How Workday Is Delivering Next-Generation Skills Technology at Scale

At Workday, we believe understanding employees’ skills is essential to operating a business and imperative for the future of work. We’re introducing next-generation technology that amplifies the impact of Skills Cloud, helping our customers strengthen their foundation as a skills-based organization.

The heightened focus on skills comes as no surprise. With the rapid pace of change and ongoing labor shortages, companies are increasingly adopting a skills-based approach that widens the talent pool and finds workers with skills that thrive in dynamic environments. But the increased interest in skills has also put a spotlight on the challenges of designing a skills-based talent strategy.

Among the top challenges is the inability to connect skills data from multiple sources. Skills data exists in many applications, internally and externally: skills assessments, labor market data, recruiting applications, and learning applications, just to name a few. To get the best analytics and machine learning driven experiences—such as personalized career recommendations—across these applications, data needs to be connected. However, integrating skills data isn’t easy—it’s often complex, requiring costly custom integrations that don’t always work. As a result, companies aren’t able to get the most value out of their skills-based applications. 

At Workday, we believe understanding employees’ skills is essential to operating a business and an imperative for the future of work. Skills data is the foundation for effective workforce planning, recruiting, and internal mobility.

That’s why we introduced Skills Cloud, a skills data ontology that breaks down the components of what makes up a skill, connects those components in relation to other skills, and relates those skills to other categories. Skills Cloud is the foundation of Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), and as a result, naturally extends to many Workday applications that use employee skills data.

We’re delivering an open and connected experience that empowers companies to leverage a consistent set of skills across their business, which will help them to drive more meaningful talent management and employee experiences.

Launched in 2018, Skills Cloud was built with data provided by our customers as well as massive industry-standard sets of training data, growing from 25 million skills being used across all customer tenants to more than 5 billion today.

And now, we’re introducing skills data interoperability features that amplify and extend the impact of Skills Cloud. 

Next Advancement of Skills Technology

Enhanced with next-generation annotation technology, Skills Cloud can now normalize skills data from external sources and relate that data to other skills—even when multiple definitions of skills exist–and securely integrate skills data from multiple external sources into the Workday platform. Additionally, our customers can export skill level data from Workday to external systems, depending on how that external system ingests skills data.

Simply put, customers can now leverage an open and connected skills ecosystem to deliver business value and enhanced machine learning employee experiences in both Workday and other applications.

The enhanced capability can be best described as a skills data interoperability—meaning the ability to exchange information or work with other systems. Here’s what that looks like: When an employee takes a data analytics course from a third-party online learning platform, Workday can bring in that skills data to enhance personalization of career experiences across Workday applications. Likewise, skills data in Workday can flow into third-party applications to enhance those applications. For example, as an employee acquires skills and skill level data in Workday, that data can be used in external talent systems to improve machine learning results. 

The advanced capabilities of Skills Cloud enable customers to include third-party skills data in Workday, but what’s more, we’re building an ecosystem of Skill Software Alliance partners, starting with Aon, Degreed, and SkyHive that includes delivered pre-mapped skills ontologies to import relevant skill data from third-party systems into Workday. In other words, our partners relate and connect skills from their system to what's in Workday, which virtually eliminates the need for our customers to sort out the skills. As a result, our Workday customers quickly get going with applying skills insights to their business strategies.

Make Data-Driven Talent Decisions With Next-Generation Skills Technology 

We’ve been hearing many of the same things from our customers recently when it comes to skills: “We’re struggling with a skills shortage and lack understanding of what skills we need to become an agile organization.” Or, “Our job requisitions are staying open for months.” And, “How do we create career paths that improve employee retention?”

Our hope is that through the skills interoperability capabilities in Skills Could, companies are able to be more agile in their talent strategies, and as a result, strengthen their foundation as a skills-based organization. 

Our skills technology empowers organizations to:

  • Make strategic talent decisions based on rich insight. Combining skills data from multiple sources helps organizations determine how to best leverage the resources they have, make data-driven decisions around talent and staffing, and plan for future workforce needs. 

  • Improve business agility and adapt to changing business demands. With access to real-time skills data, organizations can understand what skills their workforce has—or needs—so they can better respond to business needs.

  • Drive meaningful employee experiences. With skills data from both Workday and external applications, organizations can connect workers with internal opportunities—such as projects, gigs, new roles, and more—to deliver more personalized experiences and help nurture career growth. 

Putting the Future of Work at the Forefront of Talent Strategy

Our next-generation skills technology enables organizations to put the future of work at the forefront of their talent strategies. 

“Organizations, including our own, are increasingly shifting to skills-based talent strategies to help improve engagement and provide career growth opportunities for their employees,” Amy Richmond, managing director, PwC. “Working closely with Workday, we are solving a critical challenge by bringing our skills data together, allowing us to have a holistic view of our workforce skills and tailor career experiences that help drive employee success and satisfaction.”

Workday has always believed skills are key enablers of greater agility and adaptability, and these latest innovations double down on our commitment to providing organizations with the tools they need to accelerate their skills-based talent strategies. Working closely with our customers and partners, we’re delivering an open and connected experience that empowers companies to leverage a consistent set of skills across their business, which will help them to drive more meaningful talent management and employee experiences.

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