Skills Assessment: Talent Management’s Secret Weapon

Written by Yvette Kennedy, VP Consulting, Explorance.

Are you tapping into the hidden skills in your talent organization?

The workforce of the future is upon us, and how work gets done is changing. From the freelance economy to business transformations, how we identify future skills is not only shifting but shifting rapidly. The challenges many organizations now face include keeping the skills sets in their talent pools current and being ready to deploy new skills. Also, learning and development functions must keep pace with new learning content, certifications, and skill assessments. The result is a critical challenge for people and talent leaders to ensure the organization is deploying and consistently evaluating the right strategies for skills development.

Does your organization routinely inventory and assess skills, both current and future state?

In our work with clients, this continues to be a key challenge and is usually discovered during a business transformation initiative. When organizations need to rapidly upskill or deploy new technologies to keep pace with the market, they are faced with the challenge of how to re-organize talent to align with their new strategy. In some cases, the initial response is to turn up the recruiting engine and search externally. While this may be an option for highly unique skills or experiences, the reality is that your organization may have hidden talents that can be redeployed. Many employees are already taking advantage of development opportunities such as microlearning on their own. While this may not always be organization-sponsored, curious, and growth mindset, employees will seek out learning opportunities. These employees are valuable and potentially possess untapped skills that you need to inventory. Engaging employees in the skills assessment process also reinforces their ownership of their learning and development journey.

How do you start assessing skills?

To ensure your talent is staying relevant, organizations need to track industry-specific skills and understand where the current and future skills lie in the organization. Start with understanding the existing talent pool. Identify skills that are important today and tomorrow and begin evaluating those skills with assessments. Skills assessments that include both self-evaluation and supervisor input provide validity over time. This can be done with multi-rater analytics and flexible feedback tools that include robust reporting for the most impactful analytics. Integration with your HRIS or LMS provides opportunities to deploy skills assessments quickly and automatically, eliminating time-consuming manual processes. Tracking skills and understanding your talent pool is a critical input when leadership is looking at mobility and succession. By deploying skills assessments and analyzing skill gaps, learning and people leaders can provide a strategic lens on where talent exists in the organization, where development efforts should focus, and gaps that need external sourcing.

To learn more, join my colleague Jennifer Balcom and me in an ATD sponsored webinar on March 31, 2020, @ 2 PM EST, “Unlocking the Hidden Talent and Skills in Your Workforce.” In this session, we will show you how to build critical skill assessments and uncover the hidden skills your organization could be leveraging right now.


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