A New Breed of Flexibility: The Skills-Based Organization

By this point, you’ve probably been inundated with news stories and fact-filled reports about the talent shortage sweeping the nation. It’s become increasingly difficult to attract and keep the best and brightest employees, with July 2021 seeing the highest-ever number of U.S. employers with unfilled positions.

Needless to say, organizations are feeling the pinch. Many are responding with promises of higher salaries, nurturing cultures, and, of course, flexible work environments—which existing employees and job seekers alike have claimed as a top priority for them.

However, according to recent reports by the likes of Deloitte and Korn Ferry, the key to solving the talent gap might require another kind of flexibility, one that the organization itself must take on. Enter the “skills-based organization.”

“To enable agility and maintain competitiveness, organizations must shift from understanding the unit of work in terms of fixed, static jobs to reimaging it in terms of a dynamic landscape of skills that can be agilely deployed to work as it continuously evolves,” writes Deloitte’s Michael Griffiths.

And as Korn Ferry’s “Future of Work Trends 2022” report puts it: “Successful organizations are shifting their thinking towards the capabilities needed to win in their marketplace. Through strategic modeling of future workforce options, they clarify the future roles, skills, and mindsets to deliver their strategy. They then focus on sourcing and developing these through reskilling, upskilling, recruitment or drawing on the wider ‘gig economy’ of flexible workers.”

Indeed, companies will need to be flexible in how they think about their internal roles and responsibilities if they want to attract and retain great people. What does that look like?

Well, it starts at the beginning, with your hiring practices.  No longer should you be looking at a job description and trying to match bullet points on a candidate’s resume to it. According to Korn Ferry’s “Future of Work Trends 2022” report, 69% of the world’s most admired companies value learning agility and curiosity over career history and experience when it comes to hiring. You need to reimagine “jobs” as broader “goals to achieve” and consider the skills that are necessary for achieving those goals.

At WAHVE, for example, we blind-screen candidates based on skills and organizational fit, ensuring that those who are hired have both the right skillsets and mindsets to thrive in their new environments.

Next, take a look at your existing workforce. In the broader context of your strategic goals, how do your people help take you there? Keep in mind that skills are transferrable. Siloes are your enemy: Consider mixing and matching individuals from different teams to create a “dream team” for a particular project. As Korn Ferry puts it: “Expect more project-based working, where teams assemble to achieve specific goals before dispersing back out into the organization.”

Further, offering employees the opportunity to work on projects based on their interest and skillsets is another way to motivate and keep them: Professional development and learning opportunities are consistently listed as top benefits that employees seek from their organizations.

We at WAHVE have always believed that individuals’ skills and professional goals are what drive their ability to succeed in any environment. Our very business model is based on it. And we feel that the rise of the skills-based organization is proof that this concept is the way of the future.

“What was a slowly growing sentiment has been accelerated exponentially. The need for organizational agility and resilience spotlighted by the pandemic, digital transformation’s disruption of jobs and tasks, and the need to access and retain skills amid the ‘Great Resignation’ has put skills front and center,” Griffiths writes for Deloitte.

I invite you to join us in embracing this exciting future of work—and to get ready to boost your company’s talent, goals, and growth into the stratosphere.


About the Author


Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, is founder and CEO of Work At Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE).  Work At Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE www.wahve.com) is an innovative contract talent solution that matches retiring, experienced insurance industry, accounting and human resource career professionals with a company’s talent needs. WAHVE bridges the gap between an employer’s need for highly skilled professional talent and seasoned professionals desiring to extend their career working from home. From screening to placement, WAHVE is a comprehensive solution to qualifying, hiring, and managing experienced remote talent.

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