Re-skilling, upskilling? Why not focus on pre-skilling?

Organisations should look into hiring employees who have demonstrated the desire to keep learning and wanting to grow into their careers through time.
By: | January 11, 2024

Employers looking to build and cultivate a labour force that can tackle the multiple challenges ahead should do so via the practice of ‘pre-skilling’ or the addressing of future needs by arming individuals with skills they will need before those skills become necessary for their current role.

Mark C Perna, Founder of TFS Results, a full-service strategic communications and consulting firm, interviewed Severine Zaslavski, VP of Global Product Development at ManpowerGroup, to understand more about the practice of pre-skilling and how organisations are using it to get ahead of the continued skills crisis in the labour force in 2024 on Forbes.

In essence, organisations should look for employees who have demonstrated the ability to want to learn new hard skills over time as they become necessary, a soft skill that both Perna and Zaslavski agree is crucial.

 “We continue to see higher growth of skilled technical and business professional jobs globally, all roles which require critical thinking skills combined with interpersonal skills,” said Zaslavski, who theorises that most organisations already have the soft skills they need within their talent pool. However, these organisations do not have the alignment and matching of soft skills to roles, creating performance gaps.
Organisations, Zaslavski explained, should focus on selecting and advancing individuals based on their potential for learning skills like critical thinking and resiliency, instead of focusing on hard skills like coding, as concentrating on these fundamental elements, as opposed to current technical proficiency or past work history, would position organisations position themselves with an agile and future-ready workforce.

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“In this light, pre-skilling should be an integral part of employers’ talent strategy pre and post-hiring, from sourcing and recruiting to career pathing and employee engagement,” she shared.

Organisations can need to develop clarity in communicating the goals and definition of the skills they need in the job description and the interview process, concluded Zaslavski.