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Dear Workforce How Could Our Not-for-Profit Accurately Predict Future Skills Needs?

We run a not-for-profit association that provides recreational services to military service members and their families. We are thinking long term about the types of skills requirements that our business will need during the next five to 10 years. How can we know which skill areas might be most important? Is there a clear-cut way to make an educated guess? We aren't in the predicting business, but we want to invest in the right skills.
January 18, 2011
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Related Topics: Future Workplace, Dear Workforce
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Dear Peering Into the Future:
I applaud your inquiry. Rarely do human resources professionals take time to understand the importance of recruiting future skills. For a not-for-profit in the recreational field, there are three main categories of skills you will want your people to have as you move into the future: people skills, technology skills and developmental skills.
Because you will probably continue to rely on sponsorship, you will want your development people to have excellent powers of persuasion. This skill will also be helpful in recruiting new members as well as new employees. Hint: Have your internal and your external marketing people work together so that your employer brand and your organizational brand are aligned. (Sometimes not-for-profits forget this important step.)
Also in the area of people skills: You will need good leaders as well as good followers. As you grow, you will need people who are good at working in teams to accomplish projects. When you are ready to expand to a second club, you will need people who are good at establishing systems and procedures in new environments. You can recruit for these particular skills by using behavioral interviewing.

Second, as we all know, technology is becoming more and more important in recreation and fitness. You will want to hire some people who are familiar with the "latest and greatest" in gaming and simulations. Today, it's the PlayStation, Wii and the Xbox. Who knows what tomorrow's technology will bring? Hire people who pride themselves in staying on the leading edge. They will probably be members of the millennial generation—sometimes called Generation Y.
To repair these systems and your increasingly sophisticated machines in the club, you will also need people who are good (and fast) technicians. Machine downtime discourages people from visiting your club, so you will want to have any broken machines up and running as soon as possible. Be sure to include a practical test in your pre-employment candidate assessment. (One of the worst hires I ever made was when I believed a young woman whose résumé said that she was able to program in HTML; I didn't find out until after I hired her that she thought being able to use Dreamweaver was the same as being able to program from scratch.)

Finally, you will want to hire people who have the ability to develop and grow, so that they may grow with your organization. Many of the jobs that will exist in 10 years do not exist now. Hire people who are adaptable and who not only can learn new things, but also enjoy learning them as well. And although in your area of recreation you will hire many young people, do not dismiss your candidates from other generations. What is most important is that the candidates want to keep developing themselves.
SOURCE: Joyce Gioia, strategic business futurist, The Herman Group, Austin, Texas
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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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