The Responsible Business Forum in Poland joins the international “Upskill 4 Future” project

27 lipca 2020

Polish employers must swiftly adapt to a new reality by supporting vulnerable workers with upskilling pathways. This is the aim of the new project entitled “Upskill 4 Future”, coordinated by CSR Europe with the support of J.P. Morgan in four EU Member States. In Poland, it is being implemented by the Responsible Business Forum.

New technologies, such as broadly understood digitization, automation and robotization, are irreversibly transforming the labour market. The pandemic has only accelerated these trends. The challenge is even greater if we consider demographic changes. They mean that it is necessary to support more people to continuous learning opportunities , especially for people who are poorly or, at best, not fully prepared to safely navigate the world of new technologies. It is especially tricky in Poland, where the lifelong learning rate is very low in comparison to other countries. In addition, these pitfalls are coupled with employers being forced to implement solutions related to elderly care. Care obligations will be assumed by growing numbers of employees, who will need to reconcile them with work.

In the face of the dynamic changes affecting the market, some developments are a threat to employees who perform routine or repetitive work, as well as those with lower qualifications, people at an advanced age, women and many other groups. Therefore, human resources managers are facing a challenge and an exceptional opportunity to implement innovative practices which will lead to inclusive and future-oriented reskilling of workers and work rearrangement.

Companies must constantly update their strategies and set new priorities to remain competitive. Therefore, the set of skills employers are looking for is changing. Many professions must adapt to the changing reality. New specialties are also being created. To support workers to meet the challenges related to the future of work and working with employers to facilitate workforce upskilling, CSR Europe and its partner organizations, including the Responsible Business Forum in Poland (RBF), has launched the “Upskill 4 Future” project with the support of J.P. Morgan. It will be implemented over the course of 2.5 years with more than 30 companies in 4 countries – France, Spain, Italy and Poland. It is coordinated by CSR Europe, with the RBF being responsible for the project in Poland.

“Upskill 4 Future” is based on the following key pillars:
● Change readiness study and assessment of the HR department and the company as a whole
● Company process benchmarking
● Company-oriented learning
● Pilot implementation for companies
● Dialogue and peer-learning
● Scaling (workshops in other European countries to assess and compare the situation).

The project will unfold in three stages. The first is about assessing the company’s preparedness for integrating human resources transformations. Companies are studied using an online tool which consists of ca. 60 questions grouped into 3 themes: strategic employment planning, training and development, and flexibility and mobility.
The objective of “Upskill 4 Future” is to gain comprehensive and practical understanding of inclusive human resources management in both smaller and larger companies. Therefore, it is essential to identify the key elements of this approach with respect to workers at risk of exclusion and vulnerability to changes relating to future of work.

The team behind the project wants sustainable transformations to become the new mainstay of corporate HR strategies. Thus, businesses must review their HR processes in terms of sustainable transformation. Groups at risk of exclusions must become the key beneficiaries of the changes taking place as we speak. The project will also aim to produce learning resources to be shared with stakeholders.
The benefits of the “Upskill 4 Future” project for companies include support for long-term employment as an investment in the company’s future, learning and using the experience of other companies as inspiration for further steps and significant profitability of upskilling ventures.

In mid-May, the first webinar was held with RBF President Marzena Strzelczak and RBF Project Manager Marta Borowska, who presented the project objectives, participants and timeline and discussed the tool used to evaluate HR readiness for the implementation of inclusive transformation in the workplace. Renata Włoch, PhD, member of DeLab UW, presented the background information about the future of the labour market. Agnieszka Bartnikowska and Małgorzata Petru (BNP Paribas Bank Polska) and Paulina Rubajczyk (Orange Polska) discussed the skillset of the future, drawing on case studies based on everyday company practices.

– “By implementing the ‘Upskill 4 Future’ project in Poland, we want to provide additional support for business to develop solutions which will provide effective answers to the challenges of the contemporary labour market. Technology changes coupled with adverse demographic trends may be a stumbling block for employers who are not prepared to face them and, in consequence, social cohesion may suffer. The pandemic has laid bare many weaknesses of Poland’s present-day economy and has definitively accelerated the digital transformation. It is a great opportunity but it may also become a trigger for changes which will take place in an irresponsible and unsustainable way. It is thus all the more important to ensure that the workforce keeps developing new skills and that as many jobs as possible are protected,” says Marzena Strzelczak, President of the Responsible Business Forum in Poland.

The objective of “Upskill 4 Future” is to see how human resources transformation may increase employability and thus protect employee groups who are especially vulnerable to the negative consequences of technological changes.

Thanks to the participation of CSR Europe and its partner organizations, companies will be able to prepare adaptation and training-related processes better so that they can be implemented responsibly and enable the workforce to adapt their skills to new requirements.

Other leading CSR and sustainable development business organizations are involved in #Upskill4Future alongside RBF. They include: Fondation FACE, Forética and Impronta Etica. For more details, see the CSR Europe website: