In Today’s Labor Market, Employees Are In The Driver’s Seat—But Do You Understand Their Needs?

This article first appeared in Forbes.

In my last post, I discussed the skills gap emergency in today’s workforce as accelerated digitization exposes the changing capabilities enterprises need today and in the future. From a business perspective, solving the skills gap correctly can fuel a sustained competitive advantage, while ignoring it can mean falling to oblivion. For employees, upskilling in response to workforce trends can mean the difference between continuous gainful employability and falling dangerously behind in—or even out of—the talent marketplace.

With more open positions across industries than there are workers to fill them, employees today have plentiful options, especially if they have the skills needed in today’s competitive marketplace. Knowledge workers are particularly empowered given the portable nature of their skills, which are in demand across industries and geographic locations. In this post, we’ll address the main question arising from the skills gap emergency: How do you win the war for talent?

As both enterprises and individuals face seismic shifts in the next few years, our research suggests that organizations looking to attract and retain the right talent must first understand the new workforce demands, which fall into several key buckets. Let us review each in turn.


Recognition And Purpose Are Key


McKinsey & Company’s research on the Great Resignation found that 54% of employees who quit their jobs felt that their employers didn’t value them. Skilled workers know their worth in the most competitive talent marketplace in decades; it’s going to take more than a prime parking spot or even a salary bump to hold their attention.

The McKinsey report goes on to say that today’s employees crave investment in the human aspects of work—a revised sense of purpose, social and interpersonal connections with colleagues and managers, and a sense of shared identity. They’re also willing to wait for it. The same study found that among employees surveyed, 36% of those who had quit a job in the past six months did so without having a new job in hand.

Recognition and purpose count in an era when blindly climbing the corporate ladder holds little appeal. Managers and HR leaders who proactively identify an employee’s unique skills and present ways to maximize them by recognizing their value and connecting them to the organizational mission offer a much more meaningful engagement. Whether it’s an invitation to take part in a new project or a chance to lead a team, new opportunities and responsibilities tell an employee their talents are recognized and valued and that their work makes a difference.

Today’s workforce landscape is flatter than a decade ago. The traditional assistant-manager-director-executive upward climb that defined professional development for years has given way to a more winding, opportunistic flow in which employees are drawn to interesting opportunities more than impressive titles. Flexible, non-linear advancement enables skilled workers to find new applications for their talents or to develop new capabilities altogether.

Keeping things interesting for motivated employees pays off. In a recent Pew Research Center survey of U.S. workers who left a job in 2021, 63% cited a lack of opportunities for advancement as a factor in their decision to leave. At a time when advancement includes multidirectional moves within an organization, these are workers who need not be lost.

Recognizing in advance those employees who may be itching for a challenge—or a move out of the company altogether—HR leaders have an opportunity to open a fruitful dialogue and dramatically increase retention. By understanding an employee’s professional aspirations, astute managers can plug those goals into personalized career paths supported by tangible learning and development opportunities. It’s a real win-win because the ability to do so at scale means enabling an entire workforce to grow within their organization rather than look for opportunities outside of it.


Onboarding And Development


After exercising their right to be selective in choosing their next job, new hires expect meaningful engagement from Day 1. Onboarding that only a few years ago would have taken three months or more must now be condensed into weeks and be packed with value. There’s a good chance you may need to execute onboarding remotely as well, which presents its own challenges. If the process falls short, new talent won’t hesitate to find the door as part of what some are now calling the “Great Regret” and others call “Failure to Launch.”

A recent study by consultancy firm Eagle Hill found that a large number of new hires think onboarding is missing the mark. Specifically, 71% didn’t understand which key relationships to build and 62% didn’t have a clear view of organizational culture. An alarming 54% reported not gaining full knowledge of how to use technology to do their job.

To my earlier point, fully understanding the expectations and goals of each new hire is key to employee engagement and retention. Regular check-ins can then follow, enabling conversations around professional aspirations, internal mobility opportunities and available learning and development programs. To this end, development is a direct continuation of onboarding. In an agile environment that supports nonlinear career pathing, the employee is constantly onboarding to new opportunities, and the organization must recognize and equip the employee with the right tools.




Today’s employee is looking for the full framework, tailored to them. Enterprises that find a way to recognize their employees, connect them to purpose, create a learning environment with a clear career path and do all of this at scale can not only win the war for talent but also foster long-term retention to remain competitive. is a talent intelligence platform designed to help enterprises hire, retain, and develop their workforce, intelligently. Leveraging AI and real-time labor market data, enterprises unlock talent insights and optimize their workforce effectively to lower attrition, win the war for talent and the great resignation in one, data-driven solution. To learn more book a demo

The Skills Emergency Is Happening Now

This article first appeared in Forbes.

In The Outline of History, H.G. Wells, futurist, social critic and writer, wrote, “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” 

Known mostly for his science fiction works like War of the Worlds, Wells nonetheless contributed significantly to our understanding of human affairs. In The Outline of History, which was published in 1920, he tried to capture what he referred to as “the whole story of man,” adding to the observation above the notion that: “Yet, clumsily or smoothly, the world, it seems, progresses and will progress.”

A century later, these words come to mind as we witness rapid progression in the world of work. It was only a few years ago that the “catastrophe” that doomsayers warned against was the looming robot takeover. Despite strong historical evidence suggesting that technological revolutions increase employment over time, as outlined in Carl Frey’s 2019 book The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation, it was still feared that the rise of AI and automation would result in mass unemployment. Robots and AI would ultimately take over our jobs, with no occupation safe from requisition.

Yet to Frey’s point, the history of technological progress is punctuated by stories in which the devastating consequences of mechanization ultimately gave way to unprecedented economic wealth and prosperity. The fruitful long-term results of the Industrial Revolution, he argues, foreshadowed the immense potential AI represents today.

Fast-forward a few years and it now seems as if we’re facing a totally different problem: The developed world is experiencing an employee shortage the likes of which hasn’t been seen in generations. Stated simply, the problem is not that thinking machines are taking over jobs; the problem is that there are not enough people to operate the machines.

Across industries and countries, there are currently more job openings than people looking for jobs. A thriving job market can seem positive, but underneath the statistics, the reality is far from rosy. The painful truth for individuals and organizations is that today’s strong demand for labor is very particular and favors skilled workers. People who lack modern skills risk being left behind. Unemployment can easily lead to being perpetually unemployable for those unable to upskill at pace with the labor market’s changing demands. Those who no longer look for jobs often don’t show up in the stats, but their pain is very real. At the same time, organizations that can’t find and hire skilled workers are at risk.

So considering the individual, organizational and national scale of this problem, it is clear that by now we are experiencing a real skills gap emergency of enormous proportions. A recent survey by McKinsey & Company found that 87% of companies surveyed reported having skills gaps or anticipating them within the next few years. According to’s 2022 Future of Work report, 58% of enterprises listed “Finding candidates with the right skills” as their top challenge.

Just as Wells surmised so many years ago, the way we can avoid catastrophe is through education. The skills gap requires employers’—and their HR departments’—attention.

Today’s employees need opportunities to develop new and relevant skills to drive their career paths while employers need to stay ahead of the competition in an innovation-led marketplace. Enterprises that don’t have the capacity for upskilling workers are at risk of not only being unable to acquire the talent they need but also losing the talent they have. In one report from MIT and Deloitte, only 34% of workers reported feeling supported by their organization’s skill development opportunities; they also know that they have options at other companies where value is placed on upskilling, reskilling and continuous learning.

Employees are keenly aware that they have options; HR leaders should understand that upskilling and providing these continuous learning opportunities fall under their purview. Employers can work to close the skills gaps in their own organizations by being proactive and helping employees drive their own career paths. And amid the Great Resignation, employers are now doing more than ever it seems to retain their talent.

In upcoming installments of this series, we’ll explore the current shift of power from employers to employees and what enterprises need to do to compete, as well as the concept of continuous flow in upskilling and the age of talent intelligence. is an AI-powered matching engine already prepped for the future. Structured first and foremost around Responsible AI, our solution connects the right talent to your open roles and career pathways by tapping into their skills, capabilities, and aspirations, making sure you reduce attrition and retain the right talent. To see it in action, request a demo.

Increasing Digitization to Accelerate HR Innovation

Global spending on digitization is expected to reach 1.8 trillion USD in 2022, and, unsurprisingly, is projected to grow continuously for the foreseeable future.

As digitization increases, AI is becoming more ubiquitous across industries, with use cases from IT to HR. Leading enterprises have already recognized the value with AI driven organizations projected to gain a staggering $1.2 trillion annual advantage over their competitors.

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The Great Resignation: What Does it Mean for Your Organization?

Anthony Klot, an organizational psychologist, coined the term “The Great Resignation” (or The Big Quit) to adeptly describe the trend of employees leaving their jobs voluntarily. Starting from March 2021, 19 million Americans have quit their jobs. Six months later, this “Great Resignation” continues to grow.

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Redefining The Future of Work: Three Foundational Strategies For Upskilling At Scale (Part 3)

This article was originally posted on Forbes.

Co-founder, chairman and CEO of, the HR Tech using AI to help leaders reskill employees and prepare for the future of work.

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Upskilling at Scale – Three foundational strategies (part 2 of 3)

This article was originally published on

In a recent article, I shared my thoughts about the implications of the rapid adoption of automation and Artificial Intelligence, bringing to the labor market unprecedented upheavals. I analyzed how the rise of new occupations and the growing demand for new skills create a skills-gap that continues to widen, creating systematic unemployability for those who stay behind, and a growing shortage of qualified labor, which limits business outcomes for talent-starved businesses worldwide.

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Flattening The Unemployment Curve And Redefining The Future Of Work (part 1 of 3)

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Labor markets are changing fast, and the future of work has now become our present. For several years, the most significant forces that have been driving workforce transformation are a shift to remote work and rapid adoption of automation and AI technologies. Those trends change the skillset that is required for various jobs and occupations and force organizations to take a fresh approach in their training methods. Covid-19 has dramatically accelerated the adoption of automation, remote work, and the use of AI, and made the investment in workforce reskilling and upskilling an essential business strategy. So, what can we expect to happen next in the labor markets?

The following are three of the main trends we’re seeing right now:

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What if we could navigate careers like we navigate traffic?

This article was written and originally published by Medium.

After 100+ years of hiring with a mass production mindset, it’s time to apply personalization to managing the workforce.

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