Talent Tomorrow Conference – Key Takeaways on future skills / talents

I have been working on a project aimed at mapping competencies for 2026 for retail sector and help develop a skills framework to address the current and future needs. It has been an exciting journey so far to figure out the future skills and talents needed for tomorrow’s workplace. It led me to join the conference organized by AmCham in Singapore on Talent Tomorrow theme. It was a privilege to be listening to and learning from industry leaders and policy makers on what are the talent / skills needed for tomorrow and how should companies go about bridging the supply and demand gap.

I am happy to share some of the key insights I picked up today. What are the key skills needed for thriving in the the workplace of tomorrow.

1. Ability to deal with ambiguity.

Shweta Shukla, Facebook HR head for SEA and India had some very interesting insights to share. She stressed on the ability to succed in an environment which is constantly changing. The key skill is the ability to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty.

2. Having a Learning Mindset

It is important in individuals to have a learning mindset to quickly ramp up and learn the skills required depending on what are the changes happening in the industry. You may really be good at the business you operate in. But the rules of the game are changing so fast thanks to the evolving technology and customer expectations, that there is a constant need to unlearn what worked in the past and quickly re-learn what is needed for the changing scenario. The ability to quickly understand what it takes to navigate in the digital world or to quickly know and deliver on the expectations of a digitally savvy and forever connected customer are key skills indeed.

3. Millennial Workforce – a very different beast

An interesting insight here was that the millennials workforce is looking very different and diverse from the workforce of yesterday. Shweta Shukla pointed out that, you are dealing with people who are not going to take instructions. So rather than being a manager who merely asks them to do things, you need to lead them upfront on what needs to be done. At FB everybody is self managed. You need to be a ‘doer manager‘ rather than a manager. She was happy to be quoted on asserting that

‘Positional Authority is dead.’ It does not matter what position you hold. Its more about what you bring to the table, how you can influence the stakeholders, how you can think about the future business impact and how you carry the workforce along that determines success.

4. Global Virtual teams – a reality

More and more organizations are growing globally and having to deal with large global teams. So how do you work in an environment where you are dealing with teams that are spread out globally, geographically, virtually, as you don’t meet these people face to face every day. You still need to succeed in influencing them communicating the business agenda clearly. So navigating a large, global, geographically diverse and virtual workplace is a key skill.

5. Balancing Strategy with Execution

You may have built a business over a long period of time and become really good at it. Suddenly, there is a technology disruption that occurs and changes everything. So you need to start from scratch. In such scenarios, the enterprenurial ability to strategize and execute quickly becomes extremely important. This becomes even more challenging and important as comapnies grow and become bigger in size. How do you stay ‘enterpreneurial’ in your mindset to beat competition quickly becomes very important.

Catch the snippets in the video below.

6. Data Analytics Skills are a crying need

With big data being available so easily the challenge is to then have people skilled in the science and art of data analysis. The ability to draw actionable insights from data analysis is an important and critical skill indeed for tomorrow’s workforce. The challenge is to bridge the gap between being hard core technical skills person and business skills person and come up with a skillset that can apply a business lense to the techncial skill. These intersection skills which are a blend of technical and business skills are rare indeed. People who have multi skillsets variants on the table will be in high demand.

7. Many roles will merge or become redundent.

Bhavya Sehgal, Senior VP Strategy and Innovations at ORC international pointed out that many roles will merge or become redundent. Example marketing and sales roles will merge. There will be hardly any people who will merely be sales people and not know marketing or vice versa. The need will be for both skills to be acting together and existing together in one functional area. He also urged the HR guys to break out of the comfort zone and be willing to take on more commercial roles and be even willing to lead business organizations. This would need a complete mindshift in how you view your role. This was a food for thought for most HR folks in the conference room and am sure fanned the ambitions of a few driven and ambitious HR professionals.

All in all a very fruitful day with all that learning.

Thanks for reading. Do share your thoughts / comments.