4 Common Questions and Issues About Skills-Based Strategies
1) How do we agree on a skill definition or a common language? While many organizations have created their own library of skills and competencies internally (about 40%, in our newest data), others use existing skills data sources, technology partners, or a combination of methods to agree on a set of skills. Overall, we have seen companies be successful by starting and iterating instead of just waiting until everything is perfect.
2) Should we allow workers to self-identify skills? Absolutely! Having people share their own skills on their employee profile is just like crowdsourcing suggestions for a problem. Everyone gets to contribute, and that saves HR and talent teams from trying to do this manually. Even if self-identification is just a starting point, it still can help to populate skills data as a jumping-off point.
3) How do we get enough skills data? Starting with self-identification, there are a few methods for driving additional skills data volume. For example, you can allow people to put in aspirational skills, not just existing strengths. You can also encourage them to share their preferences, such as openness to relocation or interest in leadership roles. The bottom line is that once people see that data being referenced or acted upon for talent decisions, they will want to share more information. I spoke recently with an executive for an enterprise aerospace company who explained that he updates his own skills in his employee profile because it has led to promotion and internal mobility discussions over the last 18 months.
In our newest Reskilling, Mobility, and Talent Development 2021 study, 91% of workers told us they would be interested in a skills-based career development tool. Helping them to understand how the information is used can lead to better and more consistent participation.
4) For companies that have skills data, how are they using it? We will go into greater detail on this element later in this series, but one company leader told us they were using skills to “engage workers in their career journeys—skills are the connection for learning, internal jobs, mentors, gig opportunities, development, etc.” This information enables a host of talent decisions that don’t just benefit the workforce, but the company as well.
In the next piece in this series, we’ll take this discussion further and explore a real use case for applying skills data in an organizational context, diving deep into the intricacies of utilizing skills data to solve long-standing problems that every company faces.