Source | www-myhrfuture-com.cdn.ampproject.org | Adam McKinnon | Mikaël Wornoo
Lachlan, a people analyst at a global company, sits down with the organisation’s Chief Strategy Officer (CSO). The CSO quickly gets to the point, stating: “Lachlan, I need your help finding a specialist to head up a new business. The opportunity is ripe—so we need to get started as soon as possible. By the end of the week, I need you to have identified a leader with the following skill set: experience in front- and back-end development, working knowledge of Amazon Web Services (AWS), knowledge of the South East Asian IT market, and fluent in Mandarin. We’ve got roughly 60,000 global employees, so surely there must be someone who fits the bill—right?”.
Lachlan pauses for a second before responding: “I honestly don’t know. I can certainly reach out to some contacts and look at the different datasets that we have internally, but I’m not 100% certain that I can find someone with the precise skill set that you’re looking for”.
The CSO frowns and purses her lips. “Okay, well how about externally? Can you find me someone from outside the company?”. Upon hearing this, Lachlan immediately looks relieved, replying: “Definitely—I can give you a detailed shortlist of specialists by close-of-business tomorrow. Would that be okay?”. The CSO smiles and nods, before adding: “How is it though that you can’t find me someone from our global internal population of 60,000, but you can provide me a list of people in 24 hours among a global population of approximately 8 billion people?”
Lachlan pauses, considering the problem at hand. After a few seconds, he responds simply: “Well, it’s all down to the quality of data at my disposal”.
This anecdote illustrates a common problem among companies of all sizes—most organisations are unaware of the skills residing within their employee population. The notion of employee skill data has garnered considerable interest of late, with interested parties ranging all the way from:
Tech-savvy vendors looking to apply rapidly advancing Artificial Intelligence (AI);
People analytics professionals wrestling with a variety of challenges;
CHROs looking to provide a personalised employee experience at scale;
Chief Learning Officers (CLO’s) looking to provide a tailored learning offerings to employees; and
Talent Acquisition heads looking to mobilise a greater number of internal transfers through a Talent Marketplace.
So what unites these disparate parties? Well, it’s ultimately the realisation that old skills management practices—specifically, an inability to catalogue the “gold” within the organisation—is untenable.
This article explores the two fundamental considerations when it comes to skills management. First, how do you acquire your employees’ relevant skill data? Second, what practical value can you then generate from this wealth of information?