.
W

ith the job landscape trending towards a global virtual work environment, finding the right talent in this continuously shifting ecosystem has proven difficult for organizations and employers. Indeed, with the unprecedented arrival of a global pandemic suddenly seeing to a forced shift in new remote work models for industries across the board, the ability of current employers, employees, and jobseekers to adapt to this new digital environment will undoubtedly reveal whether or not we are prepared for a truly global virtual work environment.

How are we going to build a more resilient, digital-focused education-to-work pipeline after the pandemic? How will employers qualify and verify talent in a virtual world abundant with disorganized data and misinformation? And as connection to the office weakens, how will employers continue to develop talent, enhance work culture and upskill? These were the questions that speakers attempted to answer at the virtual 2020 Global Talent Summit.

Key Takeaways

The education-to-work pipeline has become “datafied.”

While access to a potential employee’s background, qualifications, badges, and skills has become easier than ever before for employers as the education-to-work pipeline continues to rely more heavily on data and technology, the sheer amount of aggregate data on potential hires in addition to employers’ general inability to accurately determine whether or not a potential employee’s badges actually signal their readiness for the job have created a new set of issues in finding and hiring the right talent.

We’re working with aggregate information about individuals that is neither meaningful nor actionable. While an abundance of general-level information on an individual’s background—such as prior work experience, university degrees, and certifications—may seem to check all of the necessary boxes for employers, in reality this aggregate information only tends to represent human heuristics and trends in hiring practices rather than a potential employee’s actual capacity to successfully fill his or her new job role.

In fact, a study conducted by the University of Florida regarding the connection between prior work experience and attrition found that contrary to employers’ expectations that little time spent in previous job roles would also reflect time spent in their new role, there was nearly zero correlation between a new employee’s length of average time at prior jobs and the amount of time spent in the job they were eventually hired for—demonstrating that many of the things employers have traditionally found to be clear signals of a good hire may actually be a case of bad intuition.

We need methods to sort through misinformation and unnecessary data. In addition to the ambiguity of aggregate information, being able to verify this information—and sort through the fact and fiction of it all—can prove difficult. Relying on sources such as an individual’s LinkedIn profile, outdated transcripts, and unverified badges can lead to an inaccurate profile of a potential hire, and may even lead to dangerous non-inclusive and non-diverse hiring practices. Even when a potential hire’s information has been verified, it can be difficult to determine whether or not this information is an accurate reflection of a hire’s set of real-world skills.

Perhaps most dangerous of all, focusing on skill-based hiring can prove unsuccessful as employers continue to rely more heavily upon keywords and patterns in the data in a way that can make them blind to other assets—or disadvantages—a potential employee may have to offer that hiring algorithms would not be able to pick up—such as soft skills.

We need to be paying closer attention to things outside of the data. Beyond degrees, certificates, and badges, the more unquantifiable soft skills necessary to succeed in nearly any job role—such as someone’s ability to be agile and resilient, for example—ultimately prove to be much better determinants as to whether someone will make a successful employee or not. Therefore, it is crucial that we focus on building a more robust profile about individuals that includes not only someone’s formal written achievements, but also include who they are as a person and how they operate in a fluctuating environment full of novel opportunities and challenges.

It is hard to determine whether or not badges, certificates, and degrees are an accurate representation of a person’s skills.

With thousands upon thousands of badges, certificates, degrees, and accreditations tied to potential employees in today’s job market, determining the quality of the program that produced the certification—and whether or not an individual still possesses the competency supposedly earned through the accreditation of such a program—can provide particularly difficult for employers when looking for new talent.

More difficult than verifying a badge is being able to understand the information payload within the badge itself. When looking for new talent, it is crucial that employers understand not only what badges an individual possesses but also what those badges represent in terms of the skills that were attained. Similarly, they need to understand the providence of the badge, who issued the badge, and how the badge came to be.

It is difficult to determine whether a badge or certificate accurately certifies a set of obtained skills—and not just a credential reflecting a moment in time. For example, while nearly every employer relies on an individual’s university degrees and transcripts as a reflection of the knowledge and competencies they acquired while in college, it is often true that these certificates do not accurately reflect an individual’s competencies as most college graduates do not necessarily retain a lot of what they learned in basic university classes. Therefore, in order to determine whether or not a certification reflects not only the acquisition or mastery of a particular competency or skill, but also that these skills stick long-term, it is important to look closely at someone’s certificates and see if the certified skill was verified among multiple dimensions and perspectives through original and unprompted applications.

One example of a certification program focused on teaching skills and competencies across multiple dimensions would be the New Tech Network, a group of two hundred plus budget-based schools around the United States focused on transforming traditional classrooms into environments of innovative learning. By encouraging students to engage in project-based learning—and then assessing not only the final product, but also thoroughly reviewing the student’s oral and written communication, collaboration skills, sense of agency and other attributes through self-review, peer-review, advisor feedback and community mentor feedback—educators are able to get a fuller picture of how students obtain both soft and hard skills across multiple perspectives in multiple environments, and students are able to develop their skills and competencies in a more robust way.

The future of work in a post-COVID-19 world will be even more remote.

While the job market has undoubtedly been trending towards more remote work in the past decade, the mass disruption caused by COVID-19 has spurred organizations around the world to move almost exclusively towards the remote work model required by social isolation, with many of these organizations having little to no experience working with this model. What does this shift of responsibility in work culture mean for talent development and the future of work? How will the job landscape’s shift towards remote work look differently in a post-pandemic world?

Personal and professional spheres collide in a world of remote work during the pandemic. With the social isolation measures put into place to curb the spread of COVID-19, many workers who have gone remote have had to face new challenges as personal and professional spheres have often become intertwined. With children at home and out of school to keep in line with social distancing measures, workers themselves isolated at home to also keep with these measures and the added stress, anxiety and fear that have come from the pandemic and the sudden change in lifestyle, this shift towards remote work has been no easy task for organizations or employees.

On a more positive note, however, the intermingling of individuals’ personal and professional lives has actually humanized some leaders and brought many organizations closer together into a tighter-knit community culture, as well as brought about new methods of remote work that could very well change how—and more importantly, where—we work moving forward.

The shift towards remote work will come with many challenges. As we shift towards remote work in a constantly changing landscape, the need for flexible and adaptable workers is becoming more important than ever. But what happens when someone fits a company’s skillset but isn’t able to adapt to the medium through which they’re meant to apply those skills—such as an older person with weak computer skills suddenly being tasked with completing all requirements of their job from a desktop at home? And more importantly, how do you make the transition from skills that were cultivated to fit a more traditional system to a new environment where these skills may need to be adapted and applied in a context we can’t always predict?

There are teams that won’t be able to work remotely. While the job landscape’s sudden shift towards forced remote work has shown to some degree just how many jobs can be successfully accomplished from a remote workplace, the need for frontline employees—such as store associates, skilled labor jobs, sports teams, and many healthcare providers, to name a few—demonstrates that as we move forward, it is crucial that organizations are able to accurately determine which roles can be fulfilled remotely, which roles must be accomplished in a physical space, and which kinds of roles can switch between remote and in-person tasks.

Talent diversity and inclusion will be more important than ever before in the future of jobs.

As the work-talent pipeline becomes more datafied, those from more diverse backgrounds and underserved communities are at risk of becoming subject to biased algorithms, misconstrued data patterns, and a general lack of access to information. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we ensure the most vulnerable segments of the population are equipped with the skills and competencies necessary to thrive in a post-pandemic workforce.

Students do not have access to intelligence about where the future of work is going. While basic access to education was already a major problem before the advent of COVID-19, the pandemic has undoubtedly exacerbated this problem, with an estimated 40 percent of students around the world having had no access to any kind of education for at least three months into the pandemic. Even students who have managed to continue their education and earn valuable skills and competencies are often unaware of what they can do with those skills and what opportunities may be available to them. While technology will no doubt play a huge part in providing information to students about new opportunities in work and education moving forward, the basic challenges of infrastructure, access, and regional disparities will continue to keep those in vulnerable and underserved communities from access to such opportunities until those challenges have been addressed.

Many organizations are already working towards talent diversity and inclusion. For example, Minerva Project at KGI, a leading educational innovator, has approached the problem of lack of diversity and inclusion in higher educational institutions by changing their approach to socioeconomic status blind admissions when admitting students through practices such as no preference to school status, getting rid of pre-written essays and changing other practices that often gave preference to those from wealthier socioeconomic backgrounds, thus becoming the most selective university in the world with a 0.8% acceptance rate—and a student population of nearly 80% of students that normally wouldn’t be able to afford university tuition.

These sorts of programs demonstrate that while not easy, it will be possible to diversify and create a more inclusive talent pool moving forward—to the benefit of both employers and potential employees.

About
Winona Roylance
:
Winona Roylance is Diplomatic Courier's senior correspondent in Asia.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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www.diplomaticourier.com

Flatland: Competing for Talent in a Global Virtual Work Environment

October 21, 2020

W

ith the job landscape trending towards a global virtual work environment, finding the right talent in this continuously shifting ecosystem has proven difficult for organizations and employers. Indeed, with the unprecedented arrival of a global pandemic suddenly seeing to a forced shift in new remote work models for industries across the board, the ability of current employers, employees, and jobseekers to adapt to this new digital environment will undoubtedly reveal whether or not we are prepared for a truly global virtual work environment.

How are we going to build a more resilient, digital-focused education-to-work pipeline after the pandemic? How will employers qualify and verify talent in a virtual world abundant with disorganized data and misinformation? And as connection to the office weakens, how will employers continue to develop talent, enhance work culture and upskill? These were the questions that speakers attempted to answer at the virtual 2020 Global Talent Summit.

Key Takeaways

The education-to-work pipeline has become “datafied.”

While access to a potential employee’s background, qualifications, badges, and skills has become easier than ever before for employers as the education-to-work pipeline continues to rely more heavily on data and technology, the sheer amount of aggregate data on potential hires in addition to employers’ general inability to accurately determine whether or not a potential employee’s badges actually signal their readiness for the job have created a new set of issues in finding and hiring the right talent.

We’re working with aggregate information about individuals that is neither meaningful nor actionable. While an abundance of general-level information on an individual’s background—such as prior work experience, university degrees, and certifications—may seem to check all of the necessary boxes for employers, in reality this aggregate information only tends to represent human heuristics and trends in hiring practices rather than a potential employee’s actual capacity to successfully fill his or her new job role.

In fact, a study conducted by the University of Florida regarding the connection between prior work experience and attrition found that contrary to employers’ expectations that little time spent in previous job roles would also reflect time spent in their new role, there was nearly zero correlation between a new employee’s length of average time at prior jobs and the amount of time spent in the job they were eventually hired for—demonstrating that many of the things employers have traditionally found to be clear signals of a good hire may actually be a case of bad intuition.

We need methods to sort through misinformation and unnecessary data. In addition to the ambiguity of aggregate information, being able to verify this information—and sort through the fact and fiction of it all—can prove difficult. Relying on sources such as an individual’s LinkedIn profile, outdated transcripts, and unverified badges can lead to an inaccurate profile of a potential hire, and may even lead to dangerous non-inclusive and non-diverse hiring practices. Even when a potential hire’s information has been verified, it can be difficult to determine whether or not this information is an accurate reflection of a hire’s set of real-world skills.

Perhaps most dangerous of all, focusing on skill-based hiring can prove unsuccessful as employers continue to rely more heavily upon keywords and patterns in the data in a way that can make them blind to other assets—or disadvantages—a potential employee may have to offer that hiring algorithms would not be able to pick up—such as soft skills.

We need to be paying closer attention to things outside of the data. Beyond degrees, certificates, and badges, the more unquantifiable soft skills necessary to succeed in nearly any job role—such as someone’s ability to be agile and resilient, for example—ultimately prove to be much better determinants as to whether someone will make a successful employee or not. Therefore, it is crucial that we focus on building a more robust profile about individuals that includes not only someone’s formal written achievements, but also include who they are as a person and how they operate in a fluctuating environment full of novel opportunities and challenges.

It is hard to determine whether or not badges, certificates, and degrees are an accurate representation of a person’s skills.

With thousands upon thousands of badges, certificates, degrees, and accreditations tied to potential employees in today’s job market, determining the quality of the program that produced the certification—and whether or not an individual still possesses the competency supposedly earned through the accreditation of such a program—can provide particularly difficult for employers when looking for new talent.

More difficult than verifying a badge is being able to understand the information payload within the badge itself. When looking for new talent, it is crucial that employers understand not only what badges an individual possesses but also what those badges represent in terms of the skills that were attained. Similarly, they need to understand the providence of the badge, who issued the badge, and how the badge came to be.

It is difficult to determine whether a badge or certificate accurately certifies a set of obtained skills—and not just a credential reflecting a moment in time. For example, while nearly every employer relies on an individual’s university degrees and transcripts as a reflection of the knowledge and competencies they acquired while in college, it is often true that these certificates do not accurately reflect an individual’s competencies as most college graduates do not necessarily retain a lot of what they learned in basic university classes. Therefore, in order to determine whether or not a certification reflects not only the acquisition or mastery of a particular competency or skill, but also that these skills stick long-term, it is important to look closely at someone’s certificates and see if the certified skill was verified among multiple dimensions and perspectives through original and unprompted applications.

One example of a certification program focused on teaching skills and competencies across multiple dimensions would be the New Tech Network, a group of two hundred plus budget-based schools around the United States focused on transforming traditional classrooms into environments of innovative learning. By encouraging students to engage in project-based learning—and then assessing not only the final product, but also thoroughly reviewing the student’s oral and written communication, collaboration skills, sense of agency and other attributes through self-review, peer-review, advisor feedback and community mentor feedback—educators are able to get a fuller picture of how students obtain both soft and hard skills across multiple perspectives in multiple environments, and students are able to develop their skills and competencies in a more robust way.

The future of work in a post-COVID-19 world will be even more remote.

While the job market has undoubtedly been trending towards more remote work in the past decade, the mass disruption caused by COVID-19 has spurred organizations around the world to move almost exclusively towards the remote work model required by social isolation, with many of these organizations having little to no experience working with this model. What does this shift of responsibility in work culture mean for talent development and the future of work? How will the job landscape’s shift towards remote work look differently in a post-pandemic world?

Personal and professional spheres collide in a world of remote work during the pandemic. With the social isolation measures put into place to curb the spread of COVID-19, many workers who have gone remote have had to face new challenges as personal and professional spheres have often become intertwined. With children at home and out of school to keep in line with social distancing measures, workers themselves isolated at home to also keep with these measures and the added stress, anxiety and fear that have come from the pandemic and the sudden change in lifestyle, this shift towards remote work has been no easy task for organizations or employees.

On a more positive note, however, the intermingling of individuals’ personal and professional lives has actually humanized some leaders and brought many organizations closer together into a tighter-knit community culture, as well as brought about new methods of remote work that could very well change how—and more importantly, where—we work moving forward.

The shift towards remote work will come with many challenges. As we shift towards remote work in a constantly changing landscape, the need for flexible and adaptable workers is becoming more important than ever. But what happens when someone fits a company’s skillset but isn’t able to adapt to the medium through which they’re meant to apply those skills—such as an older person with weak computer skills suddenly being tasked with completing all requirements of their job from a desktop at home? And more importantly, how do you make the transition from skills that were cultivated to fit a more traditional system to a new environment where these skills may need to be adapted and applied in a context we can’t always predict?

There are teams that won’t be able to work remotely. While the job landscape’s sudden shift towards forced remote work has shown to some degree just how many jobs can be successfully accomplished from a remote workplace, the need for frontline employees—such as store associates, skilled labor jobs, sports teams, and many healthcare providers, to name a few—demonstrates that as we move forward, it is crucial that organizations are able to accurately determine which roles can be fulfilled remotely, which roles must be accomplished in a physical space, and which kinds of roles can switch between remote and in-person tasks.

Talent diversity and inclusion will be more important than ever before in the future of jobs.

As the work-talent pipeline becomes more datafied, those from more diverse backgrounds and underserved communities are at risk of becoming subject to biased algorithms, misconstrued data patterns, and a general lack of access to information. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we ensure the most vulnerable segments of the population are equipped with the skills and competencies necessary to thrive in a post-pandemic workforce.

Students do not have access to intelligence about where the future of work is going. While basic access to education was already a major problem before the advent of COVID-19, the pandemic has undoubtedly exacerbated this problem, with an estimated 40 percent of students around the world having had no access to any kind of education for at least three months into the pandemic. Even students who have managed to continue their education and earn valuable skills and competencies are often unaware of what they can do with those skills and what opportunities may be available to them. While technology will no doubt play a huge part in providing information to students about new opportunities in work and education moving forward, the basic challenges of infrastructure, access, and regional disparities will continue to keep those in vulnerable and underserved communities from access to such opportunities until those challenges have been addressed.

Many organizations are already working towards talent diversity and inclusion. For example, Minerva Project at KGI, a leading educational innovator, has approached the problem of lack of diversity and inclusion in higher educational institutions by changing their approach to socioeconomic status blind admissions when admitting students through practices such as no preference to school status, getting rid of pre-written essays and changing other practices that often gave preference to those from wealthier socioeconomic backgrounds, thus becoming the most selective university in the world with a 0.8% acceptance rate—and a student population of nearly 80% of students that normally wouldn’t be able to afford university tuition.

These sorts of programs demonstrate that while not easy, it will be possible to diversify and create a more inclusive talent pool moving forward—to the benefit of both employers and potential employees.

About
Winona Roylance
:
Winona Roylance is Diplomatic Courier's senior correspondent in Asia.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.