Posted: 21 Feb. 2023 10 min. read

Build the skills-based digital workplace of the future

Solutions to help bridge the skills gap

Authored by Daniel Chee

As the digital workplace and the technologies that support it continue to evolve, a skills gap is inevitable. According to the World Economic Forum, humans working with machine algorithms will lead to 97 million new roles by 2025, and more than 50% of the global workforce (1 billion people) will need to be reskilled by 2030. What’s more? A Deloitte/Fortune survey found that labor and skill shortages remain among the top factors that CEOs expect to disrupt and influence their strategy.

The question is not how to avoid the skills gap, but how to bridge and cross it. As companies work to reconfigure talent strategies to attract, retain, and cultivate tomorrow’s workforce, a new operating model has dawned: the skills-based organization, which prioritizes potential aptitude and drive over experience or formal education.

Skills-based organizations are prepared to raise the bottom line, as they are:

  • 98% likelier to retain high performers
  • 52% likelier to innovate
  • 49% likelier to improve processes to maximise efficiency1

Today, the digital workplace is the natural environment for a skills-based operating model. Here is how your organization can begin to rethink hiring, technology, and leadership as you work to prioritize skills in this evolving space.

Five skills that help workers thrive in today’s digital workplace

When building a skills-based digital workplace, picking the right people is essential, and more nuanced than traditional hiring. To future-proof your business, seek out these five qualities in your hires:

  1.  Passion for learning and teachability. Seventy-two percent of the executives in the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey shared that “the ability of their people to adapt, reskill, and assume new roles” was either the most important or second most important factor in their organization’s ability to navigate future disruptions. This remains pivotal. When making hiring decisions, the ability to reskill (or build new skillsets to do work that diverges from their prior experience or field) and upskill (or improve existing competencies) is more important than direct experience. Individuals with these aptitudes can help close skills gap and thus cushion organizations against labor shortages.
  2. Basic tech savvy. Without a foundation of digital literacy, teams will fall behind. Perhaps surprisingly, for most roles, a deep technological knowledge is unnecessary—but the ability to meet a digital literacy threshold, which should be set according to industry and role, is key.
  3. Critical thinking, especially when evaluating data. As automation handles more repetitive tasks, what we require of people is less about tasks and more about thought. The ability to analyze data and extract insight adds value that can affect—and even define—business outcomes.
  4. An ability to contribute to a diverse and multigenerational workforce. Each generation brings its own style, values, and technological and skills-based capabilities to the job. Effective leaders will use interpersonal skills to bring them together to face the same goals rather than each other.
  5. A nimble approach. In today’s multifaceted workplace, an individual worker may move to a new project that requires different applications, skills, or team members every few weeks. The workers who thrive in the digital workplace can accept uncertainty and flow with change.

Reconsidering the role of technology

After you have put the right people in the right roles, you must equip them with the tools to succeed. The digital workplace should support skills-building and skills-based people decisions. Ideally, it should ease the complexities of reimagining work.

Having the right technology platforms and tools is fundamental to unleashing the potential of the digital workforce and work outcomes in a skills-based model. As employees work to upskill and reskill, they will benefit from a digital workplace with technologies and processes that mirror their daily interactions with technology outside of work (such as the apps they use to buy groceries or catch a ride). The right tools, seamlessly integrated throughout the digital workplace, make it easy for workers to focus on skills—from hiring and onboarding to project management and career shaping.

For instance, a platform might help a hiring manager create a skills-based job description, encourage training sessions for a worker eager to reroute their career, or show a project manager which skills gaps exist on their assembled team. In other words, a savvy digital workplace should make skills-building-based decision-making inevitable. The more streamlined and integrated the tech stack, the better.

How ServiceNow can help you prioritize skills

To align our training and skills building with the dynamic nature of our work, we at Deloitte are implementing the latest learning features of ServiceNow as part of maturing our digital workplace. The platform allows us to automate and populate content about available trainings to promote upskilling and reskilling across the organization. ServiceNow can help your organization:

  1. Track skills and assign tasks accordingly: ServiceNow incorporates a back-end feature, Advanced Work Assignment, that records employees’ skills. Then, when a project comes in, the process of assigning tasks can be automated based on workers’ availability, capacity, and skills. Work is matched to the worker.
  2. Empowering growth: Through its acquisition of Hitch, ServiceNow will enable workers to view upcoming opportunities and the skills needed for each, compare their skills to those requirements, and evaluate and complete learnings to close any gaps.
  3. Push learning in the flow of work: ServiceNow has the capability to push in‑moment learning content to workers to help close skills gap.

Breaking it down: Six steps to success

Before leaping to adopt new tools or systems, leaders must reconsider how work is currently getting done and where and how technology can enable and elevate human capabilities. Prepare for the move to a skills-based digital workplace with these six steps:

  1. Think about what work must be done. Focus on outcomes or problems to solve. To start, take time to consider key questions: How can we think about work differently? What skills are needed to do this work? How might tech support enable workers to achieve this?
  2. Break it down. Identify the tasks and skills required to deliver each outcome.
  3. Reorganize internally. Base structures and organization charts around skills and outcomes, not hierarchies.
  4. Look for learners. Seek skills rather than position titles, prior experience, or degrees. An obvious application of this would be changing the hiring mindset, beginning with job requirements for new hires.
  5. Mind the gap. Identify the learning that’s required for people to reskill and upskill to excel on upcoming projects and work.
  6. Get the right tech (and maintain it). The right tech acts as a collaborator, not just an instrument. It uses artificial intelligence and data analytics to deliver consumer-grade user experiences to workers hungry to learn, find purpose, and grow your business.

Committing to continuous learning is key

In some ways, leaders and workers are learning new skills side-by-side. While workers build skills to work on projects, leadership is building the ability to see and organize work and the workforce differently. Both must tolerate some level of ambiguity along the way, and understand that learning and growing in the digital workplace should be continuous.

As businesses adopt, maintain, and mature skills-based digital workplaces, another constant will be a people-first mentality. Nurturing employee talent means:

  • Looking for their merits as learners
  • Serving them the right tools to build skills on an intuitive platform
  • Matching their career paths with their passions as they grow

Invest in the digital workplace to build your workforce, build their skills, and build your business. Learn more about how we can help you unleash the power of your workplace or contact us at to get started. You are also invited to join our upcoming exclusive fireside chat: How could a recession change talent management? on March 7, 2023.



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