Since COVID I’ve seen businesses investing and learning a lot more about their people: some of that was most likely due to the great resignation (I know it sounds like it happened years ago now!) but a lot of that was forced by a big change in the way businesses need to work with their people.

There are many reasons for that: from the ability to hire people remotely to the several changes AI is supposed to bring into our workforces. In the middle, there are the classic challenges of retention and shortages. The result is that more and more companies are using skills as a proxy to understand what their people are capable of doing or could be doing in the future and the first step is having a clear mapping of that.

Skills profiling involves identifying and assessing the skills and competencies of individuals within an organization and today I am going to tell you more about all the ways you can map your organization’s skills.

By doing so, organizations can align their talent development efforts with their business objectives, driving productivity, innovation, and ultimately, success.

Understanding the Importance of Skills Profiling

Skills profiling is essential for effective talent management and development. By understanding the skills of their workforce, organizations can ensure they have the right people in the right roles, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.

Skills profiling also enables organizations to identify skill gaps within their workforce and proactively build new competencies. This allows them to develop targeted training and development programs to bridge those gaps, ensuring continuous improvement and growth. For example, a company may use skills profiling to identify that their sales team lacks expertise in digital marketing.

They can then design a training program to equip their sales team with the necessary skills to effectively leverage digital marketing strategies, with the ultimate goal of having an indirect impact on sales and revenue. The same is true today for several companies that are trying to bring AI into their organization: mapping skills allow them to quickly spot the users that already have specific AI-oriented skills and quickly bring them into a new path to learn more.

Implementing skills profiling strategies also promotes employee engagement and motivation. When employees feel that their skills are recognized and valued, they are more likely to be satisfied and committed to their work. That’s why organizations can use skills profiling to align employees’ skills and interests with their roles and responsibilities, creating a sense of purpose and fulfillment. But let’s take a closer look at which are some necessary steps that companies and businesses have to take to effectively profile their workforce skills.

This is an example of how you can easily import and map everyone’s profile into Anthropos:

Profiling Skills in the Organization: from assessment to gap identification and productivity boost

Profiling the skills of the workforce within a company is something which – as we have seen – can bring various organizational advantages, not least the alignment of the growth objectives and ambitions of the most talented individuals with the strategic objectives of the business, helping to develop a positive circle of reinforcement of collaborator engagement towards the company mission.

From a practical point of view, it is possible to frame effective skills profiling into two macro steps: an assessment of skills at an individual, team or department level, and an identification of the main gaps depending on the role and workforce development strategy.

Let’s see in more detail how to deal with both.

Assessing Skills: the First Passage to Profiling

Conducting skills assessments is a crucial step in skills profiling. Assessments come in several forms, the most common ones are quizzes and surveys. Over the years we have learned how assessments can be really tricky to adopt as the first steps into profiling your workforce through skills. In most cases assessing your people with quizzes or survey will take months and it will encounter lot of friction: people don’t want to be assessed (they fear you are doing that to conduct RIFs – Reduction in forces) and even when they want, assessing their skills across a variety of topics and areas would take months.

So I think it’s still a valuable idea, but assessment can be done in other ways and a proper verification of skills should be done later on with another mechanism.

No matter how you think about skills assessment, I would still follow these best practices, independently of the product/medium you use. 

  • Define clear objectives: Clearly defining the purpose and goals of the skills assessments will help focus the assessment process and ensure that it aligns with the organization’s strategic priorities. Do you want to extract high level data and understand if a potential trend is there or not, or do you want to create an initial baseline of your skills to make other decisions? Define this goal early on and be very specific about it.
  • Familiarize yourself with the different assessment methods: a I said above, there are multiple options here. Quizzes is one, survery is another, then you have automated systems and hands-on scenarios.
  • Involve multiple stakeholders: Engaging both employees and managers in the assessment process is a crucial step to provide a more accurate and well-rounded evaluation of employees’ skills, as different perspectives are taken into account. Every single project that involves assessment should start with a very clear communication to the people that will be assesses. Explain to them why and what you will do with the assessment. It will absolutely change the perception of it.
  • Provide feedback and development opportunities: After conducting skills assessments, it is critical to provide employees with feedback on their performance and what’s next based on that. I say performance here but that might not be what you need in the end, and in that case you should probably share with them the skills you have mapped for them and provide inputs on what’s next.

At Anthropos we decided to start with something simple when it comes down to assessments: letting our customers map all their skills in minutes using our taxonomy – and giving up on long set of questions and answers.

Workforce intelligence generated by Anthropos to map all the company skills and navigate / search them inside the enterprise version

An example of Workforce Intelligence inside Anthropos Enterprise

The way it works is simple: you invite your people into our system and we automatically map all their skills starting from their CVs and LinkedIn profiles (or from the company internal HRIS if that’s available). To do that we rely on our taxonomy of 200,000+ skills and 18,000 job roles and we map them looking at the roles, experience, descriptions and anything else we find in their CVs or LinkedIn profiles.

Once the mapping is done, you can visualize and navigate all your workforce’s skills. Assessing and verifying them is what’s next and that’s a problem that most companies never solve for.

Job Simulations are the technology we use to verify soft and hard skills with real hands-on scenarios. People are asked to complete tasks working with various stakeholders: customers, colleagues and partners. Using Anthropos, your people can automatically verify their skills using job simulations or you can assign them to specific ones.

The whole process, leading to an initial visualization of skills and roles within the organization, can be accomplished within a few hours and help your company save a ton of time in assessing skills, even if you have just some hundreds of employees making up your workforce.

Once your skills have been mapped (or assessed), you have a lot of data you can use both in your talent development process and in your day to day work.

A lot of companies don’t realize that mapping their skills is a great way to rethink who is doing what, discover you can actually run new projects due to skills you already have, or simply reorganize your people to be more productive. I am a big proponent of implementing skills in the entire company and invite management into the system because it gives them ideas on how to improve their projects and business: simply looking at who can do what, managers find new ideas and solve problems that they thought they could solve only with the famous perfect people for the job.

Identifying Skill Gaps: A Further Step in Developing Talent

The second macro step to frame a skills profiling strategy passes through an effective identification of the skills gaps for the target roles within the organization itself.

Identifying skill gaps involves comparing employees’ current skills with the skills required for their current or future roles, and it can help executives and heads of department better understand the areas where employees may need additional training or development.

To identify skill gaps effectively companies usually should:

  • Clearly define role-specific skills: Clearly outline the skills required for each role within the organization. This will serve as a benchmark for assessing employees’ skills. This is something commonly referred as skills matrix: you can build one yourself if it’s a small team or adopt a solution to do so.
  • Conduct gap analysis: Compare employees’ skills against the required skills for their roles. This will highlight any gaps or deficiencies that need to be addressed. This is something that can be done automatically and most times you can expose that directly to the final employee. Anthropos does this automatically, for example.
  • Create proper career paths for your people: a clear paths give your people an idea of what they need to learn and where they need to get to keep growing in your organization. It’s the best way to let them realise what kind of gap they need to fill. I know you might think this is similar to defining role specific skills and you are right. That’ why career paths need to be openly accessible by your people and should present pre-organized content to gain the skills for each path. That’s the best way to let people “explore” what they could do inside your organization.
  • Ask your people what they want to do next: this is critical information that most platforms don’t even consider. Sometimes your people have gaps simply because they are not really interested in the role or task they are doing. Is there a mismatch between how they perceive themselves and what the company thinks? Yes in several cases. Knowing what someone would like to do next is really helpful to understand the gaps he has and how to fill them.

Why skills profiling can help your leaders do more with less

The simple answer is: because they will view their people under a different light.

In several teams you never fully realize what your people can do because you have always took that for granted.

The moment leaders start looking at their people skills with something like our Workforce Intelligence, they immediately get more ideas on who could do more in their organization. There are usually a bunch of skills they did not know were in their team and that opens up new opportunities.

With one example: if you suddenly discover that your team knows how to use a specific tool, you can ask some people to work on small projects that require that knowledge, without outsourcing it to an external consultant. The same happens in a lot of other scenarios.

Challenges with implementing skills profiling

There could be a few challenges while you try to implement a skills profiling solution. The ones I will list here might need to be slightly modified depending on your company size and culture.

  • Too much work to implement skills profiling solutions: it’s true in most cases, the secret here is to find a solution that can give you results in a few weeks instead of months.
  • HR wants to control the solution: a classic one. In my experience you need to bring your HR into your problems as leader of another department and build a partnership with them.
  • No access for managers and executives across the company: a critical mistake, you get real value from mapping everyone’s skills ONLY if you then give visibility to your entire leadership and management team. They need that information to uncover new areas of growth and opportunities.
  • No skills taxonomy or not a solid one: if your company doesn’t have an initial taxonomy it can cause more friction than usual. Solutions like Anthropos have a proprietary taxonomy you can personalize that allow you to start mapping skills immediately.

What’s next for your skills profiling project

I hope this introduction helped you get a sense of how skills profiling can help you identify new opportunities and growth for your company.

At Anthropos we would like to show you a demo of our solution. There are several solutions in the market, Anthropos differentiates itself with a large taxonomy to map your skills in hours and the ability to adopt our solution to then use skills to manage your entire workforce development.

Stefano

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