How to… Adopt a skills-based strategy (and use AI to help you achieve it)

The CHRO needs to evolve to become the COO of the talent supply chain. It requires a skill-based strategy, says Kelley Steven-Waiss, chief transformation officer, ServiceNow.

Article main image
Aug 22, 2023

Incredible as it may seem, by as early as 2027, research we recently conducted with Pearson, found that that up to 4.9 million jobs in the United States could be augmented by AI technology.

But if this isn’t staggering enough, this same research also found that 5.9 million new tech jobs will be needed in the US by 2027 – just to fully deploy these emerging technologies.

The writing is clearly on the wall.

Not only will CHROs need a deep understanding of the current skills they have in their organization, but they’ll need to anticipate how these skills will need to change in future.

So the choices they face are stark: They either need to start developing their existing talent now, or know when to hire for new skills or bring in external resources.

Now the good news

The good news in all of this is that employees know they will need to upskill and reskill in order to adapt and thrive.

As data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows, 76% of employees are more likely to stay at a company that offers continuous training.

That’s why CHROs need to evolve their own skills strategies

Skills are becoming the new currency for companies everywhere.

Looking at skills for workforce planning, learning, and development better enables internal mobility as well as the deployment of the right people at the right time.

But – the adoption of a skills-based strategy requires a mindset shift from the traditional ways of working.

Companies and markets move fast.

Employees don’t stand still.

Skills should follow this same pattern.

The right mix of technology, process, and data is business critical.

Where to start? A skills strategy requires data, but data is difficult to collect

Most organizations today have skills data scattered across various HR applications, such as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), Human Capital Management (HCM) software, Learning Experience Platforms (LXP), and more.

These systems often don’t talk to each other, which leads to limited visibility into the comprehensive skills the workforce has or needs.

Trying to deal with this is like having puzzle pieces scattered all over the place without a picture of the whole puzzle.

Fitting the pieces together is possible, but difficult and time consuming.

However, what’s worse is having an incomplete view of workforce skills. This scenario has far-reaching implications for talent acquisition and development. Without a unified view of skills, it can be difficult to subjectively match people to projects, to identify the right opportunities for growth and development, and to hire the right people.

To overcome these challenges, organizations need integrated systems that facilitate seamless communication and provide a comprehensive and real-time view of skills data across the talent supply chain.

Moving beyond data collection

Building a robust skills strategy goes beyond data collection.

Organizations need an easy way to visualize how different skills are connected to various roles and how they all fit together.

This is where a skills taxonomy – a structured framework that brings clarity to the skills landscape within an organization – is crucial.

Imagine a tech company looking to grow its software development team.

With the right skills taxonomy augmented by AI, they can effectively capture the specific skills needed for different roles within the team, such as programming languages, software frameworks, or project management expertise – all serving as a structured guide that provides a clear and organized view of the relationships between skills and roles.

With this visual representation, the company can pinpoint any skill gaps, assess the proficiency levels of their current employees, and make strategic decisions for hiring, training, and skill development.

The skills taxonomy acts as a powerful tool that guides the organization in understanding, utilizing, and maximizing the potential of their skills to drive success in their software development endeavors.

AI: The brain powering skills classification and curation

While AI is changing the very nature of jobs, it’s also playing a leading role in helping people up-skill and re-skill.

In other words, AI is helping address the challenges it’s creating.

What do I mean by this?

AI can predict and customize learning and development courses based on an employee’s current skills, the skills they want to build, and the skills their company needs. It can also revolutionize the way companies hire.

Imagine an organization looking to find the perfect candidate for their team.

AI can scan through a vast pool of candidates, rapidly identifying those with the precise skills required for the job – acting as a talent scout that knows exactly who is fit for the role and simplifying the recruitment process.

AI can also continuously monitor and update employee skills data, ensuring that skills profiles stay up-to-date and are aligned with the evolving needs of the organization.

This real-time visibility into skills is a game-changer for organizations. It empowers leaders to make data-driven decisions when it comes to training, development initiatives, and talent management, giving them a competitive edge in the fast-paced business landscape.

An effective skills strategy drives business value

Skills-based organizations are 98% more likely to retain high performers, according to Deloitte’s 2023 HCM Report – meaning organizations can’t afford to put skills on the back burner.

By recognizing the criticality of skills and leveraging the skills taxonomy underpinned with AI, organizations can navigate the evolving talent landscape, drive growth, and achieve a competitive edge.

The CHRO’s role as the COO of the talent supply chain becomes instrumental in shaping a skilled workforce, aligning business needs, and fostering an environment that nurtures employee growth and satisfaction.

With these strategies in place, organizations can thrive in today’s rapidly changing business landscape and secure a prosperous future.

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!