What Is Skills Management?

Employee skills and competencies are top of mind for every CEO, organizational leader, analyst, and thought leader. The landscape of work is changing for many industries because of fast-paced technological advancements, evolving work environments, and shifting business goals. Top leaders are leveraging skills and competency management software and verified skills data to drive strategic decisions.

In this post, we’ll define skills management and explain the benefits of skills and competency management software. Paired with a thoughtful business strategy, skills management connects HR and Operations to create a more skilled, competitive workforce.

What is Skills Management & Why Does It Matter?

Skills management is the business process of identifying critical skills, assessing organizational capability, and developing your workforce. Modifications to business strategies and operating conditions make skills management a continuous cycle. At a high level, Kahuna defines this process in 4 steps:

Curate: Curate your skills and competency framework + content to reflect how operational roles are performed.

Assign: Assign your content through unlimited job roles, rather than fixed-job codes.

Assess: Use rich, multi-modal assessment methods to create validated user proficiency. Examples of assessment methods include on-the-job observations, quizzes, training, experience, and certifications. 

Develop: Apply employee skills assessment data to personalized development plans. Embed learning opportunities into each competency. Enable employees to close skills gaps right in the flow of work. This motivates employees and reduces time to revenue and productivity.

A note: We know there is a semantic debate on skills management, competency management, reskilling, and upskilling. At Kahuna, we believe if we spend our energy focusing on what the process is named, we lose sight of the tremendous results it produces. For more on this, listen to our Digital Transformation webinar on-demand.

Why is Skills Management Important?

Skills management is important to ensure your workforce skills align with your business strategy. It also helps you execute organizational goals, grow to meet future demands, and thrive in the “future of work.” This concept, which essentially means change, is being shaped by three driving forces:

Work: Can you automate or use smart machines to perform work? 

Workforce: Who can do the work and manage the continuum of talent options? 

Workplace: Where is work completed? How are workplaces shifting to accommodate new technologies?

Industry Change Drives Workforce Skills Demand

There’s no doubt these changes introduce complexities to skills in different work environments. In operations-focused industries, such as healthcare, energy, manufacturing, or field services, these skills changes drive up demand for reskilling and upskilling. Forrester reported that CEO concern for upskilling has grown tremendously, increasing from 53% in 2012 to 79% in 2019. 

With the events of the last 18 months, we predict this concern to continue rising. A McKinsey report states that nearly nine out of ten executives face current skills gaps, or expect them in the next five years. Additionally, 69% of organizations are doing more skill-building now than they did before COVID-19.

Organizations executing skills management with the right software can face these challenges head-on. Skills and competency management gives a sustainable strategy, promoting agility in the face of new threats. It moves skills from being an HR function to an organizational business function. It cultivates a conglomerate culture of learning, development, safety, quality, and execution. This is where the enduring effects of skills management occur and how organizational transformation begins at every level. For more information on bridging the gap in HR and Operations, check out this report by Josh Bersin.

Why Do I Need Skills Management?

The future of work is changing, and the changes are happening fast. When they impact your organization, how will you respond? Will your workforce be able to adopt new technologies, learn new systems, deploy to new locations, or transition to new roles?  

Equipping your company with skills management is the proactive approach in facing the future of work. It enables quick and confident responses to change. It informs upskilling, reskilling, hiring, and managing your people in line with business needs.

A skills strategy implemented with skills and competency management software enables employees, managers, and executives to view skills data from disparate systems (i.e., HRIS, LMS, Training, Scheduling, etc.) in one place. Validated data leads to informed business decisions about talent and business capability. It does this all while meeting and exceeding business goals no matter the industry circumstance.

Following Kahuna’s skills management process, you’ll use trusted skills data to inform Talent Identification – finding the right person for the right job at the right time – and Capability Planning – aligning your workforce to meet future skills demand.

Building a Skilled, Competitive Workforce

In conclusion, your workforce skills are critical to organizational success. Kahuna’s process of curate, assign, assess, and develop, combined with our skills management software, produces trusted workforce data to guide your workforce decisions today and in the future. 

Building a sound foundation for skills management ensures you have the right person in the right job and are capable of meeting current and future industry demands. Both of these are key to executing your business strategy and being successful as an organization. Ready to build a more skilled workforce? Set up some time to talk with one of our experts and we’ll guide you through the process! 

Kahuna - Josh Bersin - Skills Management

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