How skills visibility unleashes workforce capability

Unlock the full capability of your workforce through data-driven insights

Austen Gregerson

By Austen Gregerson, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

August 4, 2022

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Seeing is believing, and companies are still struggling to get the whole picture of their workforce’s capabilities. 

As organizations continue to prioritize skills, the most obvious question is the most difficult to answer: What skills are we lacking, and where are we at risk of falling behind? Antiquated work hierarchies hide these capabilities in job descriptions—often out-of-date, incomplete, and without an eye to the future of the role—and this has a direct impact on workforce capacity and development strategy. 

Skills visibility enables leaders to know what skills and abilities are available at any given time, and leverage real-time insights on the supply and demand of skills within their workforce. Whether it’s having a surplus of project managers or identifying a growing need to hire for data science skills, companies must stay ahead of industry and market transformation by prioritizing key skill-building. And Workforce agility platforms enable them to do just that.

What is a workforce agility platform?

Workforce agility platforms allow companies to redeploy talent to relevant projects, monitor real-time skills data, and see where people can benefit from upskilling and reskilling to close critical skill gaps before they affect the business.

But internal data on skills is only as good as it is up-to-date. As business needs rapidly shift, relying on outdated job titles obscures actual skills found within a workforce. For example, despite knowing how many data scientists are within an organization, it might not be clear how many people have the specific deep learning AI skills to lead machine learning efforts. Breaking down jobs into core skills enables leaders to gain a deeper understanding of their arsenal. 

3 ways to identify skill gaps within your organization

At the core of skills visibility is knowing where your team should focus its training efforts to bridge skill gaps before they become problematic. 69% of employers globally report that they’re finding it difficult to find the talent they need, the highest percentage recorded in more than 15 years. With the continued shift in business needs and market conditions, keeping a close eye on a company’s capabilities is more important than ever.

Static skill lists and organizational charts only tell a partial story; though an organization might have the numbers to tackle a new initiative, the skills needed to complete the task might not be as obvious as a job title. To gain better skills visibility in your organization, start with these three steps:

#1. Pixelize work into understandable tasks

Modern solutions can’t be solved with out-of-date information. By breaking down jobs into subsequent tasks and subtasks, HR leaders can better understand the skills required to tackle business priorities and focus their efforts on bolstering those abilities. 

Pixelized work facilitates greater agility. Deconstructing jobs into gigs and projects allows for greater mobility of talent, freeing up valuable talent that might have been locked in cumbersome organizational silos. 

#2. Create a unified language for skills

Understanding starts with establishing a clear, universal language of skills to help an organization understand the capabilities of its workforce and the competencies it needs to prioritize. By having a unified skills language reflect its industry at large, companies can see how they stack up against the competition and put more strategic focus on training, recruiting, and skill-building.

With a talent marketplace, that skills language can be put to use without sorting through duplications and redundant information—it might seem inconsequential, but multiple synonyms referring to the same skill can obscure a company’s true workforce capability and slow progress towards building a skills-based organization. But by harmonizing various data sources, like market data, HR databases, and information entered into the talent marketplace, leaders have a unified—and actionable—inventory of their organization’s skills. 

80% of organizations looking to increase their headcount struggle to fill jobs due to a lack of skilled talent. Defining those necessary skills allows for more strategic internal skill-building efforts—engaging employees on a personal level and proving their value to the organization.

#3. Proactively bridge skill gaps before they emerge

Understand how your company works—specifically, where production bottlenecks routinely appear—to put purpose behind skills visibility. Workforce intelligence solutions can better inform organizational talent strategies by providing dynamic skills insights and recommendations through a central source of company data, allowing leaders to see what skills are available and prognosticate any growing skill gaps.

Once the needs are understood, HR leaders can take many different avenues for shoring up talent shortages: upskilling or cross-skilling, deploying third-party contractors, or realigning hiring strategies to mitigate the shortcoming.

How leading enterprises leverage skills visibility

Making these kinds of changes can seem daunting. However, many leading companies have already pixelated work to strengthen their skills visibility and fundamentally transform the manner in which they operate.

Seagate

  • At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Seagate needed to rapidly deploy talent to business areas most needing attention. Their answer was to better understand what skills existed within the company and prioritize internal development to bridge skill gaps, using external hiring only as a last resort.
  • The results: $1.4 million in savings and more than 35,000 hours unlocked within the first four months of their talent marketplace’s launch.

HSBC

  • Seeing the future of work unfold before them, HSBC knew it needed to stay on top of the latest skills and organizational techniques to serve its 40 million customers. The organization implemented a full workforce agility platform, combining the talent marketplace with up-to-date workforce intelligence, to develop a future-fit skills process and activate internal mobility at speed and scale.
  • To date, roughly 60,000 hours were unlocked and 45% of all projects are cross-functional—two things that might not have been possible while operating under a traditional business structure. But by deconstructing their work into smaller tasks and gigs, then understanding what skills it took to accomplish those goals, HSBC was able to meet the current needs of their customers and equip their workforce with future-fit skills.

Unilever

  • Patrick Hull, VP Future of Work at Unilever, recognized the demand for better talent strategies. He and his company wanted to equip their workforce with reskilling and upskilling opportunities while improving organizational agility. To accomplish it, they employed Gloat’s Workforce Agility Platform. 

    “We identified early on this need for more talent mobility, more flexibility, and continuous learning,” Hull said. “Everyone was talking about the importance of lifelong learning, so we decided it was time to scan the market for tools and ideas that we could implement to make an impact within our organization.”

  • With roughly 700,000 hours unlocked and a 41% improvement in overall productivity, Unilever positioned its workforce to adapt to changing industry needs and continue building the skills that keep the organization competitive.

To learn how to transform your organization and get better skills visibility into your operations, read our ebook on how to build a skills-based organization

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