Harnessing the power of behavioral skills: Hello Fundamento!
It’s been over a year since Megha and I set out to build Skillr, as an extension of our learnings from Leap Skills. Our vision has been grounded in truly building a bias-free, skills-first world by reverse engineering the hiring problem from an employer’s perspective and understanding what they need. We’ve put employers at the center and have been helping them build great teams by leveraging decades of research in IO psychology and ethical, predictive AI to provide them with objective, actionable data on behavioral skills.
We’ve spent the last few months working with several rapidly growing organizations to navigate their recruiting journeys, identifying talent that is ready for the future of work, while extensively building upon our skills framework. Our intelligent hiring platform has been used by these companies comprehensively to collaborate, filter, assess, track and engage with candidates, while providing candidates an opportunity to be part of an equitable and transparent hiring process. We’ve learnt tremendously through this process with our early customers over the last year. Every conversation, interaction, suggestion, feedback has led us to gain deeper insight on what we’re building.
We’ve noticed a shift in organizational focus and priorities. We often found ourselves in the middle of discussions significantly centered around organizational design and its visible pivot towards endurance over efficiency. The way companies are being built today is changing rapidly.
Building enduring organizations is more important now than ever.
The pandemic has dramatically influenced this shift. It’s accelerated the shift to the gig economy and technology has come into our day-to-day in a huge way, sooner than we’d anticipated.
Organizations are now looking at building granularly skilled, resilient teams vs singularly competent ones. In fact, investing in talent to build better, more productive organizations is now considered commonplace. The difference however, is that companies are not just doing that. They are actively revisiting the drawing board to see what they need to do to build organizations that don’t just adjust to a constantly changing work environment but thrive in it.
Continuous research on skill gaps in companies has reemphasized that while business leaders think it is vital to have digital skills in the new world, future-ready, behavioral skills are becoming increasingly important. Yes, the future is digital and a lot of skills that are in demand today revolve around building core technical capabilities. However, the largest skill gaps that companies have been facing, especially in the last couple of years, are behavioral skills. This is no longer a hidden fact. In fact, IBM conducted a detailed study recently on closing the enterprise skill gap and concluded that the recently accelerated digital era has pushed the need for reformed business models, dynamic working mechanisms and a “flexible culture that fosters the development of critical new skills.”
This is important.
Technical skills are objective, and organizations are objectively able to hire people with measurably better technical skills. Even as technology changes, making ‘build vs buy’ decisions are relatively straightforward. However, behavioral skills are complex and require deep understanding and a lot of effort to measure and develop in teams. They’re also extremely cross-functional skills. Uniquely, human skills like critical thinking, bias to action, learning agility and even effective communication are now required across roles. This puts individuals in a position to move beyond narrow job responsibilities and build meaningful careers.
It is interesting to note that the importance of behavioral skills is more accepted in roles that involve working with people — be it customers, vendors or team members. However, every role today requires these skills, and that understanding is crucial. Even engineers and data scientists are now commonly expected to break down problems and liaise with multiple stakeholders to stay ahead of the curve. It is these 21st century skills that help them power through. As individuals with technical roles grow in their careers, it is their ability to work with, influence and develop other people that puts them onto an accelerated career path.
This is not only imperative for companies, but also fundamental from an individual’s standpoint. Studies have suggested repeatedly that over the next few years some job roles would either not exist or be automated. As AI and the future of work impact the nature of jobs, it is these skills that machines cannot replace which will unlock long-term opportunities.
For years companies have tried to find out what separates an outstanding leader from a good leader, a disruptive engineer from a smart engineer, a record-breaking salesperson from a salesperson who meets the quota or even an excellent young professional from an average college graduate. Research has shown that the answer in most cases is behavioral skills.
This is without doubt a two-way street.
While companies put more relevance on behavioral skills, it’s important that individuals focus on developing these skills alongside technical skill advancement. Fascinatingly, behavioral skills are highly transferable and easy to develop. For individuals who are looking to propel their careers forward, developing these future-ready skills can take them a long way. How people work with people and how they work on themselves is extremely relevant today. It is the core difference between being good at your job and being great at it.
Skillr was started by a team that spent almost 10 years decoding and imparting critical behavioral skills to over 200k young professionals. It is because of this experience that we see ourselves playing a critical role in the narrative of behavioral skills at the workplace.
Moving forward, we are going to be playing a more active role with our clients and their stakeholders in building organizations for the future of work. Over the last year we’ve been able to completely demystify the science behind these skills and make measuring these intangible skills possible for every organization. We are now going a step further.
Our next step is to complement our actionable data with an upskilling action plan. We believe it is not only important for organizations to address the skill gaps identified in their teams, but also effectively train them to build future-ready behavioral skills. This is a move that is deeply aligned with our vision and will focus on arming both organizations and individuals with necessary skills at the workplace.
Finally, measuring and developing behavioral skills is going to be fundamental for building teams equipped for the future of work. As a team we decided that our lofty vision needs a brand and a new personality that represents what we stand for. Thus, we are excited to announce that as we broaden our outlook and harness the true power of behavioral skills, Skillr will now be known as Fundamento.
The future of work is here, and so are we.