The Great Resignation is all we hear about in the business press these days. Employees are quitting their jobs at an unprecedented rate—and not always just because they received a better offer elsewhere. Instead, they are leaving their jobs because they don’t feel valued, lack opportunities for career growth, and are burnt out after two years of incredibly stressful working environments.
In this environment, many companies struggle to retain their high-performing employees, and can’t find suitable replacements for those who leave. Offering remote work options, improving the digital employee experience, and placing a renewed focus on company culture are now table stakes to attract and retain employees.
However, to grow and succeed in executing our business strategies, we need to move beyond what everyone else is doing to create talent management processes and systems that can enable our people to become a true competitive advantage. That’s what brought several dozen HR leaders from around the globe together for the recent kickoff of our skills intelligence accelerator.
Why You Need a Skills-Based Talent Management Strategy
We all have talented employees in our organizations who have untapped capabilities because we don’t know enough about them. The iceberg is a great metaphor for this because everyone has visible skills at work that we see demonstrated in the flow of work. But too often, that’s all we know about them.
With your top talent, there are all these skills underneath the surface that we don’t see, and some of those invisible skills are actually superpowers of those people. The skills may come from their role as a parent, their passions outside of work, and prior volunteer and work experiences. So, there’s a whole skills portfolio that’s hidden underneath the surface.
As business leaders and human resources practitioners, what if we could excavate all of these undercover skills? What if people could contribute beyond what we know about and assume about them? I suspect we could probably solve a lot of the talent acquisition issues we have today, simply by unleashing all this talent we already have inside our organizations. But where do you start?
This is why we brought together a group of future of work visionaries and innovative HR organizations from around the globe for the Hitch.Graph Magnet Group’s first Skills Intelligence Accelerator cohort. We developed this six-session program designed to support member organizations as they evolve from a traditional human capital management framework into a skills-based enterprise. Throughout the program, we plan to share some of the challenges, the ideas, and the aha-moments from these sessions with the hope that it helps other organizations embark upon their own skills-based journey. Here are some highlights from our inaugural session.
Common Challenges Companies Face to Adopt a Skills-Based Talent Framework
Thanks to the rapid acceleration of just about every company’s digital transformation strategy due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the way we work today has undergone some significant changes. While many of these changes involved technology adoption that can make the transition to a skills-based talent environment easier, there are still many common challenges. The key themes I heard in our discussion were:
- It’s uncharted territory. Unlike some of the other HR paradigms that have been in use for decades, skills intelligence is new. Further, each organization’s unique needs and talent pool mean that every organization’s road map will look a little different. That’s why the skills intelligence accelerator isn’t just one expert walking us through a framework—it’s a collaboration between some of the brightest minds in HR to define the right path for the participating organizations.
- It’s a big culture change. In traditional industries, the accepted ways of finding, developing, and retaining talent haven’t changed in decades. Frequently, there isn’t the type of modern HRIS and human capital management technology in place that is necessary to make this shift. That means you have to share real ROI from other organizations facing the same challenges to convince the C-suite to fund this type of major initiative.
Opportunities That Companies Anticipate a Skills-Based Approach Will Deliver
Despite the common challenges, companies are exploring skills-based talent solutions due to the tremendous upside possible from this approach. In our session, some of the key advantages participants shared for what is driving this change included:
- Skills intelligence is a vital tool to unlock retention. Retention is obviously a priority for any growing company. Skills intelligence will allow HR teams to hone in on how to provide employees opportunities for career development that also benefit the organization and its valuable human capital investment.
- Building cross-organization relationships to drive innovation. If you have a global or multiple-office organization, or have grown your company through acquisition, it can be challenging to foster peer collaboration between people who’ve never met. But those personal connections are critical, especially in an acquisition scenario. A skills-based approach facilitates a natural opportunity for people to find and connect with others who do similar work in other locations or divisions.
Join Our Skills Intelligence Conversation
Over the next six months, I’d like to personally invite you to follow along with our group’s progress and share your feedback and questions with us. To do so, connect with Hitch on LinkedIn and Twitter, and jump into the conversation threads that spawn from our session recaps like this one. Also, to make sure you don’t miss one of the blog posts—and to be the first to know when we start taking applications for the next cohort—sign up for our email list. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to learn from and collaborate with such a diverse group of HR colleagues as we embark upon this skills intelligence journey together.
About the Author
Kelley Steven-Waiss serves as Founder & Executive Chairman of Hitch Works Inc., (hitch.works), a talent mobility platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to match project-based opportunities to internal employee skill profiles. Kelley founded and commercialized Hitch while she was the Chief Innovation Officer and Human Resources Officer at HERE Technologies. She has more than 25 years of executive management and consulting experience in human resources, change management, and corporate communications. Prior to HERE Technologies, Steven-Waiss was executive vice president, chief human resources officer, for Extreme Networks, Inc., and was responsible for the company’s global human capital strategies. She is on the board of FormFactor, Inc. (NASDAQ: FORM), the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.