Are Behaviours now more Important than Skills?

Work is evolving – organizations need to keep up with the rate of change. Fifty-nine per cent of HR leaders commented that their organizations do not have the defined set of skills needed for their digital transformation, according to Aon’s Digital Readiness Survey. Just one-quarter said that they have the critical digital competencies in place.

It is tempting to hire those with the digital skills you think you need. However, simply buying in skills that have worked in the past (and that you hope you will need in the future) is not a sustainable strategy. Technical skills diminish in value over a few years. Commentators suggest that half of today’s jobs could disappear in 10 years’ time.

Hire for the Future

Some wrongly assume that those skills that will take a business forward and make it future-proof are a set of digital skills: being proficient with technology. However, it is not about whether you can use Microsoft Excel or mobile devices, future-proofing your workforce requires a digital readiness. It is, we believe, a vital success factor and a strategic priority for every organization. Digital readiness involves communicating, performing tasks, managing information, creating content, collaborating, sharing knowledge and working with others in a digital context.

Therefore, hiring for future success does not mean recruiting talent with dwindling relevant skills or for jobs that will no longer be around. It means bringing on board people capable of adapting and keen to embrace future change.

When you hire for the future, you need to know that the people you hire will have the ability to successfully navigate whatever the future brings. We must recruit employees who are adaptable and curious about learning new skills. In short, we need to hire for behaviors.

Personality and Behavior: The Link

Personality traits are a better predictor of job success than abilities: behaviors, motives and preferences all go to make up personality. While skills can be learned, behaviors are more stable, making them even more important in order to get your hires right as they will help to future-proof your business.

However, what traits are needed and how can you measure them?

Behaviors for the Digital World

Our research shows that there are underlying behaviors that companies can identify when searching for individuals who thrive in the digital world. These behaviors concern agility and flexibility, curiosity and learnability:

  • The agility and flexibility to embrace and adapt to the ever-changing work environment. To think ‘on the fly’ and change direction.
  • Curiosity to seek out, explore and examine possibilities - be they technology, product- or market-related.
  • The ability and drive to seek out opportunities for business and system improvement and for learning when needed.

How to Assess these Behaviors

It is important to recognize specific competencies and behaviors for the future digital workplace. The challenge is how best to measure and assess these in the current workforce and in future candidates.

Our research has led us to adapt our personality questionnaire and a specific cognitive ability test. Together, these can help you uncover the characteristics, behaviors, skills and motives in candidates that will take your company forward.

Contact us to request a call to learn more and see how Digital Readiness assessment could work for you and your company.

About the Author

Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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