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

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

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

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​

“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.”

Nazrene Mannie
Executive Director, GAN Global

The Future of Work
2021-04-19T10:00:43+02:00
“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.” Nazrene Mannie 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.”

Filippo Veglio
Managing Director People & Society, WBCSD

The Future of Work
2021-04-19T11:16:37+02:00
“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.” Filippo Veglio 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"

Juliet Stuttard
Director People & Organization, PwC

The Future of Work
2021-04-19T12:43:40+02:00
"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" Juliet Stuttard Director People & Organization, PwC
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