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HR: do not put off dealing with the question of required skills

Organizations should ask themselves what ‘the new normal’ will look like, and then what skills they will need in this new normal. Bastiaan Starink, specialist People and Organization at PwC, expects organizations to dismiss, hire and retrain people based on this. ‘This is In fact ‘skills bridging’.’

Good leadership is required to shape these adaptations. Bastiaan Starink advises all organizations to set up two teams. One team should concentrate on the short-term adjustments: how do I reorganize my office? How do I ensure the health and wellbeing of people? How do I deal with mobility? The second team should focus on the long term. ‘Businesses should attract and retain the right competences, in particular now business models are changing due to the crisis.’ 

Bastiaan does not anticipate a return to the ‘old situation’. He foresees rounds of downsizing that will have an impact on many. ‘This is a big concern, but also offers opportunities. The new NOW scheme provides for retraining, and staff shortages in sectors like education, healthcare, and the police force may be filled with people from other sectors.’

The government has a double role here, being both the largest employer in the Netherlands and the policy maker. According to Starink, the government can be a role model for instance, by retraining people and helping them to find other jobs. 

From ‘who do we need in the future?’...

  • Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, there were major staff shortages in sectors like healthcare and education. Due to digitization, there is more focus on ‘upskilling’.
  • Gradual changes and working according to set patterns do not put much pressure on making an inventory of required and available skills.
  • The government is the biggest employer of the Netherlands and at the same time policy maker.

…to a more urgent focus on required skills

  • ·The employment market is changing: the crisis and its consequences – changing business models and other occupancy rates – will lead to rounds of downsizing. This makes the question what skills are required an urgent one. 
  • For sectors with staff shortages, there are opportunities to attract employees.
  • Retraining to increase the chances of work becomes more important. This requires a steering role of the government.
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Bastiaan Starink

Bastiaan Starink

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 375 58 28

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