The tech landscape has witnessed a significant surge in the implementation of skills management systems over the last few years.

Initially, the tide started with small ripples or ‘ankle slappers,’ surfers call them. They were noticeable but lacked substantial impact. They were followed by ‘mushies’, when the technologies demonstrated some power but were rather unexciting.

However, we’ve recently seen these initial ripples transform into colossal waves, which surfers enthusiastically refer to as ‘bombs’.

But now, faced with so many great waves to surf, how can you choose the best one for you and avoid a Wipeout?


Why is a skills-focused approach so significant in HR technologies?

Skills refer to expertise developed through consistent training and practice. They are pivotal in HR technologies for numerous reasons. Industry expert pundit Josh Bersin boiled it down to a few key points:

  • Incorporating skills into recruiting (does the applicant possess the necessary skills?), learning (what training is required to foster a certain skill?), and succession planning (how do we support an employee in honing and advancing their skill?) can greatly enhance an HR department’s capacity to support the business.
  • Job roles are swiftly evolving, and conventional job descriptions are losing their relevance, thereby making skills alignment to jobs increasingly crucial.
  • Strategically coordinating workforce needs with the corresponding skills has never been more critical to avoid expensive recruitment errors and prevent the ‘regrettable leaver’ phenomenon.

Skills Management Systems

Incorporating skills into HR technology

Numerous system providers are integrating skills into their platforms. These range from niche vendors such as Degreed, to business service providers like LinkedIn, and large-scale HR vendors, including Workday.

The recent introduction of ServiceNow into the skills marketplace further validates the immense prospects in this sector.

Organisations that use several different systems for managing learning, recruiting, and succession planning may face difficulties harmonising skills taxonomies across different platforms.

For businesses that rely on a singular platform or a limited number of vendors, simplifying the skills-matching process is achievable. However, leveraging the available data and information optimally can be challenging. While advancements like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence will ease this task in future, the challenge persists in the present.

Workday has been paving the path with the Workday Skills Cloud. They’ve been offering an increasingly sophisticated skills ontology and an integrated suite of solutions, such as recruiting, learning, and planning.

Their application of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to enhance functionality shows how a single platform can empower HR functions to use skills in a targeted and sophisticated manner.

So, how should businesses implement skills in their HR technology?

Here’s my perspective.

  • Start small. Choose a specific part of the organisation and a particular HR process, and evaluate your capability to incorporate skills into your HR technology.
  • Employ analytics. Identify what was successful and what needs improvement from the initial phase, and use analytics to devise a roadmap for the rollout.
  • Support the strategy. Ensure your roadmap is in alignment with your business strategy. If the business is expanding into new territories, include skills in the recruitment process for new hires in those regions.
  • Invest for growth. Allocate resources towards scaling the use of skills. Train HR and Operations teams to become proficient in using your skills and technology, and establish integrations across multiple systemds.
  • Learn continuously. Encourage your skills experts to implement their learning and guide the organisation. Understand the capabilities of your systems, especially in relation to Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Keep re-evaluating your use of skills as the market progresses.

The potential benefits of using the powerful solutions available are substantial, so don’t hold back. It’s time to embrace the tide and ride the wave.

If you’d like to discuss skills management systems and how to incorporate skills into your preferred HR technology, please get in touch. 

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David Cruise