The impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on the global workforce is huge—work hours equating to 305 million fulltime jobs will be lost in Q2, 2020 alone. People, organizations and communities need answers now. By focusing on five key areas—two of which we discuss here—chief human resources officers (CHROs) can help people and organizations navigate workforce shifts and build resilience en masse.

The global pandemic has created a sense of shared purpose to revive economies, inspiring collective action. CHROs have an important role to play. They have the tools and expertise to help people survive financially, now and in the future. A human-centered, systems-minded and skills-based approach focusing on five areas can help build long-lasting shared workforce resilience.

Skills-based

Business leaders typically think in terms of jobs or roles, rather than underlying core skills. However, skills are the new currency and will be the key to rebuilding resilient workforces in the future. By identifying individuals’ skills, CHROs can map people to the high-demand jobs that need filling as factors such as technology, work patterns, consumption of goods and services, and evolving business models drive shifts.

To achieve workforce resilience, the five focus areas are:

Join me as I take a brief look at the first two focus areas, with quick real-life look at the tools and approaches Accenture is using to help its clients achieve key objectives.

Predict demand shifts

Rapid, iterative modeling of potential scenarios can help identify and forecast where workforce shifts need to occur within your organization.

Key activities:

  • Build a workforce approach that includes resilience in workforce skilling and sourcing.
  • Hone in on skills rather than jobs or people.
  • Tap technology and analytics—e.g. AI and machine learning—to expose labor supply and demand, sometimes in other industries, for potentially impacted work and associated skills.

How can you go about this? Here’s what we are doing for our clients.

Accenture has developed an analytics-based solution that helps organizations answer questions around near term workforce needs and plan gradual recovery strategies. Demand shifts are predicted using the organization’s internal data, as well as external data from the labor market and health data on the virus spread. A workforce planning optimization algorithm then provides target levels of hirings, redeployments and recovery.

The solution can also help companies assess demand scenarios based on business objectives. For example, companies looking to retain their people during the current crisis need detailed insights to plan effectively. The solution is able to model recovery scenarios across specific locations based on factors like virus spread, lockdown patterns, and government directives. Companies can look across various geographies to understand how to get people back to work safely.

Assess skill profiles

Create a baseline for the skills you possess. Create future-oriented profiles based on the skills, aptitudes and interests required.

Key activities:

  • Develop skill profiles of displaced and in-demand workers.
  • Don’t underestimate aptitudes and adjacencies.
  • Be transparent with your people in terms of in-demand skills and the development opportunities. Give them give access and control of the skill profile.

What does this look like in practice? Accenture is using SkyHive to support rapid COVID-19 responses for governments, companies and communities. SkyHive uses machine/deep learning technology to analyze employees, workforces and labor markets at a skills level in real time, then facilitate workforce planning, rapid employment, career pathway categorization and urgent reskilling, enabling leaders to quickly acquire or transition talent.

In my next post I will take a look at the remaining three focus areas: connecting workers at scale, accelerating learning, and fostering shared resilience.

Meantime, for more on this topic, click through to Creating shared workforce resilience.

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