Identifying the exact skills that a job requires is a tough ask. Only the individual truly knows what is needed at that time, and external assessors can only judge on output.
But Mike Butler, Point72’s Head of Human Capital Management, thinks he has found a new way to define, and consequently map out, the talent that is on a company’s books at any one time.
He and company President Doug Haynes worked on this method with Vega Factor, and Butler discussed the process with Business Insider; it allowed them to construct career-progression plans based on the skills that needed the most attention, while also giving staff the power to assess what they needed to focus on, how their managers should be supporting them, and what resources the firm can provide to help.
Butler says: “A job is just a cluster of skills, and now we have a way to talk about that with a lot more precision that informs every stage of the process.
"Like most performance-management systems, ours had some characteristics that weren't well aligned with where we're going as an organisation.
"It tended to be somewhat backward-looking, judgmental — it didn't really help people develop their skills and advance their careers."
So, Butler set about changing this. The firm launched an ‘Academy’ to train the next generation of talent, and began devising a new performance-measurement programme.
At the start of this devising process they looked at assessing skills from the generic to the specific and technical. But employees said this was futile because each person’s skills were unique to their role.
"But,” Butler counters, “in reality, when you break it down to a fundamental skill level, it's a lot more relevant than you think.”
Acknowledging the universal nature of skills improved talent mobility and made it easier for staff to assess their own development, both current and future.
"If there are 80 skills that might define your career from beginning to end for a role,” he continues, “there might be 15 or 20 that are relevant at your particular stage of development.
"The whole thing is there; you're zeroing in on the skills that are pertinent."
The six categories Butler used to assess if a skill has been adequately learned of not can be seen on the next page.