A 2016 report from the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity estimates that 30 percent of young adults will not graduate from secondary school with the skills they need to hold most jobs.

On the other hand, there is a severe shortage of qualified talent for the new digital economy. Jobs requiring knowledge of social media, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and the Internet of Things are going unfilled in ever-greater numbers.

Social media is already here, most people, well, 3.5 Billion of us are on some form of social media platform or other, chances are you're reading this on one of them. 

If you're on a social platform do you ever stop and think 'How many adverts have I missed out on today' - no, me neither, but I do check in to see what my family, friends, and work colleagues are talking about or sharing. 

I always find it slightly amusing when talking to leadership teams who themselves tell me they can't remember the last 3 adverts they saw on social media, let alone the last time they actually did something with one they did see.

So when we talk about how companies today have simply transferred the 'advertise and promote' mindset into the social media space I then ask them 'why do you think other people would behave differently than you?' - its rhetorical of course!

There a 3 essential pillars to a great social media strategy;

  1. Great profile - not your CV but more to do with your personality.
  2. The ability to grow a social network with purpose - why am I connecting to you?
  3. The consistent creation and sharing of knowledge - relevant to your connections.

As we look to roll out our #SocialHR program, along with our #SocialSelling accreditation program we're looking to help companies and individuals re-imagine what the real power is around 'social media', how it can get you closer to, and be more authentic with your customers, reduce your 'paid media' activity, and get you consistently front of mind ahead of your competitor.

To do this requires a company to invest in the individual employees to up-skill what they are currently doing (or not) with social media in order to meet the ever changing digital landscape.

An up-skilling effort, by contrast, is a comprehensive initiative to convert applicable knowledge into productive results — not just to have people meet classroom requirements, but to have them move into new jobs and excel at them. 

It involves identifying the skills that will be most valuable in the future, the businesses that will need them, the people who need work and could plausibly gain those skills, and the training and technology-enabled learning that could help them — and then putting all these elements together.