Adopting a skills-based talent management strategy is essential for sustained business growth; however, the process of measuring your employees’ skills in the first place isn’t always straightforward. We recently shared how to effectively assign skills to your employees, but there are several phases to this that we want to go over further.
Initial Measurement — The Storming Phase
The first phase of measuring your employees’ skills is critical for establishing a baseline for your organization. It’s often the most revealing stage of the process, with reams of new data emerging. It’s also at this point when many organizations find areas of skill strength or weakness, skill gaps, pockets of desire, or lack thereof. This information is, in many cases, compelling enough to motivate organizational change.
Most organizations are new to skills-based management using a measurement approach, though, and it’s easy to miss things or get priorities wrong — initial measurement exercises aren’t typically optimized.
When your initial assessments are complete, you can begin analyzing skill gaps, strengths, and desires. Having the ability to report on this through a skills matrix can often be the most eye-opening part of the journey.
The goal should be to start small (through a few teams or a selected department), start fast (in a matter of days or weeks), and get initial data sooner. Tackling the problem in a more agile way means that you can utilize the data to build trust in the process at both an employee and executive level.
Subsequent Measurement — The Norming Phase
The results of the initial phase tend to prove the value of skills management activity but also show the myriad of larger-scale opportunities available with a more sophisticated approach.
There’s typically a lot of information to go through at this point in the measurement process. You may have also identified obvious opportunities and begun to take basic but impactful actions at an individual level. There are further steps you can take, though, to make the most of the opportunities you’ve discovered.
During this subsequent measurement phase, look to refine, expand or consolidate your list of skills, better structure people and hierarchies, introduce additional measures, and better align expectations within the organization.
Use the experience and learnings gained in the initial measurement phase to discover deep insights into your workforce. This will help you embed suitable actions into everyday business processes and make meaningful business decisions beyond the individual level. Transform the way the organization works and create positive impacts at a workforce scale, like a collective uplift in skills, better allocation of resources, and optimized training programs.
Ongoing Measurement — The Performing Phase
Historically, the act of assessing skills or competencies was linked directly to performance reviews or half-yearly checkups. However, as your teams and organization become more confident in the process, you can begin to unlock more opportunities.
Eventually, it will be easy to embed skill measurement exercises into the flow of work rather than seeing them as individual activities. Changes and improvements can be collected, reviewed, and implemented in an ongoing improvement cycle.
This phase of the measurement process is where you can begin to rely on skill measurement data to function at a high level of performance on a daily basis. However, for this process to be sustainable and scalable, it’s important to use more sophisticated tools than an Excel spreadsheet. (As nicely formatted as yours may be).
A great example of being in the high-performing phase is linking the assessment approach with training, reskilling, and upskilling initiatives. As your people complete training, you can begin to perform micro assessments throughout the year to demonstrate an individual’s ability to apply the skill in their day-to-day activities. From a manager’s or the L&D / HR department’s perspective, this creates significant opportunities to demonstrate a return on investment (ROI) on training initiatives.