Defining Future Skills Can Help Retain Top Talent

You probably would not be surprised to learn most employers are stressed out about talent retention. The latest Brandon Hall Group research says a whopping 92% of organizations are concerned or extremely concerned about losing top talent over the next year.

But one finding in the research did surprise us: the second biggest challenge to retaining talent is defining new skills or capabilities needed by the business in the future.

It makes sense if you think about it (keep reading). And the finding helps explain why so many technology providers are focused on helping employers define new skills and capabilities they will need to remain competitive. For example, TalentGuard, a Brandon Hall Group Silver Smartchoice® Preferred Provider, can help define new skills in real-time based on market data, skills taxonomies and generative AI to enable organizations to keep up with the changing skills landscape.

Organizations struggle to define future skills and capabilities for many reasons:

  • The constant evolution of emerging technologies and disruptive forces, such as artificial intelligence, the gig economy and automation.
  • A volatile economic, political and social environment that makes strategic planning difficult and often results in course corrections that slow identification of future needs.
  • Changing workforce demographics.
  • And the problems business leaders and HR teams have in effectively managing talent and talent processes, which ranks right above defining future capabilities as the biggest challenge to retaining talent.


The difficulty organizations have in defining future skills and capabilities creates a domino effect that creates talent retention risks:

  • Today’s workforce is motivated by growth and recognition.
  • If employers struggle to identify future skills and capabilities, it’s difficult to map potential career paths and offer learning opportunities that enable employees to grow into new roles.
  • If employees can’t develop new skills that fuel their aspirations, they can’t be recognized through promotion or new responsibilities related to their goals.
  • So they leave in pursuit of better opportunities. Ironically, that is often futile because the new employer may very well have the same problems. In knowledge- and creativity-driven professions especially, top talent often turns to contractor work.

In talking with scores of employers, we’ve learned that they often don’t have the technology and processes in place to analyze the skills they have, the skills they need and how to find them, either externally or internally.

A workforce skills management platform, such as TalentGuard’s, can identify skills and skill gaps, help design development plans tied to learning and build career paths, while enabling employees to weigh in with their aspirations and take ownership of their career development.

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