What is a skill after all?

What is a skill after all?

For most of its history, major league baseball has been male dominated. That includes not just the players, but the talent-acquisition and talent-development teams: scouts, pitching instructors, hitting instructors, and managers.

One reason for that is the outdated assumption that you must have played major league baseball in order to be a great batting instructor, baseball manager, or scout. That had produced essentially an all-male pool of prospects.

But, that incorrect assumption is changing. Women are managing and coaching baseball, and it’s just the beginning.  

Understanding Competencies

If you break down what it takes to manage, grow, and find baseball talent, it’s not just about being an ex-major-leaguer. Depending on the exact role, it can involve kinesiology and data analytics, for example.  

The point is, when it comes to job competencies, SkyHive breaks down a competency into its most quantum parts, its smallest parts. We can deconstruct a job and see what skills, experience, and knowledge might make someone succeed in that job. In the past, in baseball, teams mostly just looked at experience.  

Some Definitions

What even are skills? What are competencies?  

Let’s understand all this better by looking at some definitions.  

A skill is the ability to perform a task or do something well.  

Knowledge is a little different. It's the understanding of specific concepts, independent from the ability to perform.

A medical-journal editor, for example, might be super knowledgeable about medicine and health. But they might not need to be a surgeon, let alone a skilled surgeon. In fact, a surgeon may not necessarily be a good medical-journal editor.

Acquiring knowledge and skill over time: that’s experience.

Competencies are often confused with skills (like in our baseball history example). Competencies are really about applying knowledge, experience, and skills in a specific context. So, for example, customer engagement in a retail department or organization might involve online-sales skills today, but in that department or organization 10 years ago, in-person skills may have been far more important to that customer-engagement competency.  

Likewise, in service-based fields, in-person communication skills are just as important to that customer engagement competency today. Which department, which organization, which time period ... the context plays an important role in determining how certain skills and knowledge are applied.  

A View of Them All

Here’s why all this matters: to SkyHive, all of these concepts are important, and they’re all taken into account when we provide you skills intelligence.  

SkyHive processes an incredible 24-plus terabytes of raw data every day, analyzing in real time how skills and skills needs are changing. We’re able to break down skills to their tiniest, most “quantum” part.  

Combinations or compounds of those atomic or quantum parts are the context of work.  

We’re able to sense if a job requires certain skills, certain experience, knowledge, and so on.  

This data and our AI technology means that we can provide companies skills intelligence to find employees, promote employees, provide learning, mentorship, and project opportunities to employees, and more, based on more than just “have they done the job before?”  

Our technology wouldn’t limit your search for a baseball scout to former major league baseball players. Our technology focuses on identifying the skills, knowledge, and experience associated with baseball scouting.

Similarly, at a conference we met a police officer who was an ex-journalist. Given his transferable skills, the career-change made sense; he was skilled at listening, asking questions, digging for information, finding anomalies, complex online research, and so on. We have seen former teachers reskilled as paralegals; this also makes sense, as the teachers’ experience planning lessons, grading, researching school subjects, organizing, writing, and exhibiting high reading comprehension all are transferable.  

We’re also able to see what skills are becoming more and less valuable, as well as how roles are changing in terms of the skills and competencies needed to excel in them. That skills intelligence is possible because we’re constantly analyzing massive amounts of workforce-related data in real time.

What’s most important: skills have no color, gender, or pedigree. Looking at an individual in terms of their skills as well as their potential to learn and add skills means truly giving everyone an equal opportunity in your agile workforce.

Let us know if you’d like to talk more about skills, knowledge, experience, and competencies.

Photo by Brandon Mowinkel on Unsplash    

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