilling the employees and new HR strategy needed for this journey.

Why, in the current context, is it necessary to rebuild the workforce?

Technology has been changing the way businesses work for quite some time, and with that change comes the need for new skills in the workforce – this doesn’t mean we have to rebuild the whole workforce but it does mean there will be roles that require new skills and there will be skills gaps that organisations need to fill. In the last 10 months the pandemic has accelerated digitalisation across all organisations in all industries. To quote Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, back in April 2020 after the initial shock of the pandemic: “We've seen two years' worth of digital transformation in two months” (Microsoft, 2020). This digital acceleration has put additional pressure on organisations to ensure they have the right skills in the workforce to deliver on their rapidly evolving business strategies.


What are the main steps to achieve such a transformation of the workforce?

Organisations need to have a clear view on the skills the workforce have and the skills that are missing. The first thing to do is to organise the skills data. Skills data is notoriously difficult to manage and maintain as it constantly changes, synonyms proliferate and organisations operate in multiple languages, so the complexity of this first step should not be underestimated.

Once we have the skills data well defined and managed, the next challenge is to populate skills data on employee profiles so that we can understand the skills the organisation has and where the gaps are.

Finally, we need to leverage skills to hire the right candidates, connect employees to relevant learning, suggest potential job moves, match workers to work, create personalised career plans and generally drive a personalised and engaging employee experience.

Moving to a skills-based HR strategy is a journey and as I’ll explain later, HR technology is a key enabler.


How can HR help their employees to get started on the reskilling process?

Firstly, I think that HR professionals need to recognise that the need to reskill is going to impact most jobs, including theirs! Increasing automation in HR, driven by new technologies including robotic process automation and chat bots, is changing the types of jobs we see in HR. Just like many others, HR professionals will need to acquire new skills.

How can HR professionals help with the reskilling effort? They can bring data and insight to the business discussion to drive a better reskilling strategy, design innovative and engaging learning programmes and they should also communicate clearly on the benefits that a skills-based approach will bring to both their organisation and its employees.



What are the main challenges they will face? How can Workday support them in this important task?

As I mentioned earlier, moving to a skills-based HR strategy is a journey. At Workday we are helping our customers on this journey with innovative new HR technology.

Managing and maintaining skills data is a huge challenge for most organisations. To help we have developed the Workday Skills Cloud. The Workday Skills Cloud is a universal skills ontology (a way of understanding what makes up a skill and the relationship between different skills) that cleanses, understands, and relates job skills data. Built into the underlying framework of Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), the Skills Cloud foundation leverages machine learning and uses graph technology to not only maintain this growing list of skills, but also map how closely skills are related to each other.

We built Skills Cloud with data provided by our customers—as well as massive industry-standard sets of training data—so that we can better understand the needs of not just current customers but future ones. We use machine learning and graph technology to map the relationships between skills so that we can dynamically represent these ever-changing relationships. 

Encouraging employees to add skills to their profiles in a HR system can be difficult. At Workday we’ve made this much easier by using machine learning and the skills cloud to predict what skills each employee has and proactively suggest these skills to them. Employees simply need to select from the suggested skills list to populate their profiles.

We are helping our customers leverage the rich employee skills data in their Workday systems to provide insights on the skills profile of their organisations, enable skills-based workforce planning, improve how they recruit, how they manage talent, make their organisations more agile, create cultures of continuous learning and generally create a great employee experience.

We’ve put skills at the very heart of Workday HCM to help our customers reskill and rebuild the workforce.

Publié le 11 janvier 2021