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Steering the Digital Ship: HR’s Role in Emerging Technology Monitoring

As businesses worldwide continue to embrace digital transformation, the demand for skilled professionals in emerging technologies has skyrocketed. However, a global digital skills shortage poses a significant challenge for organizations and governments looking to leverage digital technologies for growth and innovation.

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The digital skills gap in the UK has been described as “catastrophic” and a “disaster” | Raconteur

Today we’ll explore how HR & Talent Management professionals are crucial in supporting technology teams with their digital transformation projects. We will also discuss the need for HR professionals to have the right skills and competencies to address the digital skills shortage and how the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) can be a powerful tool to ensure alignment between HR and IT for nurturing the right digital talent.

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SFIA (Skills Framework for the Information Age) | SFIA Foundation 

We’ll also delve into how the implementation of SFIA at an organizational or government-wide level can guarantee the inclusion of emerging technologies in skill and competency planning, even for skills you have yet to hear of, to keep the framework continually relevant.

The Role of HR & Talent Management in Digital Transformation

In the digital age, HR & Talent Management professionals must transform from primarily administrative-focused roles to strategic partners in the organization’s growth. As technology increasingly becomes the backbone of business operations, HR professionals must play a vital role in acquiring, developing, and retaining the right talent to execute digital transformation projects successfully.

HR professionals’ traditional responsibilities, such as recruitment, onboarding, and performance management, still hold importance in the digital era. However, they must enhance their skill set to understand emerging technologies, anticipate future digital skill requirements, and design talent acquisition and development strategies accordingly.

This means going beyond conventional HR practices and diving deep into technology trends, industry advancements, and the specific skill sets required to drive digital initiatives.

SFIA and Its Relevance to HR & Talent Management

SFIA is a widely recognized and adopted framework that provides a common language for defining and managing IT and digital skills. Developed by the SFIA Foundation, it offers a comprehensive set of skills and competencies across various proficiency levels, making it an invaluable tool for HR & Talent Management professionals to assess and develop their technology workforce.

SFIA is structured around skill categories with multiple skills and competency levels. The framework covers a wide range of skills, from technical expertise to soft skills such as leadership and communication. By providing transparent and standardized language to describe roles and competencies, SFIA helps bridge the gap between HR and IT departments and fosters effective communication about talent needs and development.

Integrating “Emerging Technology Monitoring” into HR & Talent Management

Innovations emerge regularly in the fast-paced world of technology, and organizations must be prepared to adapt to these changes swiftly. One key skill in SFIA that HR & Talent Management professionals should focus on is “emerging technology monitoring.” This skill involves tracking and evaluating new and upcoming technologies that have the potential to impact the organization’s operations positively.

SFIA defines Emerging Technology Monitoring (EMRG) as “Identifying and assessing new and emerging technologies, products, services, methods, and techniques.”

For a professional with EMRG skills, daily activities include but are not limited to:

  • Assessing the relevance and potential impacts — which may be threats or opportunities
  • Communicating the impact of emerging technologies.

Assessments may relate to business enablers, cost, performance, or sustainability.

EMRG can be practiced at levels 4,5 and 6.

At level 4, a professional has knowledge, proficiency, or competence in:

  1. Supporting and monitoring the external environment and assessment of emerging technologies.
  2. Contributing to the creation of reports, technology roadmapping, and the sharing of knowledge and insights.

At level 5, a professional has knowledge, proficiency, or competence in:

  1. Monitoring the external environment to gather intelligence on emerging technologies.
  2. Assessing and documenting the impacts, threats, and opportunities to the organization.
  3. Creating reports and technology roadmaps and sharing knowledge and insights with others.

At level 6, a professional has knowledge, proficiency, or competence in:

  1. Planning and leading the identification and assessment of emerging technologies and the evaluation of potential impacts, threats, and opportunities.
  2. Creating technology roadmaps that align organizational plans with emerging technology solutions. Engaging with and influencing relevant stakeholders to obtain organizational commitment to technology roadmaps.
  3. Developing organizational guidelines for monitoring emerging technologies.
  4. Collaborating with internal and external parties to facilitate intelligence gathering.

Incorporating “emerging technology monitoring” into job descriptions and competency models empowers HR and Technology leadership to identify individuals who can stay ahead of the technology curve. These employees can act as technology scouts, identifying relevant emerging technologies that align with the organization’s goals and digital transformation roadmap. With such talent, organizations can proactively adopt emerging technologies, gain a competitive edge, and ensure they have the right human capital to leverage emerging technologies to create strategic competitive advantages.

Ensuring Continual Relevance in Emerging Technologies

One of the standout features of SFIA is its adaptability to keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology. The SFIA Foundation, in collaboration with industry experts and practitioners, continuously updates the framework to ensure it remains relevant in the face of emerging technologies. SFIA has been around for over 20 years and is currently on its 8th version.

When an organization decides to implement SFIA company or government-wide, it gains access to a dynamic framework continuously revised to include the latest emerging technologies. This means that even technologies relatively unknown to the public today will be incorporated into future versions of SFIA.

The SFIA Foundation’s commitment to keeping the framework up-to-date means that HR & Talent Management professionals can always rely on SFIA to guide the skills and competencies required for cutting-edge technology roles. It eliminates the fear of missing out on essential skills in emerging technologies and ensures that the organization is future-ready and capable of embracing new trends and innovations.

By embracing SFIA and nurturing the right digital talent, organizations can position themselves as leaders in the digital era, foster innovation, and stay ahead of the competition in the ever-evolving landscape of emerging technologies. HR & Talent Management professionals become catalysts for change, driving their organizations to success in the digital age!

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AUTHOR NOTE: Reproduced with thanks to John Kleist III, Chief Growth Officer for SkillsTX and author of Digital Talent Strategies, a popular newsletter on LinkedIn.  John proudly considers himself a Talent Management Revolutionary: Spearheading Skills-Based Digital Talent Strategies with SkillsTX Talent eXperience Skills Intelligence and the #SFIA Framework | Unlock Your #PassionForPotential.