Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Each organisation, in one way or another, maps skills to intelligence. Especially with changing needs, HR professionals struggle to gather skill information fast enough to meet the changing requirements of businesses. They are not only responsible for tracking each employee’s existing skills level but also flagging skills needed for the business’s growth. But that’s not all that intelligence does.

Skills intelligence helps business leaders see what skills their employees have, the level at which they compare with the industry, their strengths, and weaknesses, how they match current and future business needs, how they’ll be able to adapt to the dynamic market’s needs, and which enable them to make business-critical decisions.

In a nutshell, skill intelligence is a crystal ball that’ll tell you how you and your organisation will fare in the near future. But I accept that it is as ominous as it is exciting.

The conversation around “skills intelligence” is disparate at best, mainly because there’s still a lot to be uncovered when it comes to data and intelligence. It is also a general misconception that this data remains limited on an individual level and doesn’t necessarily have any business use case. But we argue otherwise.

Businesses can utilise skills intelligence at several places: the pre-joining program, the freshmen’ training program, gauging project readiness, skills gap analysis, individual training paths, upskilling and reskilling, internal mobility and cross-skilling, training effectiveness, and much more. With this intelligence, you can also nudge your employees to excel in business-critical skills. And this brings us to the next part: why skills and intelligence will be your new competitive advantage.

First and foremost, business survival

Previously, the skills taxonomy, which is a structured list of quantifiable skills an organisation has, was changing every two or three years; now it is changing every six months. In its recent report, Gartner suggests that each job role’s requirements are changing by 7% each year, and over 25% of the skills we see in job listings today will be completely unnecessary by 2025. This means that just to stay within the realm of relevance, you’ll have to pivot.

Using skills intelligence and collecting your organisation’s skills inventory, you’ll have a ready list of skills that are vital today and, most importantly, tomorrow. You can also drive retention and performance, and even create a bench of future leaders.

Your skills intelligence will thus serve as a foundation for future upskilling and reskilling programs, as well as understanding future critical skills.

Driving skills, transparency throughout the organisation

Using skills intelligence, HR and talent professionals can provide their employees with:

  1. Insights into their skill gaps
  2. share opportunities that align with their career path
  3. Share what skills are critical from an organisation’s growth standpoint.
  4. Create programmes for upskilling and reskilling.

By employing technologies such as machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence), talent managers can get a 360-degree view of their employee’s skills,

  1. Self-reported skills
  2. Social data
  3. Internal System Data
  4. Skills assessment validated abilities

Many organisations now define the necessary “skills portfolio” in an employee portal, which some call “career pathing. This encompasses more than just role definitions or future goals; they encompass what functional, technical, and soft skills are needed, how employees can progress, the different functions they could migrate to, and how they’ll support the change.

Skills and intelligence to keep up with shifting needs

With organisations’ skills index and intelligence, HR professionals can deliver training to employees when it is most needed. They can also customise programmes for each skill level and dexterity.

Moreover, there’s simply not enough time to acquire a new skill set. Skills are required immediately. In a situation like that, HR professionals will have visibility of “adjacent” or “steppingstone” skills that existing employees may have and can be utilized. For example, DevOps are infamously challenging to recruit, so adjacent skills like JavaScript can come into play.

Furthermore, with a clear skills index, organisations can identify skills that can be developed within the organisation and ones that cannot.

For each employee, organisations have social data, which can be accessed on their professional profiles such as LinkedIn, GitHub, or StackOverflow; internal systems data, which can be accessed via project history, training data, and upskilling data; and then there’s user-input data, which is submitted by employees themselves.

But with such granular data on individual, vertical, and organisational levels, it’ll be impossible to parse through all the data to generate meaning. Skills and intelligence, however, simplify that for you. You can take this comprehensive data at the employee level and compare it with market standards to, one, identify groups of people who can be your future leaders, two, open new business avenues, and, more importantly, build future-ready teams that give you a competitive advantage.

sujit karpe

Author

Sujit Karpe, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), iMocha

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members