CEOs, the Chief Learning Officers of the New Digital Workplace

Find out more from the Chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup, Mr Jonas Prising, on the role of leaders and the talent strategies for the skill revolution.

03 Sep 2019 Interviews Trending Future of work

Jonas Prising

Mr Jonas Prising is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ManpowerGroup. He leads all aspects of ManpowerGroup’s business in 80 countries and territories worldwide. As a a recognised expert on the labour market and world of work trends, he speaks regularly at conferences and summits globally, and provides commentaries on jobs and employment trends for media. He is also actively engaged in the World Economic Forum.

Q: As a CEO, what do you feel are the essential leadership skills that a leader must possess so that his/her employees are well-equipped to face future challenges and uncertainties in the new digital workplace? 

Today, organisations of every size and in every industry are transforming to become more digital, more customer focused and more agile. This means people's skills need to change fast and leaders need to develop and promote a culture of learnability, helping employees nurture their desire and ability to continually learn throughout their career.

To ensure people are learning the right skills, leaders need to work harder than ever to understand the potential of people, map the roles their company will need in the future and develop career pathways to get people there. It is time for CEOs to become Chief Learning Officers - consciously supporting and guiding their people to develop their organisation needs.

Q: Many employees are concerned that their jobs will be replaced by automation in the future world of work. At the recent HCP Conversations "Friend or Foe: Are Robots Replacing Humans in the World of Increasing Automation?", you shared ManpowerGroup's research on this topic. What are the top insights you would want to share with business and HR leaders in Singapore?

For the last three years we have asked more than 19,000 employers globally about how automation will impact their workforce for the short term - a two-year horizon. The results might surprise you. We have consistently seen that more than 85% say they plan to increase or maintain headcount as a result of automation. And contrary to headlines suggesting robots might steal our jobs, in fact this year our data found that organisations that are automating the most plan to create the most jobs. 

It's very encouraging that employers are beginning to take action to help people upskill. We've seen a big jump in the number of organisations planning to build skills in their existing workers, from just 21% in 2011 to more than 80% by 2020. Today talent cycles are shorter than ever, so people need to upskill in short bursts - training must impact more quickly and present a faster time to value. It's important for leaders to focus on creating a culture of learning and ensuring managers role-model that too, ask yourself - when did you last learn something new?

Q: Robots are becoming prevalent in the workplace but there is also a greater need to "humanise" the work environment. Why is this so and how can companies develop these skills among employees?

As new technology drives efficiency across organisations, there is now greater emphasis than ever on soft skills, challenging people to tap into what makes them uniquely human - communication, collaboration, creativity, curiosity, negotiation and leadership. Roles which rely on people skills including customer service, healthcare and sales are set to grow in the years ahead so ensuring workers develop these human strengths is critical. Employers and individuals can better understand which soft skills people excel in using assessment. More than 200,000 people have taken our assessments including LearnabilityQuotientTM (LQ), DigiQuotientTM and SkillsInsightTM to measure their learning style, readiness to lead, drive and cognitive thinking. 

Q: ManpowerGroup has identified 4 talent strategies for the Skills Revolution - Build, Buy, Borrow and Bridge. Could you share more about these talent strategies?

In this new talent reality of high talent shortages, short skills cycles and low unemployment in many markets a new approach to talent strategy is required incorporating Build, Buy, Borrow and Bridge. By that we mean employers need to help their workforce Build their skills they need with targeted upskilling, Buy new talent by going to market to attract the skilled workers that cannot be built in-house, Borrow talent by building communities of contingent workers and help people Bridge to new roles inside or outside the organisation when their skills are no longer needed. 

Most organisations are using one or two of these strategies, few are using all. It's time for leaders to think differently about developing their skills they need - we can no longer expect to hire just-in-time talent for business-critical roles. 

Businesses depend on human capital to succeed, and organisations need to proactively enable employees to prepare for the impending changes. It is vital for leaders to effectively and clearly communicate where the organisation is and its direction in the future. The leaders' commitment to build and instil a culture of learnability is important to continuously build its people's capability and bring them along in the skills revolution. 

To read more about ManpowerGroup's research on this topic, please visit ManpowerGroup's website