How An Effective Talent Assessment Strategy Fuels Skills-based Organisations
A skills-based organisation is loosely defined as one that favours an expansive matrix of skills – collectively used to promote individual or team capability over traditional ‘position based’ roles within the organisation. Simply put, individuals often possess a range of skills and capabilities required for their current role but also capabilities developed elsewhere – other roles, other organisations or in their broader world.
While this assumption holds true for many, in reality, a blended approach of part formal position/part skills-based talent is often considered the most appropriate in fostering and leveraging talent and ‘getting the job done’.
In this article, we explore approaches leveraged by several organisations to design a skills-based organisation without losing the essence of individual role profiles.
1. Start by Defining Organisational, Core and Business Specific Capabilities
While most organisations define leadership capabilities and some explore more commonly assessed business domains (e.g. sales capability), many organisations do not have a comprehensive capability framework in place to support broader business functions and creating frameworks from ground-up can be time consuming and expensive. Consider alternatives from industry associations and ‘peak bodies’ – many who have embraced capabilities as an important contribution to development in their respective fields.
Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand – the peak body for their industry in ANZ has created ‘Capability+’ – a framework that looks at the capabilities required for a broad range of roles in the Accounting, Business Services, Finance, Audit and more. Frameworks from Legal to compliance, project management and more all exist and can be purchased or in some cases, freely accessed – and these valuable resources can fill a significant capability gap for many functions in a fraction of the time normally required.
2. Create A 180-degree Capability Assessment Strategy Measuring Current and Potential Roles
Traditional workforce planning and development initiatives usually assessed individuals against their current role – capturing feedback from their immediate manager and often used at best, to facilitate a development discussion and at worst, used as part of a performance review.
By designing a more fluid ‘skills-based’ assessment strategy, users can assess against their current role but also against desired or future roles. They can also cherry-pick additional capabilities from a matrix when those capabilities are outside of their current domain. Managers gain visibility into current ‘required’ capabilities and those extra capabilities so often lost in an organisation.
Giving users the opportunity to align their developing competencies to learning or coaching interventions available within the organisation, or leveraging external resources to support their development, is a crucial part of supporting the skills-based organisational approach and increases the value of a broader assessment strategy exponentially.
S4K Research – A global leadership and management content curation service, helps users access bite-sized up-to-date content from many of the world’s pre-eminent leadership authorities – all aligned to developing competencies within a user’s capability portfolio.
3. Skills-based Organisations Consider Assessment to be an Ongoing Journey, Not A Single Event
A single assessment is a snapshot of individual capabilities at that point in time but not a reflection of their ability to develop and grow in the capabilities associated with their role or across the broader portfolio of capabilities that make up the skills-based organisation.
Facilitating ongoing ‘pulse’ check-in’s – either as a self-driven exercise or supported by a manager or coach, will help individuals to embed their development and embrace behaviour change by keeping their development competencies more ‘front of mind’. It promotes reflection of capabilities and encourages the user to maintain a developmentally focused mindset by letting them see how their capabilities evolve over time.
Future assessments roll all data together, creating a more holistic view of where I have been and how have I developed. Letting users determine the importance of capabilities to their current or future roles, helps to highlight what is truly valuable for development.
4. Leverage AI to Fuel Greater Insights into Current Roles and Future Opportunities
Skills-based organisations can inadvertently collect so much data to help plot group wide strengths and talent shortages, that it becomes a significant effort to analyse that data and use effectively in individual or group feedback sessions – creating risks with skills development and always playing ‘catch-up’ on feedback sessions.
Leveraging AI can streamline and improve the quality of analysing group data or interpreting individual data for feedback, and across any organisational-wide assessment strategy, managers or coaches responsible for debriefing results and helping to target development opportunities may struggle to find the time to simply understand the ocean of data in front of them.
Halo Feedback’s ‘Virtual Coach’ helps with this task by interpreting the results of feedback – both qualitative and quantitative – delivering accurate, non-bias highlights from assessment results to managers in minutes. Importantly, supporting a skills-based organisation does not buckle under the pressure of important but repetitive tasks such as skills debriefing.
5. Data Is Key – Have the Tools to React to Organisational Development Needs
Whether it be a data analysis solution such as Tableau or Power BI, having access to trends in large volumes of data is crucial to the success of any transition to a skills-based organisation. While this might seem obvious, the reality is for many organisations who embark on this journey, there is often less consideration as to how to deal with data after a large skills-assessment and the analysis of this data has often been one-dimensional – simply understanding overall average results of assessment data and rarely offering enough to fuel ongoing support of this initiative. We recommend tackling this important topic as the first step in a skill-based talent approach and not the last.
Consider the following;
- What data is important and does it exist in different platforms and processes?
- How can different data sources align to create a more comprehensive picture of talent?
- How it can help support ongoing development?
- How easy will it be to update and maintain over time?
- What tools exist to integrate different data sources and deliver insights to the business?
- Does the business have the skills available to manage such tools? (For example – if the chosen tool is excel, does the business have expertise to support excel development and ongoing support?)
From a Skills-based development perspective, we often ask the following questions;
- What is the overall strength and development needs of the business of function in question?
- How important do we consider those skills to be?
- If we need to develop skills that are considered universally important in the business, do we have the right development resources in place to support skills-development?
- If we have the right development opportunities in place, are they being consumed significantly by the people who need them?
- Are we able to identify a rise in proficiency of developing skills as a result of development and other activities?
- Are those skills identifiable and accessible throughout the organisation in support of a skills-based talent strategy?
In summary, the creation and support of a skills-based organisation relies on an effective talent measurement and development strategy, and we believe that while being able to measure skills effectively is a foundation to this success. Being able to manage and utilize the significant sources of data that comes from this strategy is crucial to the ongoing embedment of this process. Leveraging the right tools and considering the ‘end goal’ at the beginning of the process will help to create and more sustainable and effective skills-based process.
*Halo Feedback is an award-winning capability assessment and development solution, helping organisations worldwide to bring their talent assessment strategies to life.
Our platform – known as ‘Halo Enterprise’, allow organisations to create meaningful assessments that deliver engaging interactive user reporting, helping users to understand their development opportunities and measure ongoing behaviour change over time.
Leveraging our powerful AI-driven ‘Virtual Coach’ and Data Insights, understanding and acting upon feedback is more impactful and sustainable for the skills-based organisation.
Halo Feedback – The Platform For Measuring People Development