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Future Of Work, Organizational Development

Skills mapping in your organization: practical steps

Skills mapping is the process that results in a visual representation of all your employees’ skills, highlighting strengths and weaknesses. You can apply it to the organization as a whole, but also departments, at the individual level or to specific projects. As skills dynamics are shifting and people participate in multiple projects, modern skills mapping brings to the table managers, HR teams, and individual contributors alike.

It involves analyzing which skills you need to fill a given role, perform a certain task, or participate in a project.

A clear overview of the skills available helps managers identify any gaps that might hurt business in the short or long term. It also supports organizations in efficiently using existing skills by redeploying talent fast, planning for future recruitment, or guiding the learning and development programs.

As Josh Bersin pointed out in his article, “Once you get started you will see that skills play a role in hiring, mobility, development, diversity, and even pay”.

Practical steps to conduct a skills mapping

 
Organizations that realign HR processes to match skill needs can boost employee engagement by 50 percent, lower training and development program costs by 50 percent, and raise productivity by 40 percent.
McKinsey & Company
 

Identify required skills

To easily identify areas with skills that are in high-demand or short supply you must take a close look inside your organization. You can start by analyzing the current company strategy and the plans for the coming years. Pinpoint the essential skills and capabilities your company needs most to successfully run new strategic projects, achieve business transformation or expand into new markets. By doing so, you will be able to see what type of skills you already have in your organization, and the ones you need to further develop or recruit from externally.

In this new digitally disrupted work, both digital and soft skills must be a particular concern. Access to specific digital expertise but also the necessary soft skills that ensure smoother collaboration between teams and agility in the workplace is equally important. Another thing to consider is looking at your competition and how your industry is expected to change under the influence of technology.

Set proficiency levels

As important as it may be to run this first step, without setting up different proficiency levels associated with particular skills and roles, you can’t have a complete evaluation. Within any company or department, the employees have different levels of expertise that will vary over time.

With an application like Nestor, you can set up the required proficiency level versus the actual proficiency level. Each employee profile will display this information together with activities required for the job role, development plan, or even certifications. Moreover, managers can suggest skill proficiency levels for their direct reports.

This way, you can quickly identify those employees with deep expertise and who are highly skilled to perform a task or get on board for a project.

Assess the current skills

To plan for the future, first, you need to have a clear picture of the current skills in your organization. Tools like Nestor can help you evaluate current skill levels from multiple points of view. So you can have the manager’s perspective from a skills assessment, a performance review, or 360-degree feedback and even skills endorsements from peers.

You will also be able to self-evaluate your skills with proficiency levels, attributes, and motivation. In our opinion, allowing employees to self-assess their skills it’s a big win. When you encourage employees to expose their opinion, you show them trust and involve them in finding solutions and getting things done.

While skills mapping is a critical step in understanding disparities in your organization, it is important to match it with employees’ individual career goals, interests and capabilities.

Identify gaps and act on them

Learnings without action have little effect. This is why the final step of your skills mapping should focus on practical changes that must turn into practical actions. With a clear picture of both actual and desired proficiency levels, companies can address existing competency gaps so that managers can create and assign development goals for employees, and initiate learning and mentorship programs or additional training.

Besides addressing different skills and competencies gaps before they turn critical, using a platform like Nestor helps you track the progress of the development objectives over a certain period. A key decision to make at this point is whether you want to develop skills within your existing workforce or recruit fresh new talent.

Our final thoughts

Conducting a skills mapping is beneficial both to your company and your people in several ways:

  • Addresses the existing skills gaps before turning critical
  • Highlights clear development objectives connected to learning outcomes
  • Helps your company keep pace with the digital transformation
  • Contributes to creating a great culture where every employee gets the chance to embark on the path of growth
  • Enables people to do what they are best at and most interested in
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