Skills strategies for a sustainable world of work
A guide for Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs)
This guide aims to inform and inspire CHROs and HR decision makers that are setting out upon the skills development journey.
About this guide
WBCSD’s Future of Work project established a dedicated working group for businesses to share experiences, distil best practices, develop collaborative solutions and address key issues around skills development. In this regard, WBCSD’s members worked closely with the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN Global), a leading organization in the promotion of work-based learning to empower people and businesses.
Drawing upon these rich discussions, WBCSD and GAN are pleased to present this report that aims to inform and inspire CHROs and HR decision makers that are setting out upon the skills development journey. It presents a wide range of effective and appropriate skills strategies and pipelines, leveraging interviews with senior HR professionals and showcasing solutions from 16 leading organizations.
Part 1 provides the big-picture context describing the three main forces driving changes in the world of work: rapid technology evolution, global socio-economic trends and the shifting expectations of workers.
Part 2 presents the skills mismatch as a key challenge for business and society and highlights the risks of not addressing it. After introducing skills development as a key to a sustainable world of work, this part outlines specific actions CHROs can take to kick-start their companies’ skills strategies for the new world of work based on real-life business experiences.
Part 3 explores five crucial steps to develop a forward-looking skills strategy. For each step you will find a description, key questions to consider and short case studies from different organizational realities, bringing these steps to life.
The guide is further complemented by case studies from 16 organizations from across the world, each covering the business need for action, the target audience, key activities and how impact was measured.
Action points for CHROs
There are a number of actions you, as CHROs, can take to get started on developing your impactful skills strategies for the new world of work.
Think long-term about your skills development strategies
Analyze your company’s situations and choose the best suited solution(s)
Empower and engage your employee base
Build partnerships and collaborate
Develop programs that promote diversity, inclusion and access
Five steps to your skills strategy for a sustainable world
These are the five steps organizations typically take to develop their skills strategy, with approaches adapting to the specific context of an organization.
Assessing the business need
Clearly identify the key business priorities and how skills development feeds into them.
Laying the cultural foundation
Evaluate and adjust policies, processes, and incentives to reinforce and encourage a culture that supports the organization’s upskilling efforts.
Defining and sending the new demand signals
Effectively communicate the company’s skills demand to relevant stakeholders.
Developing and implementing an upskilling program
Ensure the initiative is developed and implemented in the most efficient way.
Measuring the success of an upskilling program
Assess the success in terms of upskilling people and delivering on the initiative’s intended objectives.
Quotes from our partners
“The challenge of the future of work, in which we are now deep diving, studying and investing, encompasses a significant shift on the way we work, collaborate and interact not only with colleagues and clients, but also, and mainly, with technology. Aiming to have the workforce prepared for the upcoming technological transformation, we need to accelerate the reskilling and upskilling of our teams. Nonetheless, the urgency and speed needed must never overlap people’s protection and respect. This must always be our priority and this moment of complex disruption we’re living in is no exception. We have to make sure that we give people the right conditions and means to accomplish significant changes in their professional lives, feeling secure and motivated. Sonae is committed with the Future of Work Principles, proposed by the WBCSD, as we believe it defends the only way we can succeed in this huge technological transformation the world is facing.”
“In an ever-changing world, the Future of Work and how that links to the rights and wellbeing of our employees and society are of paramount importance. Fujitsu, in line with our purpose, endeavors to make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation. Being human centric and inclusive is at the core of this. The principles WBCSD have built are an important statement which we are proud to be part of.”
VP, Responsible Business Division and Purpose Activation Office, Sustainability Unit and Fujitsu’s Liaison Delegate to WBCSD
“People-centered technology transformation is one of the main challenges our member companies are experimenting these days. WBCSD’s principles help them to understand what to do and where to focus on their way towards a more sustainable future of work for everybody.”
Managing Director, Forética, WBCSD’s Global Network partner in Spain
“As WBCSD’s Global Network partner in New Zealand, we strongly encourage our members to use these principles which put people at the heart of every business and at the core of everything we do.”
Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Council
“It is clear that HR leaders must design dynamic and responsive strategies to shape talent solutions; this CHRO guide to skills strategies for a sustainable world of work offers excellent examples of good practice that are scalable and replicable.”
Executive Director, GAN Global
“Work is the engine at the center of our economies and skills are its most important ingredient. This guide brings to life the importance of skills development strategies in future-proofing businesses while simultaneously creating a more sustainable future of work.”
Managing Director People & Society, WBCSD
"The upskilling agenda is really important and it’s at the forefront of HR leaders’ minds across all sectors. Every organisation’s journey is different therefore we’ve created this guide as a source of inspiration for you to think about and take action on your own organisation’s upskilling journey"
Director People & Organization, PwC