New research from Aon’s Assessment Solutions, part of Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions (NYSE: AON), shows that when it comes to talent, 50% of HR people are most concerned about identifying critical skills and characteristics for future jobs. Forty-five per cent are also concerned about upskilling and reskilling employees, while 43% are concerned about attracting and selecting talent with key skills for the future.

Conversely, respondents are least concerned about developing future job architectures (29%), which would be a route to better understand and define future organisational needs.

According to Aon’s Assessment Solutions, skills are becoming obsolete at a rate not seen before, some with an average shelf life of just 5 years. Yet organisations aren’t able to plan 5 years ahead based purely on skills and roles because of the pace of change. It recommends organisations hire people on personality traits and characteristics.

John McLaughlin, commercial director of Aon’s Assessment Solutions, explained:

“Employers, and HR teams specifically, are facing acute changes to be digital ready. It’s forcing some to rethink job architecture to cover off recruitment, structure, development, engagement, reward and retention. However, as much as this helps a business understand its recruitment and training needs – HR’s two biggest concerns – it can also be seen as complicated and inaccessible.

“We recommend starting by building career paths based on personality traits and characteristics that support digital readiness, agility and resilience within your workforce. It means identifying the key traits that underscore success in different parts of an organisation.”

The Aon poll also showed that 36 percent of HR respondents are concerned with adopting future-facing career paths and development programmes. Here, it is possible for employers to use talent assessments to map out key positions in their organisation as well as identify skills gaps. Critically, assessments also help plan for the future by looking at employee behaviours.

John McLaughlin said:

“Understanding employee behaviours is essential. The three key traits that future-ready employees have are 1) Learnability – Seeking continual self-improvement, 2) Agility – flexibly adapting to changing situations and 3) Curiosity – being open to change.

“Other common traits that are also useful for a digitally-driven organisation include ambition, mental endurance, a coaching mindset and business acumen.”

The poll had 318 responses through Aon’s Assessment Solution’s global HR and talent focused website. It asked, ‘What future-critical talent issues is your organisation facing?’.