Here's How to Really Validate Skills

Six months ago, if somebody had told you that wide swaths of the American economy would shut down, people would be quarantined in their homes, and businesses would need to close their offices, pivot on a dime, and convert to remote working in order to survive, all because of a killer virus, you'd be wondering if they were talking about the latest thriller. As we know now, what seems like the plot of a movie is all too real.

If your business is one that had to shift to remote work overnight, you may be discovering that the remote work model you abruptly adopted will be the norm for the foreseeable future, if not permanently. The trend toward telecommuting was up ticking even before the pandemic, according to a recent Gartner survey. But now, that uptick is through the roof.

That means your employees will have to learn new skills quickly in order for them to get the job done, collaborate from a distance, and compensate for not being physically present. Managers need to learn how to lead from a distance. HR needs to serve the people in your company without any in-person face time. Salespeople need to manage customer relationships via Zoom. Leaders are learning how to maintain the company's culture without people meeting in the break room or chatting over coffee.

Successful working at home means mastery of those skills. Managing remote workers means you need the absolute knowledge they can get the job done from the makeshift offices in their basements. In both cases, verifiable digital credentials are necessary, now more than ever. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

It's not just about your employees learning new technical skills to do their jobs. The need for digital credentials is bigger than that now. According to McKinsey, workers in all industries must be nimble, able to adapt, and above all, have the skills to take on new roles, responsibilities, and even jobs as their workplaces shift on these changing economic tides. COVID widened the skills gap that the workforce was already dealing with.

As McKinsey reports, "To meet this challenge, companies should craft a talent strategy that develops employees' critical digital and cognitive capabilities, their social and emotional skills, and their adaptability and resilience. Now is the time for companies to double down on their learning budgets and commit to reskilling. Developing this muscle will also strengthen companies for future disruptions."

McKinsey posits three upskilling trends that will likely emerge:

1) New skills for the distance economy. Everyone is working at home now, if possible. There is no end in sight to this trend. That means finding new ways to work from a distance, new jobs, and new ways to perform existing jobs.

2) Imbalances in talent supply and demand. Because of COVID, the American public has changed its spending habits overnight. E-commerce was already popular, but now it's the norm. People aren't eating out in restaurants or attending sporting or other entertainment events. All of the workers in those industries will require reskilling.

3) Changes to supply chains. If you've tried to buy furniture or a new appliance during the pandemic, you already know the international supply chain has ground to a halt. That means companies are turning more toward local suppliers. In the past, we saw the offshoring of manufacturing jobs. Now, it's going to be the opposite.

In all of these trends, the need for digital credentials is clear. Companies need to get their employees the skills they'll need in this emerging marketplace, and be able to verify at a glance that people have the skills to do the job.

Credly is the world's most trusted digital credential network. Now more than ever, it's essential for our economy to have verifiable proof of skills. If you're interested in learning more about how to issue digital badges at your organization, fill out the form below and we'll be in touch shortly. 

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Topics: Human Capital Management, Digital Credentials, Future of Work

By  Patricia Diaz