embracing career intelligence

Editor’s note: Watch "Navigating Career Intelligence for an Engaged, Sustainable Workforce," hosted by Randstad Risesmart on August 18, 2021. Register at HR.com.  

When you think about your employees and their individual roles, how did they arrive at their current destinations? Did they have a clear map to drive the journey along a straight line or did their career paths include a few shifts and detours along the way? 

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American workers hold an average of 12 jobs throughout their lifetime. Additionally, data from Gartner found that the number of skills required for a single job has increased 10% year-over-year since 2017 – and the global pandemic has further exacerbated employee skills gaps. Whether they’re growing in their current role, moving to a new role internally or transitioning outside the organization, it’s critical for employees to have an always-learning mindset and be armed with the right insights to ensure their skills remain relevant and their careers stay on track.  When employees see that their company is actively promoting their career success, they are likely to be more engaged and productive, as well as less likely to leave your organization for greener pastures. 
Consider the following questions about your employees and how they approach their careers.

  • do they have the data to be smart about their careers?
  • do they have a career plan that helps them identify what skills they need and how to develop them?
  • do they understand how technology, automation and other industry trends will impact their job in the future and how to remain competitive and employable?  

Whether employees have a career plan in mind or need to recalculate their route, career intelligence is the approach that will help them arrive at their destination quickly and enable your organization to support an engaged, sustainable workforce.  

what is career intelligence?  

Gartner’s 2021 HR Priorities Survey found that 68% of HR leaders cited building critical skills and competencies as their number one priority in 2021. While most organizations understand the importance of making employee skilling a priority, many rely on an outdated approach to skill building and career pathing, assuming that the past will be an accurate guide for future roles and needed skills. Career intelligence means combining the power of insights, expert knowledge and experience to provide actionable and effective career guidance. It requires active and intentional critical thinking and career planning, rather than letting a career passively emerge. 

Building a culture that values career intelligence is a proactive, continuous process – not a one-time event – that takes into consideration the rapidly changing world of work, including automation, digitization and artificial intelligence, to predict the market outlook (desirability) of jobs and the in-demand skills desired by employers. In short, it is about being smart about career management. 
Career intelligence combines predictive, data-driven insights about careers and skills with expert career coaching. Together, the two empower individuals to choose the best path to future-proof their careers, while organizations are better positioned to build sustainable, properly trained workforces.  

related content: employee skilling: future-proof your workforce with predictive insights and personalized career coaching. 

support more intelligent career decisions 

The Randstad Workmonitor, December 2020 edition found that 40% of workers globally are struggling to learn the new skills required in the digital age. To ensure all employees’ skills remain relevant – supporting their own long-term employability and your organization’s business agility – it's important to offer all employees equal access to career development and skilling opportunities. According to our recent ‘Skilling Today’ global survey, while 72% of organizations make skilling opportunities continuously available for career development, 39% offered skilling and training opportunities to some, but not all, employees. Across all organizations, team leads and managers were far more likely to receive or be required to take skills training (65%), than were individual contributors and high-potential employees (44%) and leaders (42%). 

If all employees receive equal access to skilling opportunities, this can lead to increased engagement and retention, which will reduce long-term recruitment and onboarding costs. According to the Randstad Sourceright 2021 Talent Trends report, 87% of human capital and C-suite leaders believe reskilling their employees will help drive retention. Organizations that take a democratized approach to skilling can also discover untapped skills and develop future leaders who might have otherwise been overlooked for growth opportunities. 

related content: randstad risesmart global survey reveals need for democratized skilling. 

While many organizations offer employees a list of available courses and access to skilling resources, employees often don’t have the necessary insights or guidance to develop skills that align with their passions and career goals and that are in-demand both at their current organization and in the broader job market. This can leave employees overwhelmed and focused on skills and career paths that aren’t necessarily the most relevant.  

Rather than more data and choices, employees need insights and a strategic roadmap to achieve their skilling and career development goals. With career intelligence, employees can be better positioned to evolve their skill sets and either grow in their current roles or take on new roles internally as business needs evolve. Actionable insights enable individuals to better understand their skills and competencies in relation to their current and desired roles, and instantaneously receive a ranked list of in-demand skills, relevant courses and alternative role suggestions. 

Even with access to relevant job market insights, all employees can benefit from personalized 1:1 guidance provided by a career coach. The knowledge provided by a subject-matter expert in careers helps employees expand their perspectives about their career options and focus on the optimal career and skilling choices. Coaching guidance can help people pursue careers they hadn’t previously considered, discover untapped skills or focus on building new skills needed to fill critical gaps to help your business thrive. 

related content: randstad risesmart global survey: impactful employee skilling requires strategic guidance. 

create a culture that values career intelligence and internal mobility 

According to the 2019 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Survey, 46% of HR leaders indicate current managers’ resistance to internal moves as a top talent mobility roadblock. A key barrier that prevents some organizations from fully embracing internal mobility stems from managers who want to keep the best talent on their own team. This approach prevents employees from expanding their capabilities and reaching their potential and can hold an organization back from building a sustainable workforce. 

The Deloitte survey found that 70% of HR leaders believe internal mobility expectations and the culture around talent sharing is either inadequate or fair at their organization. To enable true talent mobility, it’s important to create a culture that encourages talent sharing across all levels and departments at an organization. This includes setting expectations with managers that their teams are impermanent and helping them recognize the value of encouraging employees to take responsibility for their own careers, expand their skill sets and pursue internal growth opportunities.  
While a manager might be hesitant to ‘lose’ a top performer to another part of the organization, a talent sharing culture enables these managers to access a pipeline of talent with relevant skills they might not have otherwise known were available. This mindset is in everyone’s best interest – it helps ensure employees’ skills and passions align with larger business goals, while simultaneously supporting individuals’ long-term employability. 

related content: 5 benefits of prioritizing internal talent mobility.  

Recent data from Monster found that a staggering 95% of US workers would consider leaving their current jobs this year. Additionally, a survey from Prudential Financial found that of employees who are considering leaving their current companies this year, ‘mobility opportunities’ rank as a top factor that would encourage them to stay. Career intelligence helps support internal mobility opportunities, produces more agile and sustainable workforces and increases employability – and therefore retention. When workers can not only see the internal opportunities available to them, but also a pathway to advance their careers – with the help of data-driven job and skilling resources, in conjunction with coaching guidance – they are more likely to remain with the company.   

related content: 3 ways to support an employee-first experience through internal career growth opportunities.

katie smith.

executive coach

04 August 2021

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