What Skills Do You Anticipate Being In Greatest Demand Over The Coming Year?

By Tony Restell

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I recently co-hosted a live panel debate with Jeff Herzog, President of recruiting business FPC National. One of the key things we wanted to uncover was the kinds of skills that employers are going to be looking for when making hires in the post-pandemic world.

5 key questions were put to the panel and this is the thid of five videos and transcripts that share the insights with everyone who missed attending the session live.
How Have Hiring Plans and Staffing Been Impacted By Covid-19

Watch the panelists' views on the candidate skills that are likely to be in greatest demand

Here's the full video for question 3, a transcript of which follows underneath



Our panel comprised the following experts alongside Jeff Herzog and myself (Tony Restell):

  • Jenn Ryan - SVP Operations - Xometry 
  • Douglas Krieger - Director Global Sourcing - Herbalife 
  • Julie Bank - SVP Human Resources - Brighton Health Plan Solutions
  • John Rorick - VP, Client Services - AgileOne 
  • Steve Lagnado - CFO - Insider Inc 

Interview Transcript

What skills do you anticipate being in greatest demand over the coming year?

So, Jenn you started talking about some of the types of people that you're looking for and you have a unique business one that, for everybody on the call, Jenn was able to share with us that because they are a custom manufacturing business, they were able to really pivot focus on manufacturing PPE and being able to take advantage, not in a malicious way but in a positive way to support the needs.

But talk to me a little bit about your perspective, some of the important other skills that we're going to be looking for, going forward and you're anticipating hiring for.

Sure, and I kind of organized the thoughts around there's some really important leadership things that we're going to be looking for and then really, some individual contributor skills that we're going to need and I had identified one of the things was empathy.

Our partners, our suppliers, our clients and our associates, each person has had a unique experience. and one of the things that can be such an Achilles heel for us especially in leadership is sometimes we want to tell people how they feel or we want to wrap it up.

That was tough and people have had different experiences and we're going to really want to listen.

So I'm going to be looking for leaders that are able to listen with empathy.

Of course, so they are associates, but also our clients and our partners will have had unique experiences.

Julie talked about flexibility and this - I'm sensitive and I've seen it and all the ways as leaders, we can have a template on how we think we ought to be.

I'm listening for leaders saying... he sometimes... really being able to evaluate options to identify when they might be in stuck thinking, so flexibility.

I'm looking for people who want to lead, not manage.

We're much more going to be an outcome, than process management.

So, rather than looking at you and saying "How many minutes?"

If you're a person on a call, how many minutes after that call work do you have? In this remote environment I'm going to be looking at your outcomes. What was your net promoter score?

What were your conversions?

So, I'm looking for leaders who think of leading versus managing, and I've seen that I've seen maybe others have too.

Almost this fork in the road around people who are able to pivot to that, or people who feel lost as leaders.

The last one and I wanted to take a second to really maybe emphasize this one is, we need people who are comfortable with rhetoric.

We're going to tell a story over and over depending on your area of where you work, you're going to tell a story over and over that you're going to confront fear.

You're going to talk about change and you're really going to have to paint a vision.

And often in my industry, we have folks that are super comfortable talking about the parameters of a part or how something should be made but maybe aren't as still in painting that picture.

So that's on the leadership point.

Others that touched on this, but on the skills that we're really going to be looking for, supply chain analysis.

Where is everything I depend on coming from.

How do you come up with supply chain equations around sensitivity?

And where you willing to be? Risk modelling analysis and mitigation really understanding we're going to all need personnel who understand how to

assess and score and mitigate risk.

Business continuity practice, everyone has one, but I saw differences in companies, we had a strong task force. But I saw companies that had the binder, but maybe didn't really have the person in place who is like, I'm going to be calling the shots.

So, that's kind of an overview of some of the changes that we will be making and as you saw a lot of them are, I don't like to say softer side because it diminishes it, but I'd say on the emotional intelligence side maybe.

You beat me to it.

I was going to say emotional intelligence.

Thanks, Jenn.

It is so important and when I first came out with my first presentation to our group sitting in this chair, I spoke about figuring out a balance between honesty, empathy and proactivity, without being too aggressive.

And look, there's no doubt we're in a sales environment in my business, and we want to make sure we're arming people with the right mentality on how to approach things in such a delicate time, but it really is an important balance, and those soft skills really are going to impact the hard outcomes.

So it's not just, soft skills because you want to be able to have dinner with the person or you want to enjoy spending time with them, those soft skills today and being able to walk that fine line are going to impact those outcomes significantly.

So thanks so much for those insights.

What else?

Guys - who else is looking at sort of different talent, different skillsets going forward after this whole thing?

Anybody else wants to add-in?


Sure, so I think a lot of really good things that Jenn brought up.

I think when you look at real estate, we talk about location, location, location,

When we talk about the employment side, it's people, people, people.

It's who do you know?

And I think soft skills, the emotional intelligence becomes to me, the biggest thing that there is because we need people that build relationships we're a very relationship-driven organization.

And so I talked about that at the beginning.

How do you do that?

How do you come into the culture?

But how do you build relationships? When I'm in the office I can walk by.

I can do the drop by, You're not busy, I'm not busy.

Let's have that quick five-minute conversation.

I don't have anything to say, but it just helps to build a relationship with us.

So when one of us does need something, we already have a bond.

How do you make sure that you make the time to do that?

Because if you're anything like any of us. While we're working from home and it's easy to come into the office. Walking through the hall and if you pass the kitchen and leave the fridge closed.

But other than that, it's fairly simple, but your day is slammed.

Your day is slammed from morning to evening and probably into the later evenings, much more so than if you were working in the office.

So how do you find that 5-10 minutes at different times?

And I think that's something that's extremely important to recognize in new candidates.

And it's important everyone to think about as we're doing here. and then I think it was Jenn who also said flexibility.

So you know, typically when we look to hire we look for somebody who has a specific set of focuses, If this has proven anything it's we need somebody who is adaptable and, what's the old expression?

Everyone has a great plan until they get punched in the mouth and then see how they operate.

This is kind of puts them out it's a punch in the gut it's a punch everywhere.

And so how do we respond to that?

How do we take that and say, look I'm dealing with stuff at home with my family?

I'm dealing with stuff in the office.

I've got friends who are unemployed.

There's an unknown for me.

I've got a new puppy as well as three kids at home because their school's closed.

How do you continue to get things done and effective?

And as a leader, how do you recognize by going back to that emotional intelligence?

How do you recognize your team is going through the same exact thing that you're going through?

And so if it's OK for your dog to bark on a call now.

It's got to be okay for theirs, if it's OK that your kids are home, it has to be okay that hey, if they've got young kids, they might have a young kid climbing over their lap while you're on a meeting trying to do something.

Where in normal times we would say, come on, you got to do something here.

We've got to have this discussion.

Now you have to sit back and say, look, it's OK. I get it.

You're a Mother first, you're a Father first. Do what you have to do.

We'll take an extra two minutes and then we'll get something done.

None of our time is more valuable than anybody's.

And I think those are the skills that we're going to need and the skills for the next set of employees coming into the environment.

Really interesting. Julie, did you have something that you wanted to add?

Yeah, which is that - and I agree with what you both said - I mean this is a victory that so far my five-year-old hasn't crawled on my lap during this presentation. I mean, my 11-year-old and 13- year-old don't want anything to do with me but my five-year-old does.

I would say in addition to those soft skills which I think is so important, and I think the other area is information security as we go and deploy a virtual workforce.

You need to be set up to do that effectively, that you're maintaining the private...

I mean, we're in healthcare so this is the basics for us.

But I think people rethink what they're doing to protect their data and their information.

If you're moving to virtual, and I think a lot of organizations are going to stay that way at least a larger subset than they were before.

I think trainers are going to be really important whether you're helping navigate leaders, how to manage remotely.

And you got to go back to the basics.

We have identified some management gaps that you just didn't think about when you were in the office.

But now that they're at home someone you know forgot to do something.

You have a non-exempt employee, and they're just going to finish that up at 6:30 at night real quick.

We got to pay them.

And as much as you think this is just a core, core competency of your managers, it's just different.

So making sure you're equipping your people with the knowledge they need to be successful.

So those are just to two other gaps I would say we should be thinking about.

And it seems like it's a feeding frenzy for hackers.

I've seen more people get hacked right now and sending out fraudulent emails hacking into LinkedIn accounts and everybody has to be so incredibly sensitive to that.

So that's a great point, Julie.

Hey Steve, I think you might have had something to add as well, you mentioned.

Yeah, just on the kind of skill question and what we're looking for in hires, I think one thing that we've tried to do - at least our recruiting our recruiting team is just to keep going back to our core.

So certainly there's new skills and new soft skills and remote working skills and all that.

But that's today.

So you know, that might go away.

It might not but for us, I think it's actually leaning on kind of the core.

Call it values, whatever you want to call it that we look for in people, and the things that you know are kind of common and come up in our entire employee base, they so starting there and then branching out to the other things, just always keeping the focus on, Okay, these are the things we look for in everybody.

We look for grads, we look for people who are flexible for people who could do more than one thing.

Whatever it might be, every company has got their own values, that workforce.

So that's a big thing for us.

On Julie's point, about kind of managing in this in this kind of new, new.

One thing I think it has actually helped us as an organization.

Meaning, we're... I like to call our stage like adolescents.

We're kind of at our start up phase, we're not full-blown adults yet, but we're kind of starting to compete, we starting to compete there and getting into kind of the Premier League.

So for us, we're still immature in a lot of ways in growing and figuring things out.

This has actually kind of required a real focus on when you start to think about, wow what people need every day to be successful and do their jobs... Not just from a recruiting standpoint, but from a talent perspective, from an operational perspective.

You start to look at how you're doing things, and I think Julie made a great point about training.

We've actually kind of re-upped our training budget to address the fact that we have all these young managers trying to navigate this remote environment and they're just not equipped to do it.

So we're trying to give them the tools, it could just be having frequent webinars.

It could be hiring specific, one to one training for people and so we're kind of recreating a lot of that in real-time, because that's what our people need.

So I think it's actually at the end of this whole thing, I was going to say six months and caught myself, whatever at the end of this whole thing, whenever that is.

I actually remember flashbacks and wow, a lot of the things that we put in place and a lot of processes that we created kind of benefited us long term, and we might not have gotten there for a long time.

So kind of looking for the silver lining, but there are definitely a few.

Well, to kind of continue forward with your child development analogy.

If you're somewhat immature, maybe you're in your formative years and perhaps the immaturity of your staff now will allow them to be a little bit more able to sort of morph and change.

It will be interesting to see what a 28-year-old in 20 years is capable of doing versus what a 40-year-old in 20 years is capable of doing just because you're able to bond and weave and use technology better when you're younger.

So it's interesting how that's going to change.

So thanks for adding that. Just to be clear, all of us panellists are the former, right the twenty-eight.

Okay, just wanted to make sure. 100% more or less.

Thanks guys, great insights.

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