Implementing Skills-Based Talent Management

When skills are used as a common currency among HR programs, they become the framework for work management. You can home in on getting the skills you need, either through acquisition or organizational development. At the same time, your people can concentrate on skill development, as well as career alignment. With that said, here’s what you should know about implementing skills-based talent management.

What is Meant by Skills-Based Talent Management?

This kind of management focuses on identifying and developing skills within an organization’s workforce. Unlike the time-honored talent management approach, first popularized a couple of decades ago, skills-based management is not based on an individual’s title or position. Instead, it zeroes in on what individuals can do and how their skills can help the organization. 

Why is Skills-Based Management Better?

This strategy permits organizations to make smarter hiring decisions and gives employees opportunities to truly excel. It also promotes development of training plans so that individuals can learn new skills or become better at existing ones.

The skills-based approach also lends itself to agility. For instance, a job description for a marketing professional position may require “knowledge of marketing principles.” By contrast, with a skills-based management strategy, candidates may be required to name specific software they can use. This approach helps employers become more agile, since they’ll have a wider selection of resources with which to meet evolving business goals. 

Also, with a skills-based management approach, employees are no longer bound by traditional reporting relationships that can hamstring their ability to use their unique skills. Why? Because employees of organizations that use this approach often report to multiple managers. 

Putting a Skills-Based Talent Management Strategy in Place

One thing to keep in mind as you seek to establish a skills-based program is the need for agility, as we broached above. You simply must be able to swiftly adapt to inevitable market changes, and the fact is that skills-based management can help you do just that.

Identifying Skillsets: If you implement it properly, such an approach can first assist you in the identification of your workforce’s existing skillset, its skill gaps, and training and development needs. Then, you can use what you learn to establish career pathways and development efforts that help individuals gain new skills to gird for changes in organizational direction or strategy.

Assembling Your Case: Having said that, getting started with skills requires you to first put together your case. After all, you’re going to need executives on board, and that calls for you to explain why the organization should invest in and embed a skills program. The process of making your case will also firm up in your mind what the transformation means and entails.

Thinking Beyond Today: You’re also going to have to find out what skills you need now as well as later, which means you must locate the data that will meet your specific needs. There are a myriad of data sources and libraries, including Mercer’s Skills Library, available that can be very helpful depending on the need. Beyond producing a library or constructing a new process on paper, it’s vital that you think to factor in how stakeholders may utilize technology to store, keep up, and connect with your skills data library.

Ensuring Compatibilities: Finally, establishment of your skills data library should be followed by connection of existing programs to existing programs, processes, and IT systems, with skills becoming the common currency for all HR jobs and programs. 

The Ultimate Benefit

Upon implementation, you’ll be able to use skills to frame recruitment needs and requisites prior to applicant screening and evaluations. Also, a skills-management approach fosters more opportunities to thrive and grow, which results in improved diversity efforts. Further, when the focus is on skills, the risk for decision-making bias is reduced.

In Summary

Implementing a skills-based talent management strategy means concentrating on and developing skills within your current workforce. Such a strategy organically builds upon an economy that favors a knowledge-based approach that puts more of a premium on what employees know. If you need help achieving a competitive skills-based strategy, the global consultant Mercer is highly recommended.