“Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakes,” said noted psychologist Carl Jung.
When it comes to the question of how well an organization understands the full spectrum of skills and talents of its employees, most companies fall into the former group. Without an accurate inventory of available skills and talents – beyond those that appear on people’s resumes or in their narrow job descriptions – managers are left to look out the window and dream of what could be. Traditionally, those managers are forced to pursue costly external solutions when new projects and priorities emerge: hiring, training or contracting new and differently skilled employees.
But what if you knew what you had?
What if you had that accurate inventory of skills and talents that let you address new and emerging projects with existing staff and resources?
As Jung suggests, that’s when the light will go on. That’s when you’ll see a clear path for linking talent to opportunity.
The following excerpt from “The Inside Gig” – co-authored by Hitch Founder & CEO Kelley Steven-Waiss and Edie Goldberg, Ph.D. – tackles Jung’s theory head-on, demonstrating the vital importance of “knowing what you have” for managers and other business leaders.
“Imagine some of the consequences if the chief operating officer (COO) of a company were unable to provide an accurate inventory of its capital assets. Operations would suffer, decision making would be constrained, and developing and executing strategic plans would be fraught with risk. Now consider this: how many HR executives can provide an accurate inventory of the talent assets in their organizations? Furthermore, what are some of the consequences that this lack of information creates for companies? Possibilities include:
- Increased hiring costs to fill skill gaps
- Inability to accurately match people’s skills with project assignments
- Lengthy cycle times for product development and release
- Widespread beliefs that badly needed skill sets are nowhere to be found in the company
- Inadequate career development because internal opportunities and inventories of employees’ skills are simply not known
Conversely, imagine what might be possible if an accurate, real-time inventory of skill assets was available to your company. What would the benefits be to hiring managers? To project leaders? To workforce planning professionals? The potential impact could be enormous, and operational executives are paying attention. As Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T recently asked his leadership team, “Do we have the skills we need to win in our business?”
In The Future-Proof Workplace, Linda Sharkey and Morag Barrett state, “Companies need to invest in every person to ensure that everyone can deliver on innovation. Which skills are required to achieve our strategy? Who has them now, and who needs to develop expertise?” Clearly, the role of talent in the success equation for sustainable companies has finally reached center stage.
Think of Skill Assets as Capital Assets
Today, everyone is talking about competitive advantage. We argue that the new competitive advantage is rooted in knowing and intelligently deploying the skills you have now, and hiring for the skill gaps you have identified. Intelligently deploying available skills against business requirements necessitates developing an accurate inventory of the talent supply that comprises a workforce. In the book Victory through Organization, the authors write, “Labor economists have known for years that over time, major competitors will have roughly the same raw, specialized talent, therefore, the competitive advantage is what you do with the talent you have. This raises the crucial question for every organization today: ‘Do we currently have an accurate and comprehensive skills inventory of our workforce?’” Recall what Albert Einstein taught us when he said we can’t use the same type of thinking to solve problems as the thinking that was used to create them. When we start considering skill assets in the same way we do capital assets, we create the conditions for a different way to think about why it’s important to develop skill inventories.”
If you’re ready to “know what you have” in terms of the skills, talents, experiences and aspirations of your organization’s employees, Hitch is ready to help. Contact us to set up a free assessment call or meeting. You can also visit www.hitch.works and register to download a free chapter of “The Inside Gig.”