It is close to impossible to predict how the world will change after the Covid-19 pandemic crisis is over and how people will evolve. But one thing is certain, the way we work will be deeply transformed (and already has!). And with transformation comes new skills to master and new roles to create.
Additionally, the current situation probably has led many people to reconsider different aspects of their lives, including their careers. What they aspired to yesterday is not what they want for tomorrow.
Companies hold an important role, if not a responsibility, to guide and accompany employees through this shift and give them the tools to develop professionally. Skills mapping is the solution to this challenge. To propose relevant and professional training to fit a new requirements and expectations, assessing skills needs is crucial.
Here is how to get started.
1. Managing skills
It has been said that companies now manage more than just people, they also manage skills. With markets, trends, technology changing so fast, anticipating skills gaps and new jobs has become a main HR challenge. So how can we make sure employees adapt to their jobs and evolve fast enough? By mapping out skills of course! Skills mapping is the flagship tool of forward-looking management of jobs and skills. It is even the starting point. Later, it will form the basis of your internal mobility plan.
Let’s dive deeper into this analytical tool.
2. What is skills mapping?
Skills mapping is a snapshot of all the company's skills at any given time. This means that for each job, the employer can see what skills, soft and hard, as well as the level required for each, are required. It is important that jobs are referenced and not positions. Why? A position is a set of tasks and responsibilities carried out by an employee and can change from company to company, whereas a job or profession is part of a global context. The Merriam-Webster define it as “an orderly record of the essential activities involved in the performance of a task that is abstracted from a job analysis and used in classifying and evaluating jobs and in the selection and placement of employees” Directories in the likes of ESCO (European Skills/Competences and qualifications Occupations directory) exist to classify professions.
With the rapid evolution of markets, it is important to stay on top of trends to anticipate how professions will be transformed to adjust.
For each employee, the mapping results in an analysis of his or her personal skills, highlighting any gaps that may exist, both in terms of cross-functional skills and business skills, as well as the strong points on which to capitalize. Employees and managers can thus become aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
3. What is the purpose of skills mapping?
When you think of how important balance sheets are to track a company’s financial health, why wouldn’t Human Resources do the same with what makes up the value of human capital: skills? In addition to the global vision that a skills map provides, it is above all an excellent evaluation tool!
Four questions to illustrate the purpose of skills mapping:
Is every job necessary for the smooth running of the company provided for? Skills mapping provides an overview of the professions in your company and helps assess recruitment needs. Because required skills and experiences are referenced, it makes it easier for HR teams and managers to know what candidate profiles to look for.
Do the employees in X or Z positions have all the required skills to be performant at their jobs? Each job has its own set of skills. Having such information allows an easier assessment of said skills and to identify skills gap to build training plans more effectively.
My employee asked for training, but does she really need it? Skills mapping indicates the level of employees for each skill and what the company expects. This allows you to assess the relevance of trainings and determine who needs what.
What potential for internal mobility? Skills mapping explores both transversal skills and business skills, simplifying internal mobility management. Bridges between professions will naturally appear. By developing an employee's different skills through experience or training, mapping will make it possible to visualize the potential fit with other positions in the organization.
Skills mapping gives HR the means to objective decision making. From validating or refusing trainings to promotions, decisions are based on precise and measurable criteria. Employees can also understand better what the company expects from them and anticipate their professional developments.
4. How skills mapping helps with training decisions?
Let's take the example of language training. Language training is in the top 3 of most popular training courses in companies but not every employee actually needs it for their job. However, training is meant to reduce skills gaps between the current level and what is required. By analyzing gaps precisely and setting expectations (i.e. required level of writing, speaking, listening comprehension) and needs with skills mapping, training courses can be more aligned with the company’s needs.
Skills mapping takeaways:
Identify needs and determine which employees to train on what specific skills.
Objectively assess the relevance of a training request
Optimize training sessions: by grouping by skills and no longer by profession, by level and no longer by department, training sessions will be all the more effective.
Optimize budgets: because each level is evaluated before and after the training, we can analyze the return on investment of the training sessions.
Why and how to launch a skills mapping project
A 4-step-methodology to implement skills mapping in your organization
Guidelines to help you analyze the collected data