Steven-Waiss, who has more than 25 years of experience in executive management, previously held the position of CHRO, before transitioning into the tech industry where she founded Hitch Works, Inc. – which has now been acquired by ServiceNow.
In an exclusive editorial interview at ServiceNow World Forum London 2023, we were keen to discover her thoughts on the future of work.
In particular, we want to understand how businesses can navigate ‘the war on talent’ to embrace a skills-based economy – something that is highlighted in ServiceNow’s bespoke work with UNLEASH, which looked into employee growth and development in 2023 and beyond. Click here to find out more and to download the full report.
“Organizations need to become more agile”
The working world is facing a war on talent as employers are competing for top-tier employees.
In recent years, this dynamic has intensified, forcing businesses to go above and beyond to attract employees with the most desirable skills and experience from the same pool that is becoming seemingly smaller and smaller.
However, Steven-Waiss explains that organizations can navigate these challenges, by embracing a skills-based economy.
She says: “Fundamentally, we’ve been operating inside of organizations with a one-to-many approach. But we need to look at the evolution of work. When work was very repetitive, we could live within the confines of one job. Now, however, the pace of learning needs to pick up as the shelf-life of skills is shorter.
“In essence, organizations need to become more agile, which can include changing the operating model – it is a people, process, and technology issue,” she says.
“Technology is not the panacea, but as we move forward, it will be the great enabler for work, making it better for everyone. We will have to enable all work based on people skills and HR will have to be ‘consumerized’. This is the way the world of work has been going and the way it will continue to go.”
She continues to explain that many organizations are currently experiencing a talent crisis while struggling to embrace a skills-based economy.
“The decision needs to be made that skills is the future of the operating models,” she says. “Then, I think they have to find a way to capture the data and information.”
By this, Steven-Waiss explains that traditional job architectures need to be tied to skills and to be automated – which is where ServiceNow comes in.
“We make sense of all the skills data silos, and we navigate that noise to create a single source of truth for skills because everybody’s been in the skills game. Everybody says they have an ontology for AI, but AI is truly making sense and letting these systems communicate with each other to empower a unified experience of skills. It’s a game changer.”
Steven-Waiss continues to explain that leaders cannot move to a skills-based organization as it’s dependent on whether employees are in a career pathing experience or a learning experience – which provide different information about skills – as opposed to what ServiceNow can provide to the market, which deduplicates the data to empowers a unified experience.
Moving to a skills-based economy
Similarly, this reflects the importance of skills mapping, which allows businesses to plan for the future and to understand exactly what skills they have – and more importantly, what they needs.
“Until we collectively decided that work has to be more agile and that people were capable of doing more than what’s dictated by their job title, there was only so much supply of talent out there.
“Talent needed to either be built, bought, or borrowed, so it’s really important to know what is needed within an organization – which is exactly why skills mapping is so crutial.”
Using the example of the automotive industry, Steven-Waiss explains that society is moving away from combustion engines to electric vehicles, and from using hardware to software in the interiors.
While these shifts are happening, leaders are granted a window of time to reskill hardware engineers, meaning there is less to buy on the open market, while allowing talent to be rescaled and redeployed to ensure businesses have the necessary skills for the future.
“The future of work is here,” Steven-Waiss says. “Everyone is talking about preparing for a time that I think we’re already in. Why? Because there is no hype cycle for generative AI – which is what we typically see with many new technologies.”
She continues to use the example of the iPhone.
“When it first came out, it was adopted so quickly,” she says. “There wasn’t a crawl, walk, run, phase – so if companies don’t get onboard with these new skill movements, they’re likely to be left behind.
“There’s no time to wait for 100 or so companies to go first – if you’re not in the game, you’re losing out – on reputation, operation, and margins for example. They’re going to be left out of an opportunity and other companies will create a competitive advantage, which will ultimately see them going out of business.
“And of course, there will be a lot of leaders thinking they don’t need to go for a skills-based organization, but if they don’t, they’ll quickly become irrelevant.”
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