May 11, 2023

For successful reskilling, organizations need skills transparency

For successful reskilling, organizations need skills transparency

An imperative for ensuring success in the future of work

There’s a pressing need for organizations to keep their skills inventories topped up and prepared for the future of work, which is largely being driven by digital transformation and the proliferation of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. 

The reality is that the entire concept of work is evolving quickly, and the coronavirus pandemic that rocked the world some four years ago only highlighted the urgent need for organizations to prepare their people for what is the biggest shake-up of work as a concept since the industrial revolution.  

Overcoming challenges presented by the future of work will require organizations and entire industries to take a deep dive into what it takes to reskill and upskill their employees at scale. Only then will these organizations be in a position to stay resilient and safeguard people’s livelihoods. 

It’s not just the risk of employees’ existing roles being made redundant or ceasing to exist that is driving the need for reskilling. According to CIPD, more than 6.5 million people plan to quit in search of better jobs, many of whom cite a lack of job satisfaction or a desire to do a different type of work as the reasons why. 

Acknowledging this challenge is simple enough; acting on it is an entirely different ball game.

What do we mean by skills?

The starting point for an organizational skills revolution is understanding what is meant by skills. Sure, we all have in our minds an idea of what skills are. But what are they, exactly?

Skills are specific abilities. Having a skill means that you’ve got the proficiency to do something in a measurable way that not everybody can. They are task-oriented and focus on a person’s capacity to effectively perform a particular activity. In the context of work, the skills discussion usually centers around technical skills or transferable skills, but soft skills such as interpersonal abilities can also affect how individuals interact with others and manage their work. 

Ultimately, skills are just one of four elements that make up an individual’s competencies — a set of attributes that encompass the skills, knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes necessary for effective performance in a specific role or context. Unlike skills, which are specific and task-oriented, competencies provide a broader framework for understanding what it takes to excel in a particular line of work.

The quantum view of skills

At SkyHive, we take the approach to skills a step further through what we call the “quantum view” of skills. This is a holistic approach to skills intelligence that accounts for factors beyond raw skills in isolation such as competencies, digital transformation, technology, and reskilling — the many different but interconnected elements that are affecting the world of work today. 

Combinations or compounds of these quantum parts are what make up the context of work. Analyzing them, we’re able to see what skills, experience, and knowledge a particular job or task requires. This data, along with our AI-powered technology, enables SkyHive to provide organizations with market-leading skills intelligence. 

Let’s look at an example in the context of reskilling. 

The image below is taken from the Accenture Future Skills Pilot Report and shows that a machine operator job role has high automation potential. While the role might not exist in a couple of decades from now, those who occupy the role have many transferrable skills. 

A great look at current and future roles ...  reskilling and upskilliing in skills-based organizations
An example of current and future role planning in skills-based organizations.

Analyzing the skills for this at-risk role, we can see that machine operators have a high skills match to the solar installer role, which has a lower automation potential and will likely be in demand in the growing green energy space. 

This transparency of workers’ skills is what SkyHive is all about, helping individuals to:

  1. Understand their skills.
  2. See how their skills relate to other roles.
  3. Uncover career pathways and learning guidance for job transition. 

Making skills transparent is an important step in transitioning to a skills-based organization. Transparency directly corresponds to the ability of candidates and existing employees to understand their skills and be matched to roles and tasks. It also enables employers to accurately assess and communicate the skills needed to be successful in a position. 

It’s especially important for organizations undergoing their skills-based transition to understand the significance of skill transparency in the recruitment process. When employers are transparent about the skills required for a particular role, they’re more likely to attract the right candidates with the requisite skills and experience. This works both ways. Candidates who are similarly transparent about their skill sets are more likely to find opportunities that align with their strengths and experience.

In addition to attracting the right talent, skills transparency also lends itself to upskilling, reskilling, and retention processes. By understanding their existing skills inventory, talent leaders can look to implement a skills-based talent strategy for reskilling and retaining their top performers. This also helps to ensure that employees are equipped with the tools to succeed in their roles and have the support to continue learning and developing.  

How to encourage skills transparency

Leaders should create an environment where open communication about skills is both facilitated and valued. This will help to encourage skills transparency by creating a cultural shift towards recognizing the importance of skills and competencies as foundational elements of individual success. Practically, this can be achieved by conducting regular skills assessments, creating a centralized skills inventory, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and development. 

Regular skills assessments

Regular skills assessments can be conducted via digital tools that allow employees to self-assess their skills against predefined benchmarks and industry standards and update their skill profiles. Such tools might include scenario-based evaluations and feedback mechanisms that make the process engaging and valuable. Employees should be encouraged to revisit their profiles periodically, especially after completing new training programs, gaining new experiences, or taking on new responsibilities.

Furthermore, when employees are responsible for maintaining and updating their skills information, they become more aware of their growth areas and more proactive in seeking development opportunities. This can lead to a better employee experience, as employees can see a clear link between their efforts to upskill and their career progression.

Centralized skills inventory

A skills inventory serves as a comprehensive repository of employee skills, competencies, and qualifications. By centralizing and automating this information using a platform like SkyHive, organizations can ensure that skills data is easily accessible, up-to-date, and actionable.

A centralized skills database can, for example, provide visibility into the skills of the entire organization. Employees can view their own skills profiles and compare them with the requirements of different roles. This helps employees understand how their current skills align with potential career paths and what additional skills they need to develop to advance and is instrumental in facilitating internal mobility

With a clear view of the organization's skills inventory, managers can design and implement targeted reskilling programs and training initiatives that address specific areas of deficiency. This approach to reskilling ensures that employees acquire the skills necessary to meet evolving business demands, enhancing overall organizational agility and resilience — a must-do in the era of digital transformation and the so-called fourth industrial revolution

A culture of continuous learning and development

A continuous learning culture emphasizes the continuous development of skills, knowledge, and competencies, encouraging employees to engage in lifelong learning. This commitment to learning benefits both the individual employees and the organization as a whole, driving innovation, efficiency, and job satisfaction. 

Organizations should offer continuous learning and development opportunities to help employees acquire new skills and update existing ones. These opportunities can take various forms, including online courses, workshops, seminars, and in-person training sessions. Continuous learning not only keeps employees up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies but also prepares them to tackle new challenges and take on more complex roles within the organization.

Recognizing and rewarding employees who acquire new skills or reskill into new roles is an effective way to encourage a learning culture to take hold. 

Putting all of this together

As digital transformation and advanced AI technologies continue to shape the future of work, the importance of encouraging skills transparency and maintaining an up-to-date skills inventory cannot be overstated. These current trends, in addition to lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, have made it an operational imperative for organizations to take steps to reskill and upskill their workforce. 

Achieving this goal requires a multi-faceted strategy that includes understanding the true nature of skills, adopting a holistic approach to skills intelligence, and fostering skills transparency. Regular skills assessments, a centralized skills inventory, and a culture of continuous learning are foundational elements in this strategy.

If you want to learn more about how AI-powered skills intelligence can help you achieve your reskilling goals, book a product demo today. 

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