Skills Management: Everything you need to know

5 min read

Skills management is possibly the single most important resource management strategy that can help your organization become future ready and maintain a competitive edge. In a nutshell, it involves mapping out the strengths, experience, and expertise of your workforce, assessing what skills best meet your organization’s needs, and identifying any gaps between the two.

Skills management can be strategic, tactical or operational in nature, reflecting actions taken at individual, team or organization level respectively. Strategic skills management hones in on the skillsets required for an organization to fulfill their vision and assesses their logistical capacity for growth, tactical skills management connects the right people with the right qualifications to the right projects and operational skills management seeks to train individuals in industry critical skills.

Once skills gaps have been identified, organizations can take action to plug them. They can brainstorm effective solutions, implement a growth plan, and monitor their progress. Solutions can take the form of releasing some budget to hire fresh talent, creating new teams with complimentary skillsets for upcoming projects, or organizing training sessions to upskill or reskill their workforce.  

Why is Skills Management Important?

Skills management has proven crucial for any organization to successfully implement their strategy and move towards their overall vision. Not only that, effective skills management aids greater organization of people, projects, and productivity for businesses. Furthermore, in the steady march towards total digital transformation, acute awareness of their organization’s capabilities allows leadership to make agile decisions around emerging tech trends and skillsets. It’s no exaggeration to say that practical application of skills management can futureproof an organization.

How to Introduce & Implement Skills Management Best Practices

Implementation of skills management best practices requires an organization wide mindset shift away from traditional styles of people management. Through the skills management lens, employees and their respective skillsets are viewed as resources which can be allocated, combined, and moved around in different ways to meet the evolving needs of the business. Much like a game of chess, organizations can make studied decisions about the placement of their people, weighing up where they would benefit the most.

As with any big move, thorough planning and small initial steps are recommended. Instead of organizing a company-wide total skills overhaul, changes could be made in the most pressing areas or departments first before considering wider implementation. Alternatively, organizations could opt for general skills education like problem solving or leadership before diving into specific role-based training

Another pillar of best practice is employee cooperation. The workforce can provide crucial information as to what skills they consider essential to maximizing their productivity. Leadership teams should work together with departments during this period to ensure that employees see skills management and its accompanying upskilling and reskilling opportunities to grow professionally and advance in their career.  

Software should form the cornerstone of any move towards a skills-focused business strategy. Skills management specific software will bring employees, skillsets, assessment, and tracking progress all under one roof. This also helps accelerate data analysis and decision making.

Laying the groundwork for a successful shift to a skill focused approach can be broken down into four steps:

  1. Create a skills matrix or framework, where the desired skillsets are identified, and competency milestones are described in depth.
  2. Evaluate the workforce’s expertise through comprehensive skills assessments.
  3. Compile an extensive breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of the organization by cross-referencing the resources (current employee skillsets) with the business’ needs (skills).
  4. Taking specific action to meet the skills gaps that have been identified and continuously updating the matrices to ensure they are accurate.

Once this foundation is cemented, organizations access unprecedented levels of operational agility to meet their business goals.

Benefits & Challenges of Skills Management

There are numerous advantages to skills management. When implemented effectively, businesses can:

  • Quickly diagnose skills gaps in their workforce
  • Provide targeted training based on their findings
  • Create growth plans acquirement mapping and monitor progress 
  • Plan for attrition, changing trends, and the evolving needs of the organization
  • Rapidly allocate resources (employees) to meet demands (projects)
  • Adopt a skills first approach for their business model
  • Compile data for leadership
  • Streamline auditing processes

Challenges arise when employees fear that changes to the business model will spell the end of their journey in the organization. This can result in resistance to complete assessments, disclosing their skills history, or taking part in training opportunities. Transparent communication from leadership on the future of the organization will do wonders to assuage concerns about downsizing or involuntary redundancies.

Skills Management Software

Creating and implementing an effective skills management framework is a huge undertaking and making the wrong choices could have an organization drowning in logistical chaos. Talent management software like Talentwize can equip you with the tools to thrive during the transition.  

Their core principles of knowgrow, and retain your talent empower organizations to unlock even more from their workforce by diagnosing skills gaps, overseeing training opportunities, and tracking progress.  

If you want to know more about what Talentwize can do for you and your organization, feel free to reach out and schedule a demo.  

Or if you’d like to read more about global digital skilling, click here.