Accenture’s recruitment team is in addition to traditional skills and capabilities increasingly selecting candidates on their ‘learning agility’, a capability that describes someone’s speed to learn, a trait that is more and more regarded as a key characteristic for (future) leaders. According to Accenture UK CHRO Ellyn Shook, the adjustment in the recruitment approach is needed to ensure that employees can successfully adapt their skillset to the fast-changing external landscape.
‘Learning agility’ is a competency that describes someone’s speed to learn. Someone with a strong learning agility has developed a passion for fast learning and is able to quickly study, analyse, and understand new business problems. Over the past years, an increasing number of studies and HR experts have earmarked learning agility as a key capabilities for both leaders and professionals.
With growing demands on employees to adapt to new technologies and new business challenges, consulting firm Accenture has decided to extend the traditional skillset it seeks – a mix of hard capabilities and soft skills – with learning agility. Ellyn Shook, Chief HR Officer at Accenture in the UK, explains: “We’ve seen a pattern in the past two years of our clients really demanding deep, specialised skills across a variety of industries and technologies. In new markets especially, talent is the fuel that drives high performance. Our staff are having to adapt to new technologies and even to changing work environments,” says Shook to HR Magazine. “Our people need to have learning agility so they stay current and also have the ability to reinvent themselves.”
For the recruitment team of Accenture, the new approach means that they will have to embrace learning agility as a key factor in the search and selection process. According to Shook, the recruiters will have to be able to recognise the ‘intellectual curiosity’ of candidates, in addition going forward the approach will have to systematically be embedded in Accenture’s overall recruitment strategy and working procedures.