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Brain Circuits

Five questions leaders should be asking to prepare for the future

IbyIMD+Published 25 January 2023 in Brain Circuits • 3 min read

The old adage “we’re building the plane while we’re flying it” is a common one heard in the world of sustainability. Things are changing rapidly and jobs that require “green” skills are expanding faster than the number of people earning these qualifications. To keep up with the demand for these skills, your organization should be looking at how to train and upskill current employees.

This can pose challenges to human resources. Here are some questions your chief HR officer, as well as other key leaders, should be asking to see if you are prepared for the green requirements of the future workforce:

  1. Are your leaders up to speed with the latest sustainability issues?

Any movement to prepare your organization for the future needs to start at the top. Sustainability is no different; it starts with the board. It is important that top leadership is proactive, making it clear that things are changing at that your organization needs to keep up.

  1. Do you have incentive schemes in place to encourage sustainability?

Even if your organization understands the need to shift to more sustainable business models, it can sometimes get pushed to the side for more immediate concerns. However, it is important that sustainability is embedded in your overall strategy. To maintain leaders’ focus on this, it is important that incentives are built into the system.

  1. Have you identified the skills you need moving forward?

This may seem obvious, but it can get overlooked. In your product development lines, do you have someone who can point to the environmental considerations your company should be making?

  1. Do you know where to find the skills you need?

Again, this may seem obvious but take a deeper look at your talent pool: sometimes skills are hiding in plain sight. Many companies already have a focus on lean production, which means more efficiency and less waste. Could you move the needle a little further to focus on the circular economy? Efficiency experts are also likely to be great at sustainability, as they figure out how to reuse materials and reduce waste.

  1. Are you engaged with the government and educators?

Any time there is a shift in trends in the overall workforce, both government and education officials should be involved. Are there programs and incentives in place for students to learn new green skills? Companies need to engage the institutions around them to move the trends in the right direction.

Further reading: 

Bridging the sustainability skills gap by Knut Haanaes


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