Skills Base receives Rising Star and User Experience awards

Skills Base has been awarded the 2017 Rising Star award as well as the 2017 Award for Great User Experience in the talent management software category by FinancesOnline, one of the fastest growing review platforms for SaaS products with over 1 million monthly readers.

Skills Base was selected for its very user friendly interface and 98% user satisfaction rating. We’re very pleased to be recognized with these awards as we strive to make Skills Base the best Talent Management software in the world.

Read the full review here.

New: Update skill ratings without having to start a new assessment

We’re pleased to announce the immediate availability of a new feature that has been requested by customers to streamline the maintenance of data in Skills Base.

In the past, updating skill ratings required a new assessment to be started and completed.  While running through a complete assessment periodically is highly recommended as a way of maintaining accuracy of data, it is not so necessary when an assessment has recently been taken and then a need arises to update one skill in a person’s skill set.

To address this need, we have release new functionality that allows Administrators the ability to grant people permission to edit assessment responses outside of an assessment.   This is achieved via the “Detail” tab on a person’s summary page:

This can be useful in cases where an individual has recently completed a self-assessment but their skill profile changes due to completing a training course for example.  The individual can update their data without having to sit through an entire assessment.  Note that it is still highly recommended for individuals to complete an entire assessment periodically to ensure accuracy of data.

A person can be granted permission to update their own self-assessed skill ratings, and/or to update supervisor ratings.

In all instances by default, the ability to edit skill ratings outside of an assessment is disabled for everyone except Administrators.  Administrators can grant this privilege to other people via Security Groups:

Administrators  are always granted permission to edit supervisor assessment ratings due to the facts that Administrators:

  1. Can conduct supervisor assessments
  2. Are granted all system privileges

We hope this new feature proves helpful and as always if you have any questions or feedback, do let us know!

Capterra names Skills Base in Top 20 report

Capterra, a Gartner company that helps businesses select software solutions, has ranked Skills Base in their Top 20 Most Popular Talent Management Software report.

Over the years Skills Base has helped some of the world’s largest companies easily and efficiently solve the challenges of skills management via our simple tool and proven methodology, bringing true value to their businesses through effective talent management.

The Capterra report highlights the growth in the Talent Management space and the importance that companies are increasingly placing on it as a critical business activity.  We’re very glad to be recognized in the Top 20.

View the full report here:

The new Trends tab

Maintaining an up-to-date inventory of the skills within an organization can greatly assist with operational needs such as finding the right person for a project or client, or analyzing the training needs of the organization.  However, skills management can offer immense benefits in driving value to broader organizational activities.  To help you with this, we are glad to announce the immediate availability of a new feature in Skills Base that allows you to extract even more value out of your existing information in Skills Base.

The new Trends tab on the Person Summary page graphs a person’s development in each skill over the course of their assessment history:

This helps facilitate the better monitoring of areas of improvement, decline or stagnation which in turn helps better inform according decisions and actions, for example in conducting Training Needs Analysis.

Enabling the Trends tab

For existing customers, the Trends tab is disabled for all Security Groups except Administrator.  If Administrators wish to enable the Tab for others within the organization, there are two grantable privileges when editing a Security Group:

  • To allow people to view their own Trends tab, enable Self > View > Trends
  • To allow people to view the Trends tab of others, enable People > View > Trends

We hope this new feature helps provide another way for your organization to maximize the data collected in Skills Base to add further value to your organization.


Enhancements to Qualifications module

We’re pleased to announce the availability of the first of a series of enhancements to the Qualifications module, designed to help you better record and track qualifications, certifications and training in Skills Base.

Qualifications tab

We’ve introduced a new tab on the Person summary page which enhances the presentation of a person’s qualifications and makes it consistent with other records in Skills Base by providing an table view that includes familiar search and sort abilities.

To see the Qualifications tab your Security Group must be granted the [Self > View > Qualifications] privilege (for you) or the [People > View > Qualifications] privilege (for others).  Granting Security Group privileges can only be performed by an administrator.


Qualifications dashboard

Each Qualification in Skills Base now has its own dashboard containing common statistics about the people that hold it, further bringing the presentation of qualifications in line with other records in Skills Base.

To view the Qualifications dashboard you must have the [Qualifications > View] privilege granted for your Security Group (this must be performed by an administrator).


We hope these simple enhancements help you to better record and track qualifications, certifications and training in Skills Base.  We’ll post about additional enhancements as they become available.

Case study: How Red Hat used Skills Base to improve staff and customer satisfaction

Download the full case study (PDF)

Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of open source solutions to Fortune 500 companies.  With a global reach consisting of more than 7,900 employees across 80 offices in 35 countries, their goal is to help solve some of the most complex business and IT challenges today, with a focus on fostering a rich eco-system of collaboration and diversity.

Red Hat lacked a competency framework for managers to measure and understand the skills within their diverse teams, and a permanent solution to effectively capture skills management data. With no sign of global operations and human resources growth slowing down, Red Hat needed a streamlined system to assess the skills level of their ever-expanding roster of consultants and technical staff, across all locations.

Download the full case study to continue reading.


Competency Targets are here

We’re pleased to announce the immediate availability of a new feature to further help your organization maximise the benefits of skills management.

The Competency Targets feature provides organizations the ability to set expected skills and associated skill levels for a Team or Role within Skills Base, and to track a Team, Role or Person’s progress towards achieving full competency.

We’ve designed Competency Targets to be very easy to use.  Whether your organization is just starting out with Skills Base, or you have been using Skills Base for several years, you can take advantage of Competency Targets in just two easy steps, with the Skills Base software taking care of the rest.

Read more about Competency Targets in the Skills Base Support Center.

Once you’ve enabled this new feature, some additional metrics will appear on People, Role and Team dashboards, making tracking competencies in your organisation a breeze.

We hope you find this new feature of benefit to your organization, and as always we look forward to your feedback.

5 reasons why your organization’s last attempt at implementing skills management failed

Skills Management – For some organizations it’s the secret element that gives an edge over the competition through a  strategically aligned workforce.  For others, it’s the everyday practice that has transformed the organization’s culture, productivity, and satisfaction ratings.

Whatever the reason, your organization recognized the need for establishing a Skills Management practice, and you took the plunge, possibly investing significant resources, money and time.  But things didn’t work out as expected, and today the work yields little to no ongoing benefit.  Enthusiasm and pace has slowed to a grind, if the program hasn’t already been entirely shelved.

Following are some common reasons why attempts to establish a skills management practice may fail and what you can do to avoid it.

1. Inaccurate measurement methods

Key to the success of skills management is the method an organization uses to measure skill levels.  Without accurate data, the function loses value and/or can be counter-productive to the interests of the organization.  Worse, the skills management practice can quickly lose credibility within the organization when collected data is perceived to be misaligned with individuals’ first-hand experience.

An entirely subjective method relies on individuals providing their own perceived view of skill levels which may be influenced by a number of factors including unconscious bias, current mood and feelings, and differing levels of expectation. Purely subjective methods produce fragmented results that are inconsistent from person to person, and can produce patterns of inconsistency across distinct organizational entities.

At the other extreme, an entirely objective method relies on formal assessment of skill and is difficult to implement and maintain, and generally involves a large amount of effort and expense to execute.  Objective methods are good at levelling the playfield throughout the organization by removing inconsistencies and bias, however the tradeoff is a significant increase in the risk of failure of the skills management practice as a whole due to the investment of human and financial resources required to maintain the practice ongoing.

Ultimately, the best method for measuring ability should achieve a balance by taking advantage of the speed and simplicity that a subjective approach offers, whilst introducing objectivity to the process.  The Skills Base Structured-Subjective approach to measuring ability offers a balance between objective and subjective measures by using the subjective measure as a base and introducing a number of controls to improve the accuracy and level the playing field.

2. Poorly considered or managed organizational change

Skills Management is a whole-of-organization activity which relies on the direct input and buy-in of each employee who very much become key and ongoing stakeholders in the process.  In failing to recognize this fundamental notion, failing to achieve buy-in, and/or failure to properly execute an according organizational change management program, the implementation of skills management is likely to fail.

The key initial step to achieving buy-in is to communicate the objectives and benefits of the program.  The organization needs active cooperation from employees to achieve its objective of implementing skills management and so it is incumbent on the organization to achieve the buy-in through a clear and concise communication strategy that addresses the key expected outcomes of the program, how these will benefit the organization and its employees, what is required from individuals, and how that contribution will in turn contribute to achieving the objectives of the organization.

Essential to any communication strategy is a feedback loop that allows employees the ability to raise questions or concerns that can be handled by the appropriate people and communicated to the wider organization if needed.  This feedback loop reduces the risk of discontent and/or revolt upon the launch of the skills management program, ensuring a smoother rollout.

3. Implementation of an overly onerous or manual process

Today, user experience is fundamental to the success of any process that involves human interaction.  In neglecting user experience through creating a difficult, cumbersome, onerous, or otherwise unpleasant process, the implementation of such a process is destined to fail.

Typically when organizations embark on their first attempt at implementing skills management, the first go-to solution is a spreadsheet.  It’s easy to forget that spreadsheets are a 30+ year old tool originally designed to facilitate the calculation of numbers in an accounting context.  They were based on the principle of a single-user working exclusively on a flat file that is stored locally on their computer.  Spreadsheets have evolved over time to introduce multi-user editing and client-server models, however these features are retro-fits to a tool that maintains its heritage and fundamental principles through to the current day.  The net result is that organizations quickly discover that spreadsheets are inadequate for the purposes of skills management.

Whether it’s spreadsheets or some other technology or non-tech solution, the introduction of effort above and beyond the minimum perceived requirement for the task is a recipe for disengagement and dissolution.  In order to be successful, a skills management tool must make the task of conducting the process fast, easy and rewarding for all stakeholders.  Additionally, it’s essential that there be little to no training required for the majority of stakeholders (ie: the “general” case) in order to reduce or remove the barrier to entry for busy people.  After all, skills management is not everyone’s primary role.

4. Failure to maintain a controlled list of skills

Fundamentally, the practice of skills management is concerned with tracking individual skills.  These skills can range in breadth and specificity, and can cover multiple classes (eg: business, personal, interpersonal), business functions (eg: HR, IT, Finance), and technical domains.  Quickly, the list of skills being tracked can grow significantly, and when that growth is uncontrolled it can introduce chaos into the practice, disengaging stakeholders.

A skills management practice may set out to achieve many goals, however ultimately the highest priority must be to return relevant benefits to the organization.  As such, it’s essential the organization set the parameters and retain control over the structure of data so as to achieve its reporting needs.  Essential in achieving this is maintaining control of the list of skills that will be tracked and measured by employees.  This list should be maintained and curated by a limited number of individuals closely involved with the skills management practice.  Their goal is to ensure that the data collected is aligned with business requirements, always adapting to changing needs and conditions, and always adding value.

This is not to say that any list of skills is definitive.  Skills evolve and change over time, and employees are usually the best at identifying this.  An internal feedback loop should be set up that allows employees the ability to identify new or missing skills, and to generally participate in and contribute to the skills curation process.  Importantly, it is the curators that make the decisions to change the skills list in accordance with an assessment against organizational objectives.  Will the change have a positive impact on achieving the needs of the organization?  If not, then there may be no point in tracking the skill, regardless of its perceived validity.

5. A self-imposed limitation of benefits

Skills management information can aid and assist every employee in their work. Whether it’s assisting a project manager in identifying resources for a given project, assisting a manager to identify skill gaps and create an according training program, or assisting an entry-level employee to find help from an experienced practitioner.  Skills management has the potential to enhance everyone’s work.

However, commonly organizations restrict that flow of benefits by restricting access to the tools and data used for skills management, or by failing to providing adequate methods of access.  Naturally some level of restriction may be desired, however an over-restrictive approach, or worse, a blanket-ban on access to data, can contribute significantly to the demise of a skills management program.

One of the main reasons for this is that restriction has the effect of disengaging employees.  They can’t see the benefit, or directly derive a benefit for themselves and as such lose faith in what may in fact be a valuable program for the organization.  Employee disengagement is a sure-fire way to cement the failure of any skills management practice as its success is fundamentally dependent on the input of employees.

Providing employees with good access to information, as well as the tools to make proper use of it, enhances their work and increases engagement with the organization’s skills management objectives.  Even if the skills management practice has flaws, engaged employees will actively work with the program, suggest improvements, and persevere with something that they believe in and feel a part of.

Free whitepaper: The Skills Base Competency Framework

The Skills Base Competency Framework is designed for organizations large and small and provides a best practice methodology for measuring and understanding the skills within a workforce, facilitating an effective skills management practice, and ultimately returning benefits to an organization through improved visibility, knowledge and understanding of its ability to deliver successful business outcomes.

Best of all, it’s free.  Download it today and further maximize your organization’s greatest asset.

Enhancements to Skill Category charts

We’ve enhanced the Skill Category charts on Skills Base dashboard to provide you with additional valuable insights into the capabilities of your teams, roles, locations and people.

The enhancements combine elements of the Capability Matrix to show skill level along with the spread of skill levels (capability) within a given skill category:

top-skill-categoriesThe chart coloring has been upgraded to match the Heat Matrix report color scheme to allow you to quickly identify the skill level spread for each skill category, which is particularly useful for highlighting areas of concentrated high or low skill level.

The chart is also now sorted like the other dashboard lists, in descending order of skill level, to allow easy identification of the top skill categories for a given entity.

In parallel with these enhancements we have also added skill category grouping to the Capability Matrix report, to enable reporting at the category level, for times when reporting at the skill level is too detailed:

matrixWe hope these enhancements help you derive even more value from your skills management practice.  As always, if you have any feedback please feel free to contact us at any time.