June 13, 4 PM ET

HR Tech Conference Virtual: Keynote - Learning & Development's Next Chapter: Skills as the North Star


June 26, 1:00 PM ET

AI and HR: Transforming People Tech


Opening Arguments: The Skills Odyssey IV

by Dani Johnson and Stacia Garr | February 7th, 2024

Welcome to the newest season of Workplace Stories. It will come as no surprise that we’re devoting season 11 to continuing our conversation around skills. Why? Because there are still questions to be answered. In these opening arguments, we’ll share the questions we’re being asked, what we’re looking forward to, and we’ll give you a sneak-peak of some of the amazing guests we’ll be having conversations with.  

Why we’re still talking about skills

We continue to see a hunger from leaders to try to answer questions about building a skills-based organization. So we want to continue to share best practices from people already doing it. 

The learning organization we have today was designed for a bygone era. We’ve seen progression with data and technology. The skills that a team needs—and how they’re organized across an organization—change. The development of skills changes. It becomes a discussion about organizing the skills we have to develop the skills we need.

We’re publishing a study on AI in HR and one of the things we looked at was who’s adopting AI. We found that historically underrepresented groups are less comfortable with AI. How is that connected to skills? These groups are developing their skills much more slowly. If those skills impact future performance, those groups will be more susceptible to layoffs, lack of promotion, and more. 

The questions people are asking

When we started the Skills Odyssey, people were asking things like “When should I start?” and “How should I approach this?” People want to know how to get started shifting their organization to skills-based structures. Now, they are familiar with the data and the systems. But is the data accurate? Are they looking at the right skills? The level of sophistication in the questions being asked reflects the maturity of the market.

What we’re looking forward to learning

The first conversation we’re going to have surrounds economics. Belts are tightening. How are organizations handling this movement on a budget? Are they having to scale back while making things happen?

People are also asking where they start when the whole organization isn’t on board with a shift toward a skills mindset. How are organizations preparing to become a skills-focused organization? 

How is AI going to play out in these organizations? We haven’t spoken to many practitioners integrating AI into their skills efforts. We’re hopeful that this season’s guests will share their approach.We’re going to have conversations with Gina Jeneroux (The founder and CEO of “The Future is Now Consulting) about activating skills across organizations and Oliver Drury—with Booking.com—about people analytics. We’re also going to be joined by Angela Le Mathon. This is a can’t-miss season.



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