High-performing companies are increasingly leaning on technology to build a sustainable workforce and close the skills gap created by COVID-19, according to a new study by the IBM Institute for Business Value. The study, "Accelerating the journey to HR 3.0," was conducted in partnership with global independent analyst Josh Bersin of the Josh Bersin Academy, and examines what HR leaders in high-performing companies are doing to close the skills gap and make the workforce more sustainable. Some of the findings are:
High-performing companies use AI and analytics to make better decisions about their talent, such as skilling programs and compensation decisions
They use AI to identify the skills most important for building diverse and adaptable teams
They deploy a consistent HR technology architecture
The study also found that high performing companies have several common characteristics including encouraging a strong pace of continuous learning and feedback, cultivating empathetic leadership to support employees' holistic well-being, and using technology to make decisions supported by real-time data.
The use of technology in particular is becoming key to letting HR operate as a strategic advisor, according to Josh Bersin. "Many HR departments are looking to technology, such as the cloud and analytics, to support a more cohesive and self-service approach to traditional HR responsibilities," he said. "Offering employee empowerment through holistic support can drive larger strategic change to the greater business."
This approach could be critical for companies to emerge from the crisis intact, given that the study also found that COVID-19 is exacerbating the gap between the skills companies need to execute their business strategy, and the skills they actually have. Out of over 1,500 global HR executives surveyed over 20 countries and 15 industries, less than 40 percent reported that they have the needed skills.
Other research by IBM has also surfaced a disconnect between employee expectations and management performance, with executives almost twice as likely than employees to believe that the company is helping people to upskill effectively.