.
T

he term “Skills” seems to be on everyone’s lips lately, especially with the soaring unemployment rates brought out by COVID-19. Currently over 40 million Americans are unemployed, the highest numbers since The Great Depression. According to the World Economic Forum, the skills required for jobs over the next two years will change by 42%, with over one billion jobs requiring different skills than the ones that exist now, over the next decade.

Now consider this statistic, a degree which is a stated requirement for about 60% of all jobs rule out 70% of American adults who do not possess one. Only 9% of Black Americans in a critical age range between 23-29 and 9% of Hispanic Americans overall have degrees.

Skill-based hiring, with no degree required, can be a great equalizer that allows everyone a seat at the table. Opportunities for Skilling, Credentialing, and Signaling for workforce readiness is becoming the most important area of education and the future of work in business today—do we fully understand which skills are the focus and in demand?

Organizations typically group skills into two categories: hard-skills, which are technical, and knowledge-based and soft-skills, which tend to be viewed as more intangible—such as communication and leadership. A job’s architecture has a unique combination of hard and soft skills. Because hard skills are generally quantifiable and easily assessed with degrees and certifications, they are easier to measure, hence leading employers to evaluate candidates in majority or exclusively on those abilities. This is a big problem.

Power skills matter.

Soft-skills, aka human-skills, aka people-skills, aka power-skills, have been relegated to second place for too long, while in fact they are the most important and difficult set of skills to acquire. They are the personal attributes you need to succeed in the workplace and are, in the end, the skills that give you true power in your job role. Power skills (e.g. problem-solving, judgment and decision making, and self-direction) can be accurately measured, developed, and signaled to an employer to show readiness specific to a job and industry sector.  

Human Soft Skills Matter.

We have known this for decades. In 1918, research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (i.e. hard skills). Yes, we’ve known about the importance of soft skills to job success for over a hundred years. In 2008, Google Project Oxygen identified the eight qualities of their best managers. A good manager:

1. Is a good coach;

2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage;

3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being;

4. Is a good communicator—listens and shares information; and,

5. Has key technical skills to help advise the team.

Only one of the top eight skills identified was a hard skill. Surprised?

Power skills are developed like habits. We come to them at different levels with some of us having a natural advantage. Think Kobe Bryant. Habits take between one to eight months to develop and generally require these three qualities: 1) a high frequency of practice 2) an increased level of difficulty and 3) the experience of being coached when making mistakes. Habits, like the ability to slam dunk, are not formed mindlessly.

Measuring power skills is not hard. At GLEAC we use a patent-pending quantitative, qualitative, and 360 views loop inspired by Ray Dalio’s dot collector.

Step into the shoes of an employer.

How can they check your power skills? What if you had a “batting” scorecard in power skills, to include how you learn, apply, and change them in workplace situations? This is how we are redefining the future “resume” at GLEAC.

It’s relevant more than ever now.

Ivanka Trump recently announced that Federal hiring will pivot to skills over traditional diplomas. I invite the Trump administration to take a look at Zoho, a software as a service (SaaS) company out of South India. With no pedigreed software professionals, they compete with Salesforce, Oracle, and Google Cloud. At present, Zoho is experimenting with 10 villages in Tamil Nadu, where 200 of its engineers—20 in each village—will collaborate and build software for the world.

COVID-19 has created numerous emerging roles for tools such as Contact Tracer where a unique set of soft skills matter. How does one confidently say “I possess the right quantities of emotional distance, learning agility and following rules for the emerging role of Contact Tracer in Florida?”

The CDC states that: “Requisite knowledge and skills for case investigators and contact tracers include, but are not limited to:

• An understanding of patient confidentiality, including the ability to conduct interviews without violating confidentiality (e.g., to those who might overhear their conversations).

• Understanding of the medical terms and principles of exposure, infection, infectious period, potentially infectious interactions, symptoms of disease, pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic infection.

• Excellent and sensitive interpersonal, cultural sensitivity, and interviewing skills such that they can build and maintain trust with patients and contacts.

• Basic skills of crisis counseling, and the ability to confidently refer patients and contacts for further care if needed.

• Resourcefulness in locating patients and contacts who may be difficult to reach or reluctant to engage in conversation.

• Understanding of when to refer individuals or situations to medical, social, or supervisory resources.

• Cultural competency appropriate to the local community.

The vast majority of the above skills are human focused.

COVID-19 has been hard. Yet our reaction to the pandemic can help facilitate the following measures: bridging how and in what we educate and job match; spotlighting skills which will flatten the equity and inclusion curve in the workplace; and, centering our unique “humanness,” which also happens to make us robot-proof in the workplace.

About
Sallyann Della Casa
:
Sallyann Della Casa is an “outside artist” having five degrees in everything but education. She leads GLEAC and her foundation, Growing Leaders, which upskills offline the most vulnerable in the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific.
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

Flattening the Diversity and Inclusion Curve through Skill-Based Hiring

Photo by Ian Schneider via Unsplash.

August 4, 2020

T

he term “Skills” seems to be on everyone’s lips lately, especially with the soaring unemployment rates brought out by COVID-19. Currently over 40 million Americans are unemployed, the highest numbers since The Great Depression. According to the World Economic Forum, the skills required for jobs over the next two years will change by 42%, with over one billion jobs requiring different skills than the ones that exist now, over the next decade.

Now consider this statistic, a degree which is a stated requirement for about 60% of all jobs rule out 70% of American adults who do not possess one. Only 9% of Black Americans in a critical age range between 23-29 and 9% of Hispanic Americans overall have degrees.

Skill-based hiring, with no degree required, can be a great equalizer that allows everyone a seat at the table. Opportunities for Skilling, Credentialing, and Signaling for workforce readiness is becoming the most important area of education and the future of work in business today—do we fully understand which skills are the focus and in demand?

Organizations typically group skills into two categories: hard-skills, which are technical, and knowledge-based and soft-skills, which tend to be viewed as more intangible—such as communication and leadership. A job’s architecture has a unique combination of hard and soft skills. Because hard skills are generally quantifiable and easily assessed with degrees and certifications, they are easier to measure, hence leading employers to evaluate candidates in majority or exclusively on those abilities. This is a big problem.

Power skills matter.

Soft-skills, aka human-skills, aka people-skills, aka power-skills, have been relegated to second place for too long, while in fact they are the most important and difficult set of skills to acquire. They are the personal attributes you need to succeed in the workplace and are, in the end, the skills that give you true power in your job role. Power skills (e.g. problem-solving, judgment and decision making, and self-direction) can be accurately measured, developed, and signaled to an employer to show readiness specific to a job and industry sector.  

Human Soft Skills Matter.

We have known this for decades. In 1918, research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Center concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well developed soft and people skills, and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (i.e. hard skills). Yes, we’ve known about the importance of soft skills to job success for over a hundred years. In 2008, Google Project Oxygen identified the eight qualities of their best managers. A good manager:

1. Is a good coach;

2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage;

3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being;

4. Is a good communicator—listens and shares information; and,

5. Has key technical skills to help advise the team.

Only one of the top eight skills identified was a hard skill. Surprised?

Power skills are developed like habits. We come to them at different levels with some of us having a natural advantage. Think Kobe Bryant. Habits take between one to eight months to develop and generally require these three qualities: 1) a high frequency of practice 2) an increased level of difficulty and 3) the experience of being coached when making mistakes. Habits, like the ability to slam dunk, are not formed mindlessly.

Measuring power skills is not hard. At GLEAC we use a patent-pending quantitative, qualitative, and 360 views loop inspired by Ray Dalio’s dot collector.

Step into the shoes of an employer.

How can they check your power skills? What if you had a “batting” scorecard in power skills, to include how you learn, apply, and change them in workplace situations? This is how we are redefining the future “resume” at GLEAC.

It’s relevant more than ever now.

Ivanka Trump recently announced that Federal hiring will pivot to skills over traditional diplomas. I invite the Trump administration to take a look at Zoho, a software as a service (SaaS) company out of South India. With no pedigreed software professionals, they compete with Salesforce, Oracle, and Google Cloud. At present, Zoho is experimenting with 10 villages in Tamil Nadu, where 200 of its engineers—20 in each village—will collaborate and build software for the world.

COVID-19 has created numerous emerging roles for tools such as Contact Tracer where a unique set of soft skills matter. How does one confidently say “I possess the right quantities of emotional distance, learning agility and following rules for the emerging role of Contact Tracer in Florida?”

The CDC states that: “Requisite knowledge and skills for case investigators and contact tracers include, but are not limited to:

• An understanding of patient confidentiality, including the ability to conduct interviews without violating confidentiality (e.g., to those who might overhear their conversations).

• Understanding of the medical terms and principles of exposure, infection, infectious period, potentially infectious interactions, symptoms of disease, pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic infection.

• Excellent and sensitive interpersonal, cultural sensitivity, and interviewing skills such that they can build and maintain trust with patients and contacts.

• Basic skills of crisis counseling, and the ability to confidently refer patients and contacts for further care if needed.

• Resourcefulness in locating patients and contacts who may be difficult to reach or reluctant to engage in conversation.

• Understanding of when to refer individuals or situations to medical, social, or supervisory resources.

• Cultural competency appropriate to the local community.

The vast majority of the above skills are human focused.

COVID-19 has been hard. Yet our reaction to the pandemic can help facilitate the following measures: bridging how and in what we educate and job match; spotlighting skills which will flatten the equity and inclusion curve in the workplace; and, centering our unique “humanness,” which also happens to make us robot-proof in the workplace.

About
Sallyann Della Casa
:
Sallyann Della Casa is an “outside artist” having five degrees in everything but education. She leads GLEAC and her foundation, Growing Leaders, which upskills offline the most vulnerable in the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.