Key Insights from Irresistible 2023: Unlocking the Power of Skills

Key Insights from Irresistible 2023: Unlocking the Power of Skills

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending #Irresistible2023, The Global Conference for HR Leaders, hosted at the beautiful USC campus in Los Angeles by the Josh Bersin Company. The theme focused on redefining the irresistible organization by developing new people strategies for today’s labor market.

One of the most compelling tracks was “The Skills-Centric Enterprise.” Speakers shared how leading companies are implementing skills-based approaches, from recruiting and learning to mobility and compensation. They also discussed emerging technologies like Talent Intelligence and AI for inferring skills, which provide a new lens into organizational capabilities.

Start with the problem, not the solution.

Define your business’s needs and skill gaps before determining how to address them. As Andy Biladeau said, “Fall in love with the problem.”

Welcome to the new world of organizational ingenuity.

Josh Bersin used the term “Systemic HR” in his keynote. The conference emphasized the need for organizations to embrace organizational ingenuity to navigate the current talent landscape successfully. HR departments need to evolve beyond what Bersin refers to as a “1980s IT shop structure” and become more agile and innovative. A good example provided was LinkedIn, which just merged its talent acquisition (TA) and talent management (TM) functions demonstrating the need for integration and a holistic view of HR functions.

Expert tip: to de-silo functions, a skills core solution is a great thread loophole helping you achieve workforce agility, efficiency, and profitability!

Key Insights from Irresistible 2023: Unlocking the Power of Skills

Secure stakeholder buy-in from the beginning.

Sheryl Whitaker at USAA said it best: venturing on your journey to become skills-centric is not a check-the-box exercise, it’s a transformation. And transformation requires support from the top. Find executives in the business who want to improve cost efficiency, retain top talent, drive innovation, or all three. Show them the future benefits of a skills focus. Leverage the power of storytelling like Lawrence Stevens is doing over at Micron, by painting a picture of a day in the life of an employee, a manager, or a business leader in a future skills-centric state.

Move quickly but thoughtfully.

Start with a narrow scope, achieve some quick wins, and build from there. But have a long-term vision to guide your efforts. Perhaps most importantly, meet employees where they are. Help people understand how to advance their careers in a skills-based system. Not everyone will immediately embrace concepts like self-directed development or open talent markets. Provide education and make the journey rewarding.

Embrace an employee-centric skills approach.

Signaling the importance of skills to employees is crucial. Like Schneider Electric’s Jean Pelletier, highlight premium skills that are priorities for your business. This helps employees focus their development efforts. And guess what, empowering employees to take charge of their skills development fosters engagement and ownership. But don’t over-engineer things. I personally loved how several organizations evangelize the concept of having signature skills, “those top skills you want to be known for and found for” as Ann Schulte, Ed.D. at P&G said so eloquently.

Talent shortages are here to stay.

As quoted by Josh Bersin, we’ll be living in a world of talent shortages for the foreseeable future. It’s time to adapt! Healthcare leads the way. With high turnover and talent scarcity, healthcare companies are pioneering innovative HR and skills solutions. Other industries would do well to follow their lead.

Key Insights from Irresistible 2023: Unlocking the Power of Skills

Overall, the conference highlighted that creating a skills-centric organization is challenging but critical work. It’s not a sprint, it’s a triathlon where several disciplines come together and where it’s going to hurt along the way. But by taking a phased, employee-centric approach with leadership sponsorship, HR leaders can help their businesses thrive in a world of increasing change and talent scarcity. The future is skills—and the future is now.

Written by Roel Deuss, VP Product Marketing at Fuel50


Hosted by The Josh Bersin company, the Irresistible 2023 conference focused on the latest HR trends, best practices, and strategies for success for senior talent leaders looking to stay at the forefront of modern HR best practice.

To learn more about the Irresistible conference, visit


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