Skills at the core: Unleashing the power of modern work design

How a skills-based approach to work design can unlock human potential, boost employee engagement, and drive organizational performance.

Skills at the core: Unleashing the power of modern work design

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As skills become increasingly vital in shaping organizational success, adaptability, and competitiveness, leaders across industries are reevaluating traditional work design practices. New technologies, including Generative AI, augment, not replace human jobs. Organizations need to find the right balance between humans and tech. As traditional jobs are rebuilt and accelerated by different work models (gig, flex, etc.), there is an increasing need to understand what skills are needed and those in decline.

Join Eightfold AI and Mercer for an insightful webinar that delves into the significance of skills in modern work design and explores innovative strategies to harness their power.

You will discover:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the rapidly evolving skills landscape and its implications for work design
  • A step-by-step approach to modern work design
  • How to leverage a talent marketplace to support modern work design and real-time deployment of talent to projects, gigs, and redesigned jobs.
  • How data-driven insights can enhance workforce planning, recruitment, and people development strategies in support of a dynamic talent ecosystem

Andrea Shiah, Eightfold AI 0:00
I’m really excited, I think we will have a great discussion today. Joining me is David Mitchell, from Mercer. And so what you’re going to see today is some great research and some great data and intelligence that we’re going to share with you on different trends in the talent marketplace. So, to get started, we’ll just do a quick introduction. As I said, I’m Andrea Shiah, and the head of talent strategy and transformation at Eightfold. I joined Eightfold about two years ago prior to that I had a 25-year career at American Express, where I worked across many different business units, but ended up in human resources and really led a lot of transformation there, including the implementation of a full so I spend my time these days talking to talent leaders about how skills AI has a big impact on their talent strategies. So I’m looking forward to sharing more with you today. And I’ll let David introduce himself to us.

David Mitchell, Mercer 1:07
Good morning. Good afternoon. Looking forward to sharing with everybody today. I’m David Mitchell, I’m part of Mercer’s Future of Work Practice and a fun place to be sitting these days with so much disruption and innovation around things like Chet GPT will certainly go into AI today. And just all the innovations around things like talent marketplaces and the types of great work that Eightfold does. So we’ll get that much deeper. Prior to Mercer, I was the Chief Human Resource Officer in a large academic medical center healthcare organization, also many years in the technology space. And so I’ve appreciated seeing technology, innovation, consulting, innovation, and then being and housed actually getting to put a lot of these practices into effect. And so I really tried today, not just to be conceptual, but talk about how this looks in real life, so that all of you are going out and putting this into place in your organization’s will really try to give some good practical tips and ideas today and look forward to the dialogue with you.

Andrea Shiah, Eightfold AI 2:01
Yeah, innovation seems to be the word of the moment, for sure. So let’s get started, we’re going to talk a little bit about skills, a lot about skills at the core and how that really unleashes the kind of work design in the current day, given all the trends that are happening. So I think we just went through a bit on our introductions a little bit about our agenda, and we’ll just go ahead and dive right in. So I’m gonna get started, just set the stage a little bit. You know, we talked about transformation and innovation. I thought, one of the things that would be helpful for this audience to see is what’s happening in this broad, transformational trend related to digital trends, right? I think most companies across most industries are facing these trends and thought it’d be helpful to highlight some actual trends that we’re seeing in our data. And I think a lot of this makes a lot of sense. But it’s always great to step back and spend a moment kind of reflecting on this. So what you see here are just kind of these trends that are happening, right related to cloud computing, mobile, first AI and big data very central, I think we’re going to deep dive into that.

Dave is going to deep dive into that a little bit today about chat, chat GPT. We’re going to talk about, you know, the other trends related to edge computing, Internet of all things, cybersecurity, and even virtual augmented reality, these are some of the big digital trends that we’re seeing. And here what you can see, with each of them, you can see kind of the areas and functions that they’re impacting, which is everything really, you can see the big jobs that are emerging, right? If you look at cloud computing, what you’re seeing here is things like Cloud engineers, we all I think, are very aware of that as a rising role. If you look at AI and big data, data engineers, data scientists, and analytics experts are some of the big trends that I think anybody that’s a talent leader, is seeing huge demand for in the marketplace. So just giving a highlight overall, on these trends, how they’re affecting roles, and how roles are emerging with these trends. And I think for most people, we can see that these are some of the most competitive roles to hire for. On the next page, I think just another level in what you’ll see is these trends and how they relate to skills. Right? And it’s actually when you take a look at the skills associated with roles and even traditional roles, how fast skills are changing. That’s where you’re gonna see some of the most dramatic changes. And so here, we’ve captured four of those trends related to AI and big data, cloud computing,

Internet of all things and cybersecurity. It can you see the use case, there are some of the most critical use cases that drive everything right, your customer explorer grants, your revenue growth, your cost efficiency, and even speed of efficiency, right? All those things are impacted by these types of functionalities. And you can see the different types of roles, that really sorry, the different types of skills that really are in high demand. Now, in each of these areas, one of the things we took a look at is what is the prevalence of these skills in the marketplace. And what you can see is, while these are really fast growing skills, the prevalence of these skills within organizations is still on the low side, most of them are in the red space. And I think cloud computing is the one area that’s moved into yellow, I think, just out of pure necessity, right with regards to the kind of storing data. So there’s a lot of really important trends here. I just wanted to highlight as an overview on kind of what’s happening with regards to skills, picking up the trends, specifically on digital skills and roles, because that’s where we’re seeing some of the greatest change. So let’s go ahead and jump into our poll for a second, as I’ve just covered that. We’d love to hear from the audience a little bit about which digital trends do you believe will have the most significant impact on your organization in the next five years. So you see the options here, A, B, C, and D. A being artificial intelligence and machine learning, the remote and flexible work arrangements, see employee experience and engagement platforms, and D big data and analytics for HR decision making.

Andrea Shiah, Eightfold AI 6:41
Great, let’s look at these results. Okay. Great, I think we still have a couple of answers coming in. Really interesting.

So leading the way, by large majority. So getting a few answers coming in. I’ll wait one more minute. Because really, I think this is going to be interesting to hear our audience’s perspective here. So I’m gonna go ahead and read these results. But what I’m seeing here is the largest grouping here in terms of the trend, they’ll have the greatest impact on the organization, the next five years is artificial intelligence and machine learning, currently at 45% of the response next, followed by big data and analytics for HR decision making 21%, followed by remote and flexible work arrangements, which is 19%, and employee experience engagement platforms at 16%. So really interesting, really interesting insights to see and still seeing votes coming in, which is great, but we’re saying pretty consistent with these results. David, any thoughts you have and kind of what you’re seeing here? In terms of the responses from the audience?

David Mitchell, Mercer 8:22
I guess I’m just feeling good that our next slide starts out with the words AI. So we anticipated the audience well, and we’ll have a good next couple minutes of content for folks, but it is the topic on top of everyone’s mind. And so we’ll definitely roll up our sleeves and go deep there today. Okay,

Andrea Shiah, Eightfold AI 8:40
so let’s go ahead, and we’ll proceed on and perfect segue.

David Mitchell, Mercer 8:46
Thank you everyone, for answering correctly, I wouldn’t have an alternative slide if you did not. In any case, I just had, I mean, the world, November 30. Last year was when open AI released their cat GPT four model. And it really is almost like BC and AD in the world of technology, and work, because so much is going to change. I’ll show you some data in a minute, around just how much we think some of these new generative AI types of tools are going to change things. And I can tell you, it’s not a moment too soon, because the way we’ve set up the sliders, how are we solving a problem and going back to about the year 2000? I’ll show you some data on this in a minute as well. The world found itself kind of this funny workforce productivity problem. No one would think that since the late 90s, when the Internet came out, we should all be massively more productive. And in fact, the data shows that workforce productivity has fallen over the years and this is really becoming a problem. Whether it be in China in the US and America in Europe, where costs are going up. We all know Labor’s getting more expensive. It’s been an inflationary period, but we’re not getting productive at the same rates of growth that are getting more expensive. And so the hope really is that organizations of course, one reason we look at skills is how to make people better utilized and more value added, what are the skills that we need in the future? Whereas our workforce today, how can we invest in those and build a more effective productive workforce? Ai just comes on top of that, and says both how do we have the right skills for the future? And how do we go into the nuts and bolts, the sausage making of each of our jobs, and start incorporating this not as replacing the human worker, but augmenting us with this additional knowledge and really productivity tools to get more productive? And so that’s going to be the focus today is kind of how do you supercharge your skills journey with things like AI and work redesign, so we can jump onto the next slide here. Now, as we look at the little guy, here, he’s probably 1516 years from perhaps getting his first job. For a lot of us, the changes are going to become quite a bit quicker. Another two of the questions a minute ago, when I was on AI, the other was around flux and alternative work models are two of the four options. Both are changing so quickly. So first, just looking at some of the data out there, right now, there’s this idea that aid in every 10 jobs, or I should use my elementary school math, four out of every five jobs will be affected in some way by generative AI. So essentially means nearly every one of us on this call is something not 12 years from now, something in the next 12 months is going to be changing around our positions. And for about 20% of jobs 19% More than half of what we do throughout the day will be significantly affected. And especially anybody who’s in say, a computer programming job, an accounting job,

David Mitchell, Mercer 11:53
a nursing job, for example, these are ones are going to be really, really disrupted around it. So key questions are our organizations, are we as often HR leaders and HR professionals ready. And then it’s not just the technology parts of our job and augmenting parts of technology coming in. It’s also that we have this huge new many ways of working with one another. No remote working hybrid working zoom isn’t necessarily new, but COVID. Again, supercharged that and really opened the door on whether it be working from home, whether it be working from hybrid, whether it be job sharing ideas of good work. And of course, as you see, new generations like the Zoomer generation coming in have a very different expectation of work. And so you just have these two very disruptive factors of many new ways of flexibly creatively working supercharged with new technologies that change and kind of the productivity calculation. And that’s what’s going to be so disruptive to us. And so we’ll get some practical ideas in a second. But it’s important to start out with just how quickly this is coming and how big it will be. Now, if we jumped to the next slide, you know, technology, changing work is certainly not a new thing, you know, all the way going back to say the 1950s, or he started doing a lot of the factory automation. And you know, those first room size IBM supercar a big computers are coming into play all the way through digital interaction technologies in the 80s 90s, up to a new digital enabled business models, I mean, a business like Uber, I was happy taken an Uber this morning, couldn’t have existed 10 years ago. This is a whole new class of transportation of jobs that has been enabled by technology, bringing in some of this flexibility to work. And so as we’ve gone through each of these kinds of technology transformations, the way we’ve been able to work has certainly changed from new work, to the gig economy to flex work, but also the impact on workers bringing more people often into the workforce in more meaningful ways. Ideally, technology again, isn’t replacing us, it’s giving more time to do what matters to us, to lean in those skills that make us most productive, and to find that meaningfulness. And that’s a real belief, and I’ll show some examples as we go through. So we believe generative AI is going to come as an amplification augmenting our intelligence, and ideally making us even more productive and just finding enjoyment out of what we do. And that’s what we really see in the next slide. You know, I talked a minute ago about how we’re seeing you know, about all of our jobs, four or five, four to five jobs will change, but 20% of jobs, huge amounts will change. The fun way to think about work for me is kind of in these stacked bar graphs here. So think of most of us today. I’m a consultant. So there’s an expertise part of my job and talks like this are going to clients and sharing what I’ve learned from 2526 years of, of just working in developing skills. There’s the relational part of work, whether we have selling parts of our job serving customers, externally or internally but the things we have to do one to one as humans or with groups, and then all of us just Have the transactional stuff if I’m a nurse, I’m in the EPIC system doing billing and paid medical records coding, if I’m, you know, in an accounting job, it’s probably setting up spreadsheets in a certain way. I’m sure everybody on this call us expense reports and travel arrangements. No large parts of our day and many jobs we look at when we break them down into hours, 30-40% of our time, can be that transactional stuff. So first, the good news, the people who are really studying, where’s AI going to hit the most, it’s that big, light green transactional, census, that’s going to really just start to go down quite a bit, which one gives all of us significantly more time in our day, really, just in the next three to four years as, as this starts taking hold across our businesses, more time in our day to lean into the expertise parts of our job, which is great. That’s what we spend all our time developing to the relational parts of our job, which is often what brings many of us meaningfulness and enjoyment. Take that transactional piece. Sometimes people say, is AI going to replace us? Is it me or chat? GPT? I do think for the transactional work, the experts here say that is what’s going to get substituted in us doing a lot of the accounting and what is our taxes? Do I have a doctor? How do I make sure I get the right medical code to get the insurance billing Correct. AI is wonderful at doing that kind of thing. And that really will be RPA means robotic process, automation or AI there. For the relation and expertise Part No, this is the augmentation. This is where I’m trying to come up with a presentation or a client email or to do a performance review for a staff member. Or look at screening a large number of applications if I’m in talent acquisition. And here’s where it can come in and be doing the summarizing, doing content creation, all the kinds of wonderful things that started to come there on the augmentation side. And so I’ll give some more examples as we go. But that’s really how it works is going to be changing. And so we can start just seeing if skills have always been important. And I don’t mean the transactional skills like data entry, data entry will certainly go down as an important skill. It’s a skill around being able to have empathy to understand a client’s need, or an and if I’m doing HR do maybe leadership development, those kinds of skills are just going to rocket ship up in importance going forward. The expertise and relational parts of our jobs are going to all be learning and doing. So to me, that’s good news. And if we go ahead and just jump to the next one, it’s not just technology, making our kind of value added skills more important and giving us more time in our day to do those. It’s also given us, as employers, much more flexible ways to think about getting the work done. I mean, we’ve all long known that the typical nine to five job is kind of just going away right now a lot of the surveys that we do here at Mercer with CEOs or people are saying 60 65% of CEOs are suddenly expect the majority of their work by the year 2030, to be open not just a full time but to these different part time gig contractor shared jobs type of arrangements, one that recognizes the huge retirement boom, that’s coming. But also that recognizes some of the younger folks coming into the workforce having just very different expectations at work. So this idea of employees and flexible roles, allowing for where they’re needed, enabled by this kind of neat technology that’s coming out. And of course to do any kind of that flow, skills become the common language that allows that it’s not just a job description, sitting in a cost center and a 1.0 ft kind of job. But it’s being able to have, you know, project management skills so perhaps I picked up some IP project management expertise. But it also picked up some finance project management expertise, and maybe some HR project expertise. So I now have that unique ability to flow around in my organization based on those skills. And so those are just a few of the ways that we really see technology and things like aI changing work these new work arrangements. It’s where it’s really going. If we jump onto the next slide there are 20 of talent marketplaces, if you’ve been on prior HCI and calls or calls with Eightfold, we’ve talked quite a bit about this idea of talent marketplace. So much of the world is going in this direction right now where we’re looking at, what is that right skilled talent, that project manager who’s really good at complex, hairy projects, and maybe it’s an IT space or finance space. And our organization is starting up a new initiative right now that needs that person, maybe in a different country, a different city, a different business unit that they sit in. Maybe we need to augment a bit of time with a real special kind of expertise, maybe on a particular technology or new service area. And the whole idea is we do the fun little build here. The next slide is just see and we’re going to be able to take our individuals, take their skill sets and Take those tasks, and just do these very flexible mashups. Some organizations call them tiger teams. So I have a big new initiative. I’m starting this year. I’m going to grab a finance person, an IT person, an HR person, the salesperson, we’re all going to come together for six, seven months around a goal, get started up, and then nothing explodes. And they’ll go off to the next thing. That Well, you know, coming back to our core issue, which is we’re just not productive enough, the last really two decades, it is that combination of more relational time or expertise, time augmented with the AI types of tools, within the agility to flow where that work is up our utilization with these kinds of talent marketplaces. So a few things, just how a lot of this may have kind of felt very futuristic to some others who say, I’m already doing this. So the organizations are some of the leaders here. Let’s talk in the next slide a bit just around how mindsets change because for some, this can be really uncomfortable, frankly, for people managers, for HR managers, who are often used to, you know, needing to kind of control where’s the headcount and our workforce planning, that part of it can be very uncomfortable. So what’s changing?

David Mitchell, Mercer 21:15
Historically, of course, you’ve had people unemployed, the number it’s, you know, one dot or position, maybe in some cases is 0.5 FTE position. And in a single job, IT project manager that has a call center, I’ve had maybe five to get that cap this year, I don’t want to give up that headcount. But I’ve got it in place, and I have a linear career path, maybe going up from a junior it pm to a middle level it pm to a senior, it PM, and I have maybe some technology, project management software, for example, to go along with that, where things are really changing now, and where HR professionals and people managers will be really challenged with their minds shift changes, is this idea, I certainly have my internal talent, but they may not be my mind department, they may not even be in my business unit. In some cases, they may not even be in my city or my country. They’re just in my company somewhere. So I have internal talent. And of course, there’s other times where I don’t need to go out and hire that one, that RFP, I just need a little bit of external talent, how can I go look for this kind of talent. I also have my job.

But I also have worst paths in particular projects, challenging, maybe a time bound one, this is an FY 23 project, for example, and of a range of different kinds of experiences and skills that are required for that, for those of you that might be in the biopharmaceutical space, I often hear this as an example of seven, eight years ago in the pharmacy space, you know, takes a long time to use to take a long time to bring new drugs to market, you have to, you know, do clinical 1234 trials and FDA approval in this country and other countries, their own FDA versions, take seven, eight years, that gives you plenty of time to build a sales organization, build a research organization build their regulatory organization. Most biopharma is now doing eight drug releases a year, and just kind of everybody’s businesses are ramping up that way. So I didn’t know who has heart drug expertise, Japanese regulatory experience in three months, but seven months from now, the focus will be doing the release in France. So how can I build that kind of agility in my workforce, to match that kind of agility that’s happening, and so many of our businesses, so I mean, pharmaceuticals are just indicative of many of the ways all of our industries are changing right now. So that’s a lot of the concept. I’m going to share one more slide, and we’ll come back and ground us again. And then we’re going to really go into an issue of how do we start making this practical, you know, we’ve talked a few things over the last 1015 minutes here, around thinking about how what we do each day is going to change that transactional stuff going away, how we’re going to then become even more agile with bringing skills into it and moving where we need to. But the hope would be and this is the huge challenge for the C suite executives, the folks that make the big money in our companies right now. Is this going to finally be the solution to our productivity conundrum?

Of course, people still want their three, four or 5% merit increases this year, inflation is still coming down, but still quite high in this country. So costs are going up. But can we finally start, you know, HR going to our business leaders saying we think we have a really innovative idea here from you of combining both the promise of AI technology and how that makes us more productive in our jobs, combined with skills based talent marketplaces that push up our utilization. And ideally, not just doing good for the business brings more meaningfulness to all of us to finally get at this productivity conundrum we’ve had forever and I think we can’t get this. It really puts HR we’ve long been hopefully the hero to see, but really up there in the hero seat. So last slide there before I pass it back to Andrea. The big question now based on everything we’ve talked about for the last few minutes is going around this clock here. These are my opinions and not my own favorite slides . I think this is for at least my section, the most important one yours if you’re not multitasking the last 10 minutes, stay with me for just 30 seconds here. But all those things we’ve talked about, give us now the opportunity as HR leaders to go to our business unit leaders, go to our people, managers, or C suite executives, and really start having these conversations around our job. How do we start looking at some of these automation options of substitution, augmentation transformation, some of that stuff over there like the two three o’clock? How can we additionally look at some alternative work arrangements so that those who are maybe available to do part time, they’re not there for full time? I can get in and get their skills, their expertise for that amount of time in this new augmented world going forward? Really? How does that change our algorithms? And what are the most important skills in our organization? And the typical thing of what we need three years from now, who do we have today in our home, you know, typical buy build partner? How do we get to that right skill set? And then the last one is how do we get six o’clock there? How do we best organize our work, organize it to get the very best out of technology, get the very best out of people and build those skills based meaningful careers going forward? So as we transition, I think we have one more second poll question now that we’ll put up here for y’all. So this one being, how important do you believe it is for organizations to strike the right balance between human skills and technology to drive success and modern work design? We’ll see the options come up here for y’all in a moment.

Speaker 3 26:58
Okay, so it looks like we’re getting some pretty consistent results, as the responses are coming in. Overwhelmingly, the responses are that it is extremely important and finding the right synergy is key to thrive. So striking that balance between human skills and technology to drive success in the organization.

David Mitchell, Mercer 27:37
We know what everybody’s budgeting for next year, everyone should go into AI sales. Yeah. But David, I

Andrea Shiah, Eightfold AI 27:45
i really agree with your last point, this is such an amazing opportunity for HR leaders to inform the organization about these alternatives, these solutions and these ways to really kind of manage her talent to deliver on business results. I agree with you, I think HR is put into this great seat to make a big difference for driving business and business results. And I think it’s an exciting time for us. It’s a little crazy, though. I mean, obviously, it’s been a very transformative, very volatile, 12 week, few years. But it’s also very exciting for those who are up to kind of really championing these opportunities for their organization.

So now talking. So we’ve just talked a lot about chat GPT, we talked about dramatic changes happening to jobs in the workforce. So the big question, I think that ends up being on people’s mind is like, how, how do I quit my organization to be ready for this? And how do I make sure we’re agile, so that we can be ready to either keep up with these trends or stay ahead of the trends, right? As you can see, these trends are going to drive a lot of business results and success and efficiencies and customer engagement. So really important. I think what I want to share a little bit with you now is some of the intelligence that Eightfold brings to our customers. Right, we have about half the world’s workforce with data on skills and skill trends. We’re able to bring that intelligence and kind of integrate into the workflow of talent. And I want to share with you some of those insights now and you can see kind of the impact of that and how you’re able to take those insights and make some great decisions or enable some great experiences for your employees. So in this page, what you’ll see here’s a specific example, I’m taking one of the digital rising roles, which is a data scientists and what we can see and this is real data What we can see are on the first column, these are the top skills that we’re seeing in the marketplace in terms of the most common skills for data scientists.

In addition to these skills, what we can also see is, are these skills rising? Are they declining? Are they stable skills? So if you look at the data scientists here, if you look at these top skills, you’ll see three that are rising Python, Tableau, and machine learning, are some of the common rising skills, you’ll also see a few that are stable, and also three, they’re declining amongst most prevalent skills, and this type of insight is really valuable. You know, we see a lot of our customers using this information to talk to their leaders, their business leaders about things like, what does this mean for us? Are the skills that we require for our jobs? Should we require them and if you look at the second column, this is actually one that generates a lot of conversation, right? The second column is really about the fastest rising skills for data sciences. So we’re able to see, for example, over the past 10 years, which are some of the fastest rising skills, the majority of these are really rising at a clip of over four times the rate of where they were earlier. And so you can see they’re really fast growing skills. And this is great, because it allows you to see, as a leader and your business leaders, like are these skills that are critical for us? Have we included them in terms of the skills that we want to require for our roles, that means are we building the right skills for this role, based on what the marketplace is telling us? Right. So really valuable information to have, as you’re thinking about skills for different roles in your company. This is now looking at, again, at data scientists. And obviously, as you can see, over the past 10 years, the role is growing very quickly, to be a highly prevalent role. And then if you look at the skill trends within the role, I think this is really interesting. If you take a look at 10 years ago, the rising skills, there’s literally no overlap with the current rising skills. So a lot of different tools, practices and approaches are required for data scientists. And you can see the slope of the lines beneath each of those, you can actually see that these skills are changing at a three to five year clip. Right. And so that’s what’s really important, you want to understand kind of what’s happening because you don’t want to fall behind you don’t want your competitor has to be growing these skills that are really vital, right to be successful for a data scientist, and to be lagging in terms of the skills that you’re hiring for and potentially behind, right and building those skills in your organization’s because these are important skills.

Look, in the next page, I just want to share with you a little bit about kind of when you have this intelligence, as a talent leader, what you’re able to see is what are some declining roles, and what are some rising roles, right and declining roles. Here’s an example based on national data that we see in our systems analyst roles. When you look at future roles, cloud engineer roles are, as we talked about earlier, a fast rising role. What we’re able to see with the intelligence is these two roles have a really high overlap of their skills. The green boxes are direct overlap, the yellow boxes are related overlap. So for an HR leader, or for business leader, this is great to see, because this gives you the ability to understand where can I upskill, my organization, right, who has a heavy overlap with the skills and has the ability to pick up these new skills readily to be able to move into these future roles. And I love this because it’s a win win. Right? It’s a win for the organization, because you’re building the skills that are critical to your business success, but it’s also a win for your employees, because they’re building skills that are going to be relevant for the future. So I really love this scenario, are some of the insights and intelligence that you can get through AI skills. The next page is the same thing, slightly different view. This is from an employee’s perspective. So if I’m that systems administrator, I could have to see I have heavy overlap with three different types of roles, a cloud engineer role, business systems consultant role in a DevOps engineer role. And I can see these are very different pathways that I can take, and what skills do I want to build in these pathways. So if I want to move down the path of a cloud engineer, you can see there’s a lot around agile methodologies, Java, and Python, so there’s, you know, programming language that’s important. And then the middle path is very different. If process improvement, business analysis and strategic planning are important to me as areas I’d love to learn, I can choose a very different pathway. And both of those pathways have heavy overlap with skills I already have. So this is really I think this is really powerful from the perspective of empowering your employees. We’re seeing that as one of the biggest drivers First for success of employee engagement and also for upscaling. And the last slide I want to share with you, which I really love is really, you know, I think, Dave, you talked a little bit about, you know, potential and understanding potential in your organization. This is something that Eightfold has done scientifically with the data that we have. So we have such a depth of data, as I said, with half the world’s workforce with the data, we can actually see what skills individuals have before they learn another skill successfully.

So we see kind of the movement of individuals in their careers, and what are the common pathways and what skills are usually picked up when somebody has a base of skills. And so we call these adjacent skills. And so if you look in this page, you can see in the dark boxes are some of the common high demand skills out there. And the right of that, or what we’ve identified as adjacent skills. And I’ll use the example of Python, where if you’ve got experience with Java, R, or C Plus Plus, your ability to learn Python is highly likely. As a matter of fact, since Python is a, we’re seeing that as a rising programming skill, the chances are, you might already have a foot in the door in terms of learning Python. And you can see the same for the others. If you look at agile methodologies, Scrum, user centered design, some of these skills are basically predictors that you can acquire agile methodologies, skills pretty readily. The power of this, if you look at the gold box on the right, is that you’re able to increase your pool of candidates, whether you’re looking internally or externally, pretty substantially. Right, anywhere from I think it’s three times for Python, if you consider these adjacent skills, up to 12 times for financial modeling. And so the power of this is, you know, you can actually look at your workforce and understand what skills you have that are adjacent skills, and what’s your likelihood to be able to upgrade upskilling for some of the skills in the dark box, right, which you know, are some of the most competitive skills, right, they’re really tough to find in the marketplace. And so this is really powerful from the skills intelligence perspective. And we kind of weave this into the town process, whether you’re talking about talent acquisition, or you’re talking about internal mobility. So employees and talent leaders can see this, and even recruiters can see it in talent acquisition, to help really grow quality candidate pools. So just want to share that on, you know, tools and how AI plays a role in helping you really become agile, and building the critical skills that you need.

So let’s jump to our next poll.

Andrea Shiah, Eightfold AI 37:53
How prepared Do you feel to approach modern work design practices and adapt to the changing landscape of work?

If you want to show the options here, a not prepared at all, be slightly prepared, C moderately prepared, T very prepared, and II extremely prepared.

David Mitchell, Mercer 38:18
And while people answered that there was a question, one of our participants there asked how are you measuring the speed of skill gain by the number of people gaining the skills per time period? Something else?

Andrea Shiah, Eightfold AI 38:28
Yeah. So we’re measuring the speed by the prevalence of the skill? So how prevalent is that skill? For the role? The example I share with you is how prevalent is that skill for a particular role? And has the relative prevalence of that skill grown over time? I think that’s kind of the powerful way we’ve been able to identify, you know, the rising or declining skill trends.

Andrea Shiah, Eightfold AI 39:02
Okay. Great, so here, what I’m seeing is the strongest category of responses moderately prepared, and I see slightly prepared, shifting up and down as the second category, followed by very prepared and then 6% and not prepared at all, and 3% and extremely prepared. That’s exciting to see is we sound like we’ve got some real transformation innovators in our audience.

David Mitchell, Mercer 39:42
Great, perfect. Okay. Just continue on.

So hopefully after this last about 10 minute or so section, everybody can at least bump up from one of those levels to a bit prepared to moderate moderate to high because I really want to take this time where you know, Andrew is really laid out for For us, what are the concept of skills that are rising in importance and out of those fit into jobs we looked at like the sysadmin, and the DevOps type of managers. So assuming in the future, as we find those people develop in those people, those critical skills, how do we know really design those jobs to get one maximum productivity out of them good for the business, as well as also just building maximum sustainability for them so that they’re fine, just have the resilience and the meaningfulness in the job. And that is where this last piece and we’ll just be kind of hopefully very practical, step by step through this idea of modern work do we design comes into place, stuff jump forward, here, it’s going to be a simple set of four rules can get a bit more complicated if you’re doing this in real life.

For example, I had the pleasure of over the last six, seven months, in one case, working with a large US specialty retailer where they wanted to reimagine the role of the in store sales associate, or in a very different environment, a hospital system that wanted to reimagine the role of the registered nurse. And a lot of our sectors, especially places where we just face really endemic talent shortages. I think with the latest June numbers, there are still about four and a half million more job openings in this country than there are people looking for jobs, having both the right skills, and just being able to get a bit more capacity in the day really becomes critical in a lot of our talent constrained places. So we’re going to look at the approach that does two things. One, we’re going to start with the work, not just that existing job description for a sysadmin or DevOps. But if I look at the 2080 hour work, here is the 168 Hour Work Month. How much time percentage wise are they spending on X task 10% There 15% of this other one 5% there, but really start without the word with the work itself. And thinking about what is the time allocation of the job? What are the skills related to each one of those particular tasks that the overall job, but the skill for those individuals often for most of us 20 To 30 tasks that we’re doing in the course of our daily jobs. And once we’ve done that gotten broken down and looked at the time allocation, since you do have time study, we’re going to go through each and every single one of those tasks, let’s take that in store sales associate to maybe spend part of their time back in the warehouse looking for product or organizing the shipment that came in with a delivery truck this morning. Maybe a part in the front of the store, straightening up things, making sure all the shelves look nice, and all the racks are full. So part of the time answering shopper questions or the cash register, doing point of sale checkout kinds of things. And let’s really think about each one of those tasks which have very different skills associated with them. What is that optimal combination of humans that often has to do with expertise in relational parts? Versus what can be automated, that’s often a big part of that transactional piece, how can we automate as much of that part of the job as possible?

Once you’ve really got the optimal combination of each task between humans and machines, then really start having that discussion of what are all the different ways we could fill that job? To show the example of one eating nursing organization I saw recently, when we hear very often from frontline workers, those who are say working at eight or 12 hour shifts and the blue collar positions, I want more flexibility in my job. Let’s actually think about skills. If I think about an RN, for example, registered nurse, well, that job requires that particular skill or certification. But there’s also jobs like telehealth or patient navigator that require that similar skill set. And wouldn’t it be interesting to you to start to see hospitals doing this same thing? Here are two totally different FTE positions, different cost centers? What would it look like if I did three days a week and an inpatient hospital or an outpatient clinic two days a week working from home and a patient navigator telehealth role, it’s the same core job the same core skill set nursing and you know, maybe doing the patient navigator I have to be leaning into maybe some of my telehealth kinds of things and communication type of issues. So I need to improve my skills there. But in places that look at both optimizing the work as well as these different work arrangements, in nursing, for example, you see turnover go down 80 90% compared to their cohort, you see burnout go down 60 70% compared to the rest of the organization, just expand that across to warehousing to manufacturing types of jobs. There’s all sorts of very clever ways we could be getting into this considering that humans have a full array of human work engagements. And then the last one is that agility piece. Once we know what those core certifications or skill sets are that I can move around in the organization that really gives me that flexibility to both get the most out of people from an organizational point of view. As you will be giving people a neat chance as well to be expanding themselves having these very interesting types of days. So those are the four rules.

Let me just show you when we have one more slide that builds on this a bit more, what does this look like? And that’s when we take like that that DevOps or that sysadmin that Andrew was talking about a minute ago, as we said, the first thing we’re going to do is take that DevOps job and just break it down, maybe they do their 2530 things each day, or each month as part of that job. Now, I’m going to be thinking about each of those 2530 tasks, what are repetitive versus variable? What are independent done just by myself versus I need to be working with others internal or external folks, what’s the physical part of the job, so I’m actually doing something with my hands, tactile, versus kind of what’s up here in my head, the mental side of the jobs, and really be asking the question, if I was to improve, not the overall job, but every single task in that job, maybe the project manager part of DevOps, the coding part of DevOps, the maybe strategizing conceptualizing part of DevOps, troubleshooting, whatever it might be, what would that look like? would that look like making fewer mistakes? Would it look like doing things more consistently? Would it look like incrementally improving productivity is a little AI tool, maybe I can summarize emails quicker that way? Or ask it to, you know, read documentation from 10 different vendors? And summarize in two paragraphs for me what I need to know, or is there a transformational performance opportunity? So it’s getting down to that task level? And really asking, how can we optimize which gets us to the next stage, they’re the next build of now, we really are saying, let’s automate that work, optimize it, where we bring in technology to the job, whether it be a generative AI tool, like bar, Google, or chat, GPT, or any of the other many, many tools that are coming onto the market right now. Are there any other social or cognitive automation kinds of tools, you know, even the robots, I do quite a bit of work in healthcare. And it’s not at all uncommon now to see one of those little robots with a container that opens up in front of it to go take the blood work and the other lab work.

So you don’t actually have a human walking around the halls, Robert does it one system worked with lately, for them that was worth $30 million in savings, just by moving from a human to a robot doing that kind of thing. And I promise no human missed having to walk blood samples down to the lab. If we go to the next one on it. It’s then really thinking about all these different opportunities, both for automation, Process automation, cognitive automation, this is things like having an iPad going around, kind of triggering me. So as I hear an issue coming in, this is great for customer service people. Here’s the issue that presented, it’s starting to give me different scripts, different ideas of where to go, based on what’s coming in. So it kind of speeds me up and gives a much more standardized approach some of the social robotics, that’s the robot moving around, or can we be doing the last piece around substituting the work is there a maybe a lower cost person, the organization that can do it or a skill set that’s more widely available in the marketplace, I can push that down to some my real special people who have that Python skill code or skill set, they can spend most of their days doing that piece. And then finally, there is that rescaling pathway, for me somehow 40% What will become the magic numbers, whether we’re looking at the retail store associate of the future job, it’s about 40% of that role that can typically be automated or redistributed, whether it be a nursing job. So we’ve got 40% of that job that often is the medical records and coding part that can be automated. For many of us in professional services, it’s a lot of coming up with emails and summarizing information in about 40% of our time. And so often that’s creating my 60% of the day.

I want to expand that 200. What are those core skill sets where I can really lean into the future and what we call our reconstructed jobs, so kind of our superpower job and have the rescaling going into that. So as we really come up kind of on the end of this discussion, I’ll just go into one or two last slides that say a bit more on this. So just to walk us through one last time as a real quick summary, we’re looking at the time allocation of the job to break it down. So 20% of the time, in this case, this person is reviewing contracts, and 20% for this person based on their overall salary of $70,000. We’re looking at the skill set for this distribution agent. In this case, it was a particular skill that when it was going from there to the next step was just where we’re looking at all the different ways that that job could be automated on the next slide there.

David Mitchell, Mercer 49:36
There goes, whether it be the automation things at the top or the redistribution at the bottom, all the many different ways from job mashups to share jobs to gig jobs to full time jobs, right moving around. And then the very last piece I’m looking at here is this one on this idea of once I’ve got the optimal combination of people in humans now do how do i Make sure I have that right mix of the contractors, the full times the lower cost, higher skill or higher skills, availability, folks, maybe have to centralize some things, in some cases even outsource or nearshore offshore parts of that position. And the very last piece once I’ve done all of those things, is come back in back to my skills are restarted day, in that reconfigure job that when we got rid of all that transactional stuff, we talked about 40 minutes ago, expanded the time and expertise and relational things, what are the skills are really going to lean into and those optimized reconstructed jobs of the future that we talked about solving that productivity conundrum that’s going to get us there, this mashup of work redesign, plus agility that comes to the skills of I’ll just say, since I have a captive audience, and then have a commercial, this sounds a bit tough on the very last slide, Mercer does have a really neat tool that does enable organizations to do this our work redesign tool, so we’re thankful for the opportunity presented with Eightfold today. And this particular tool does tie both into our own skills library, as well as into tools like eightfold and having that really good skills dialog, to go along with the work redesign dialog.

David Mitchell, Mercer 51:15
So that brings I think, Andrea and I to our end today, certainly, as we as Andrea said, at the top of the call, there’s an opportunity in the chat box to pick up any other questions folks might have after listening to both a big Trindade on what’s going on the skills that are increasing in importance, and how organizations can really both track those and develop those in a much more agile effective way. And then how we can hopefully superpower the skills journey with some of those work redesign the four step methodologies we talked about.

HCI 51:46
Andrea, David, thank you so much for such an incredible presentation that was very informative for our full viewing audience. We will as we take questions from our listeners, the first question I have for you is, with the rise of gig and flexible work models, how can organizations ensure a seamless integration of both human talent and AI technologies.

David Mitchell, Mercer 52:11
I’m happy to jump in first on the agenda, feel free to come along as well. You start to see that often, to me, it comes back to this idea of a talent bank. I’ll give you an example of some of the way up in Alaska. And if any folks here that direction before, that these things called native community corporations, and these would be organizations that are owned by the different native groups in the state of Alaska, but they’ll be a fishery business or road construction business, maybe a petrochemicals business. And so they’ll have their full time, say truck drivers or cannery workers. But they also look across the wider they call it their shareholder community, those who are part of that Native Alaskan community. And each of them is sharing a talent marketplace. And so the full time folks who work for the trucking company, or the fishing company, plus the, you know, 2030, other 1000 other people in the community who have construction skills, or maybe you can drive a backhoe, they’re there as well. And so that organization hasn’t, you know, especially the big project in the summertime, when it’s good weather up in Alaska, and we need to make some roads quickly. They don’t just have their own full time, folks. But in that talent marketplace, they can reach out into the community and find folks with that skill set and with the availability. And so I think it really is these kinds of mashups of technology that’s brought together by the talent marketplace that enables some of these neat togetherness and full time roles in gig type roles to work. Yeah,

Andrea Shiah, Eightfold AI 53:33
that was just built on that really quickly, I think. You know, as you were describing earlier, David, you talked about, you know, removing the administrative task, and allowing employees and workers to kind of really fulfill some higher order activities. I think if you look at AI technologies, there’s a lot of fear out there, because it’s the fear of the unknown, and the fear that someone that there’s a new technology is going to take over my job. And so if you really step back and understand AI technologies, what you’ll understand is, it’s actually a very positive impact for workers, right? A little bit as David described, but even what enables me to give some examples of empowering you, your you and your career and giving you transparency on what you need to build? What skills do you need to build to successfully move down different career paths, you know, enabling you with information, right, so that it’s, it’s easily done and readily done? Versus it’s no longer who you know, it’s more about what you know, and what you can learn. So it’s a very positive impact, I think. And so I think when you think about that change and making it seamless, just making sure to understand that impact and be able to articulate the positive side of it and the positive intention behind it, I think is really important to ensure kind of that smooth engagement and adoption Andrea, of course,

Speaker 4 55:02
Thank you so much for both acknowledging and validating that fear, while at the same time emphasizing the impact of really being able to augment the experiences that we’re bringing into the workforce itself. So again, thank you so much to both of you for responding to the questions that came in during your presentation, as well as the one afterwards. As we prepare to close I want to remind our HCI members, today’s webcast has been approved for HRCI and SHRM credit, as well as for HCI recertification. Your credits for attending this webcast will soon show up in your HCI profile under the transcript tab. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out hci.org for even more insights, as well as information on our certifications, virtual conferences, premium membership and more. I would like to say one more thing. Thank you to our presenters today and for the good people at Eightfold AI. And I’d also like to thank our webcast viewer. Thanks for spending an hour with us. We’ll see you next time.

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