Workforce Visibility

How to Get Started with a Skills-Based Strategy

Over the past year, global labour markets have softened and overall market activity has declined across a large part of APAC. In Australia, recruitment activity has gone down but companies continue to report challenges in filling open positions, with persistent skills shortages and mismatches between available talent and employer being the top obstacle.

In Southeast Asia, new skills and roles emerged quickly due to rapid digital transformation, leading to high demand for tech-savvy individuals with specialised skills like programming, data analysis, digital transformation, etc.

To overcome the talent shortage, organisations are now looking beyond traditional credentials and focusing on the actual skills and competencies required to get the job done. This is being reinforced by government initiatives driving skills development such as the Jobs and Skills Act in Australia and the Skills-Based Hiring Handbook released by the Singapore government to help drive adoption.

By shifting to skills-based hiring practices, many companies find that they have greater access to new talent pools, can deploy increasingly diverse arrays of skills and benefit from more agile work environments that feature dynamic skill sets that are continuously acquired and applied fluidly. This strategy also allows an opportunity to integrate skills into the overall talent management plan.

With a skills-based workforce strategy, organisations prioritise the humans in their businesses by evaluating the skills that they bring to the company, and not just their titles. Companies open themselves to a diverse group of people who have the skills needed to achieve the goals, with or without formal educational degrees and specific job titles. This increases opportunities for workers who may not have otherwise been considered and provides a greater array of viewpoints and ideas to the company.

Guide to Growing a Skills-Based Workforce

Multiple workforce subject matter experts have expounded on the benefits of a skills-based approach; however, it’s only a concept until you integrate the process to the best advantage of your organisation. Initiating the process for shifting your company to a focus on skills -- as opposed to credentials -- starts with recognising the need to make a change and leadership supporting this course of action. Partnering with workforce experts such as Allegis Global Solutions (AGS) can help with this process. Once the decision is made, organisations can follow the following steps towards change:

Identify Core Skills

Conduct a thorough analysis of the core skills and competencies required for each role within the organisation. Make sure the skills directly align with the job responsibilities and objectives and are evaluated objectively as actions to be completed. For example, if you are trying to fill the role of a project manager, you want someone who is organised, a big-picture thinker and a clear communicator. The person does not, necessarily need to be a PMP, instead your assessment should be the skills, not the title.

Create Skills Frameworks and Assessments

Develop competency models that outline the specific skills and proficiency levels needed to get the job done. These will act as frameworks you can reference with recruiters, hiring managers and employees to assess skill requirements and places where skills could be developed. In addition, assessing skills during the hiring process is crucial for accurately evaluating the abilities of candidates. Consider several methods for evaluations, so that the focus remains on the specific skills. Hiring managers could utilise practical exercises, case studies, technical tests or behavioral assessments to ensure the right people with the right skills are given the right jobs.

Rewrite Job Descriptions

Once the assessments are completed and the skills required are clear, you should rewrite the job description to reflect the skills and competencies rather than qualifications such as degrees or years of experience. Make sure that key skills, abilities and experiences are clearly outlined in the job description and that the hiring managers and leaders agree on what work needs to be done.

Include Skills Assessment Throughout the Hiring Process

At each stage of the hiring process, including initial screening and interviews, ensure that consistent, fair and standardised assessments are deployed to all candidates applying for the same roles.

Include Internal Workers in Your Strategy

Often when workforce leaders discuss hiring or sourcing talent, they only consider finding workers from outside the organisation. However, when leaders take an objective view of the skills required to get work done, they may find that someone who is underutilised inside the company has the skills needed to fill other roles. Hiring and/or upskilling from within the company provides an opportunity for the company, but also creates a more fulfilling work experience for your active workers. When you offer skills training and learning development tools you:

  • Provide employees with opportunities for development that can help them acquire and enhance the skills needed to excel in their roles. Learning and development tools could include workshops, online courses, mentorship programs or on-the-job training initiatives.
  • Leverage skills-based tools and technologies such as applicant tracking systems (ATS) with skills-based filtering capabilities or skills assessment platforms, to streamline the recruitment process and efficiently identify top talent, inside and outside your organisation.
  • Make skills assessment an ongoing part of your workforce process. Foster a culture of skills recognition in your employees to reward them on their skills and contributions to the company’s success. This will also encourage employees to upskill and engage in continued learning and development.

Make Skills Assessment a Core Feature of Business Operations

Developing a plan to find talent based on skills and competencies must become more than just a hiring initiative. Developing a skills-based workforce also includes continued evaluations of the effectiveness of your approach. Companies should collect feedback from hiring managers, recruiters and new hires on their response to the hiring process, but also, internal training and upskilling plans should be assessed by your internal teams. Once these evaluations are received, it is also crucial to create actionable adjustments and improvements.

Overall success hinges on aligning skills-based hiring with your broader business goals and plans for growth. Transforming your workforce plan should start with which goals you are trying to achieve and what challenges you are trying to solve.

Once the skills-based workforce plan is put into practice, companies should experience a greater visibility into their workforce and the costs. The workplace environment should promote workers that are more productive and more fulfilled because they have the right skill sets to excel in their roles. With cross functional expertise, organisational priorities will be aligned and lead to a consistent approach to grow the business.




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