What is Skills Management Software?

The success of your organization is largely dependent on the skills, abilities, and knowledge of your workforce. As you navigate changes in technology, working environments, and business goals, it’s critical to keep employee skills and competencies top of mind. Top leaders around the globe are leveraging competency and skills management software and verified skills data to drive strategic decisions. In this post, we’ll define skills management and explain the benefits of competency and skills management software. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About Skills Management Software

Skills management is the business process of identifying critical skills, assessing organizational capability, and developing your workforce to meet current and future demands.

At a basic level, skills and competencies are all-encompassing of the knowledge, training, and experiences for an individual to be well-qualified to perform their job in a safe, reliable manner.

A skills management system is a tool that helps organizations identify, assess, track, and develop employee skills. Leaders can use validated skills data to standardize skills, close skill gaps, identify qualified talent, and inform strategic business decisions.

Common features of a skills management system include: 

  1. Skills Matrix
  2. Employee Dashboard
  3. Skills Assessment
  4. Assignment Workbench
  5. Development Plans
  6. Talent Finder
  7. Capability Planning
  8. Mobile Functionality
  9. Integration Capabilities

A skills matrix gives a single view of workforce skills and proficiency levels. It’s an essential tool for leaders in any organization, providing insights into strengths, weaknesses, skills gaps, and development areas, and also helps you quickly search for employees with required skills.

To create a useful skills matrix, you’ll need to establish a skills framework that fully reflects the needs of your business. 

  1. Identify the skills you need to track within your organization for each job role. 
  2. Define each skill and competency with specific criteria. 
  3. Establish a scale for expected proficiency levels. 
  4. Determine assessor processes.


Check out our skills matrix template for insights on how to create, prioritize, organize, and digitize your workforce skills in a skills matrix.

To implement skills management software, prioritize incorporating the process of skills management — Curate, Assign, Assess, and Develop — into each aspect of your business. This process helps your organization take a proactive and flexible approach to any changes in business needs or industry disruptions. Skills management software will digitize this process and ensure sustainability for your program long-term. 

A capability matrix is a workforce management tool that enables managers and other decision-makers to compare how their personnel’s capabilities correlate to operational and business needs.

What is Skills Management?

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, the top skills management platform, defines this process in 4 steps: Curate, Assign, Assess, and Develop.

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.

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,” which Deloitte says 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? 


Reskill, Upskill, and Cross-Skill to Meet Industry Demand

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

With the events of the last couple of years, 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 skill software can face these challenges head-on. Skills management helps you build a sustainable business strategy and prepare an agile workforce for industry changes. 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. Learn more about bridging the gap between HR, L&D, and Operations in this operational skilling webinar by Josh Bersin.

What is Skills Management Software?

Skills management software, also known as competency management software, helps organizations identify, assess, track, and develop employee skills. Businesses often turn to skills software to help automate, organize, and simplify the process of validating skills and understanding workforce capability. Rather than manually logging and interpreting this data from files, folders, and spreadsheets, skill software digitizes workforce data in one centralized system so this data can be used to better inform business decisions.

Features of Skills Management Software

Skills Matrix

A skills matrix provides a single view of workforce skill assessments and gaps. Leaders can visualize strengths and weaknesses across their teams, identify skills gaps and development areas, and quickly search for employees with specific skills.

Employee Dashboard

The employee dashboard delivers a complete overview of employee skills, assignments, job roles, and proficiency levels. This dashboard provides individuals with a better understanding of strengths, weaknesses, and focus areas for development.

Skills Assessments

Organizations have varying methods of assessing employee skills and competencies. For some skills, it may be okay for employees to self-assess. For others, employees may need to go through a more rigorous assessment process with managers or supervisors. The skills assessment form provides flexibility so that you can set up your workflows to match your business needs.

Assignment Workbench

A modern skills management system allows organizations to assign multiple skills and job roles to each employee. From the assignment workbench, managers can display all skills, competencies, qualifications, certifications, and job roles assigned, and manage exemptions or assignments for individuals or groups.

Development Plans

Development is inclusive of understanding skills gaps, identifying opportunities to close skills gaps, and leveraging a variety of tools to reach the desired level of proficiency. Development plans within a skills platform give individuals a better understanding of the journey toward proficiency, whether it be for a specific skill or for a desired future job role. Employees, mentors, and managers can all stay aligned and informed on gap closure throughout the process.

Talent Finder

The talent finder functionality allows users to search for employees matching specific search criteria — job roles, location, skills, certifications, experiences, etc. Find the right person for the right job, and maintain safe, quality operations.

Capability Planning

With capability planning, organizations can track the proficiency records of each user within the system and understand their skills gaps. Keep a pulse on your workforce’s skills shortages and overages. With this data, leaders can create action plans to reskill, upskill, and cross-skill employees to meet current and future demands.

Mobile Functionality

Mobile functionality allows users to navigate through the assessment process with ease, no matter the location. With offline access, all data is stored in the system and uploaded when a Wi-Fi connection is regained.

Why is Skills Management Software Used?

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 competency and skills 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 demands.

Benefits of Using Skill and Competency Tracking Tools

For organizations in highly-regulated industries, skills management keeps your organization running. It ensures the operational skills, or those considered essential to operate the business, are up to date with industry trends and regulatory standards. From operating machinery on an oil rig to caring for a patient at the ICU bedside, operational skills are critical and must be rigorously validated. Most notably, skills management benefits include:

Find the Right Person for the Right Job

Efficiently plan, schedule teams, and assign employees to job sites knowing they’re equipped with the right skills, certifications, and experiences.

Identify Skills Gaps

Know skills gaps at both an individual and workforce level. Plan specific training and development initiatives to upskill, reskill, and cross-skill employees to close their skills gaps. Quickly fill skills gaps in your team line-up if there’s employee attrition or unexpected absences.

Be Competitive in the Market

Align your workforce and their skills ahead of what the market or your customers will demand to maintain a competitive advantage. Keeping abreast of industry changes minimizes future disruptions within your business and ensures you produce quality products and services for your customers no matter what.

Retain Talent and Critical Knowledge

Invest in your employees and their skills with development plans targeted towards their skills gaps or career journeys.  And in the case of unplanned absences or attrition, make quick, strategic changes informed by skills data to fill in the critical knowledge gaps.

Train More Efficiently

Understand where gaps exist in your workforce to develop more targeted onboarding and training programs. In doing so, you’ll reduce your training spend and cost of poor quality, while quickening the time it takes for employees to be productive.

Meet Regulatory Compliance and Improve Workforce Safety

Weave industry-standard safety and compliance into your competency framework so that the compliance process naturally becomes part of your standard operating procedures. Execute cost-efficient and zero-findings audits, reduce the impacts of safety incidents, and mitigate non-compliance risks.

How to Find the Right Skills Software for Your Business

When searching for a skills management platform for your business, there are multiple factors that you should consider.

Platform Capability

Your skills management platform should meet the operational needs of your business. Think about the levels of proficiencies your competencies require, the assessment methods your employees go through to be deemed competent, and if your competencies are tied to one or more job roles.

User Experience

Platform usability is critical to ensure users at all levels can navigate the data they need for their day-to-day jobs. Is there mobile functionality? Can data be accessed when offline in the field, or in the flow of work on location? Does the platform produce skills data that will be valuable to your operations and HR business leaders?

Integration Functionality

Does the platform integrate with your existing tech stack? To bring true value to your business, integration with your core HRIS system is a must so that your company structures and user data can be consistently organized and automated across platforms. Also consider integrations with your LMS, scheduling, dispatch, training, finance, and analytics software.


Is the platform’s data model flexible enough to work with the way your organization structures your competency library, role profiles, or assessment methods?

Customer Support

Can the platform truly support the rigor associated with verifying operationally-focused skills? Can the support team properly onboard your people or implement the system in a way that makes sense for your organization? Do they offer long-term customer support and take time to understand your business needs so you can maximize the use of the platform?

Building a Skilled, Competitive Workforce

Your workforce skills are critical to organizational success. Kahuna’s process of curating, assigning, assessing, and developing your workforce skills, combined with our skills management software, produces trusted skills data to guide your workforce decisions today, and as you plan for 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.

Want to learn more about our platform? Talk with one of our experts.


Develop, Standardize, and Digitize Your Workforce Skills

Our skills matrix guide and template will help you build a skills framework that fully reflects the needs of your business today and in the future. Learn more.