January 10, 2023

Why skills, gig work, and workforce agility will rule the talent world in 2023

Workforce planning in 2023 will come down to one critical element — the ability to map an organization’s talent strategy to its overall objectives. 

Preparing for a new year likely seems daunting for many HR and talent leaders right now. The recent past has been incredibly tough, and there’s little relief in sight. From pandemic hiring freezes and hiring booms to the most recent layoffs and likely recession, talent and HR leaders are constantly on the front lines of figuring out how to quickly adjust and support their organizations’ needs at any moment. 

As we prepare for what’s ahead, here are three ways organizational leaders can prepare to navigate the new year and set themselves up for long-term success. 

Put skills at the heart of talent planning

Focusing on traditional job descriptions and requisitions to fill roles stymies innovation. Moreover, organizations can no longer rely on outdated definitions of success when hiring and managing talent. In fact, hiring for positions without a comprehensive understanding of the skills behind them puts everyone involved at a disadvantage.

To meet workforce needs in today’s economy, where the half-life of skills continues to shrink, organizations must focus on finding talent with the skills needed to close the gaps today while helping to fill future business needs. 

This will require a significant shift in thinking and approaches, as it’s a substantial break from how work has been done to date.

“For over a century, jobs have been the dominating structure for work,” states this Deloitte article. “Confining work to standardized tasks done in a functional job, and then making all decisions about workers based on their job in the organizational hierarchy, hinders some of today’s most critical organizational objectives.”

This is where skills-based hiring comes in. As HR teams rethink talent-acquisition processes and transition to a skills-driven approach, they need to break down roles to the skill level and restructure the organization to enable skills-first practices.

Related: Ready to learn more about pivoting from traditional job-based to skills-based workforce planning? Read the article on skills-driven talent planning.

Contingent talent is a vital part of your workforce

Bringing on contingent workers is not a new strategy. What is somewhat revolutionary is the idea that contingent talent is a critical element of the workforce — not a temporary solution — that gives organizations greater flexibility in talent planning. 

“Contingent workers enable organizations to strategically augment their workforces with skilled, specialized talent when and where they need it,” said Rebecca Warren, Director of Customer Success at Eightfold AI. 

Why skills, gig work, and workforce agility will rule the talent world in 2023

An elastic approach to talent better positions any organization to meet skills demands in a tight labor market and uncertain economy. 

The challenge for HR is how to strategically build this total talent network, at scale, for all levels of an organization, integrating contingent workers where they’re most needed. 

Talent teams must be able to: 

  • Foresee potential skills gaps 
  • Source the talent they need in their pipelines
  • Nurture relationships to fill talent pipelines and move fast once the need for a particular skill arises

Related: Interested in how to build an elastic talent strategy? Read why contingent workers are the hidden stars of any nimble organization.

Make your talent system more resilient

Resiliency in talent systems has become more critical than ever. Factors include the looming economic recession, a slightly slowing labor market, increased turnover in leadership positions, and evolving worker expectations.

HR leaders must find new ways to meet workforce demands as external conditions impact organizations. To effectively do this, HR leaders should adopt a more holistic approach to talent strategy, said Andrea Shiah, Head of Talent Strategy and Transformation at Eightfold AI. Instead of a siloed approach, leaders from different HR functions are brought together to build talent strategies to serve the organization’s overall objectives.

Why skills, gig work, and workforce agility will rule the talent world in 2023

Talent and business leaders must also embrace data’s power to solve people-related challenges. 

“The use of AI and predictive analytics will become more prolific in forecasting to help identify the right roles, skills, and geographies to focus on the changing business,” said Annamarya Scaccia, Director of Communication at the Korn Ferry Institute.

Related: Read the three labor market trends HR and business leaders need to know in their 2023 talent planning.

If HR and talent leaders focus on these three areas — skills, contingent workforce, and data — they will be better prepared and informed to tackle whatever comes their way in 2023.