Table of contents
- What is a skills taxonomy?
- Benefits of a skills taxonomy in business
- What is the use of a skills taxonomy?
- Still wondering how to maintain the quality of a skills taxonomy in your organization?
We encounter taxonomies all the time in our daily lives. Imagine you go to a supermarket to buy a can of tuna. Because there’s a taxonomy in the supermarket, you know that you can go to the canned food section to find tuna. This allows you to find the can of tuna conveniently.
Now imagine a supermarket with no taxonomy. The chips are above the spices. The detergents are next to the meats. Confusing, right?
Taxonomies are attempts at classification. In HR, taxonomies classify individuals, task/performance behaviors, organizations, strategies, or external environments.
What is a skills taxonomy?
HR leaders usually have a comprehensive and accurate list of skills for employees, candidates, and jobs. They can do many useful things with it, such as automatically matching candidates to job openings, finding internal candidates for projects, identifying skills gaps between individuals and the jobs they aspire to, and finding career paths between jobs that require similar skills.
To acquire this list, HR leaders need a skills taxonomy, or a standard language for talking about skills.
A skills taxonomy allows a company to organize and strategize the required competencies and skills to run specific functions or the entire business.
Requirements may focus on hard skills and include soft skills and behaviors. The depth and level of detail for skills taxonomies vary significantly from one organization to another.
The required competencies and skills for a particular job may be located in several clusters. Also, jobs located in distinct departments may share similar competencies, making it easier for individuals to cross over as part of their career development. For example, negotiation skills used in the purchasing department may also be helpful for sales.
A skills taxonomy provides a methodology for measuring the degree to which a workforce can meet the organization’s objectives. Take a look at an example of a skills taxonomy.
Benefits of a skills taxonomy in business
Having a common language for talking about skills will enable organizations to make quick yet efficient decisions on several fronts.
Provides a framework for skills gap analysis
Increased automation has led to a large-scale disruption of the jobs and skills landscape. The future workforce will be required to rapidly learn and relearn skills as reskilling, upskilling, and redeployment will become the new normal in the future of work.
A skills taxonomy is the first step in shifting towards a skills-based workforce, as it helps HR leaders understand what skills gaps exist and focus on the skills that they know are growing in relevance in the fast-changing labor market. HR leaders can then use these insights to set a course of action to close skills gaps.
Effective employee deployment
Skills tracking facilitates effective resource allocation. For example, when overseeing a large talent pool, narrowing down the right team member for each project is a recurring challenge.
A skills database eliminates guesswork by providing managers with a clear view of each employee’s unique skill set, allowing leaders to match skills to the requirements of open positions.
This approach empowers managers to quickly identify competent staff members for each project in order to assemble teams and deliver the best possible service to clients.
Nurture talent within the organization
A massive advantage of a skills taxonomy is that it illuminates opportunities to strengthen the team. Through skills tracking, HR leaders can determine which team members require training, mentorship, and development.
A skills-based approach can play a vital role in constructing career paths for employees. First, employees can be encouraged to visualize the skills they’d like to develop and identify certifications, courses, and projects to acquire them. Then, armed with a solid roadmap, employees can track their progress as they work towards the skills needed to meet their personal career goals.
Support talent mobility
A focus on skills further supports talent mobility. When roles are put aside, employees can move across projects as their skill sets allow, regardless of their job title. By managing employees strategically and thoughtfully, managers can elevate their greatest asset: their talent.
Retention through enhanced employee experience
Retention is a significant challenge. In 2021, almost 50 million US workers left their jobs during the Great Resignation. The key to retention lies in the employee experience. Unfortunately, many employees feel overwhelmed, and burnout has continued to rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. How can a skills taxonomy support a better employee experience?
When managers cater to team members’ unique skill sets, employees feel recognized, appreciated, and vital to the team. Skills tracking matches employees to the most suitable and enriching projects, driving higher engagement and motivation. When assignments are aligned with capabilities, employees aren’t stretched thin by ill-suited projects.
Skills tracking offers career growth opportunities by providing employees with flexibility in their assignments. When people have more room to grow, they stick around instead of looking elsewhere to boost their careers.
Optimize the recruitment process
In an employee-driven market, many companies are struggling with hiring. Skills tracking helps managers optimize the recruitment process by identifying critical skills gaps in the workforce. Managers can home in on candidates who are the best possible match for their team based on their skill sets and future potential.
Rather than recruiting based on previous job history, a skills-based approach to hiring focuses on applicants who can contribute valuable skills. The insights from skill tracking helps organizations recognize candidates who will bring the most to the team and best integrate with the workforce given current skills.
Develop a competitive advantage
Organizations recognize that their talent is their capital, and a skills taxonomy helps them assess, understand, and best utilize their talent. As a result, employees are empowered to learn and flourish within the company, creating a robust talent pool that highlights each employee’s strengths while connecting skills in ways that lift the entire team.
Skills tracking acknowledges employees’ skills that fall outside their roles. When leaders are aware of all the skills within their teams, they can harness the diversity of their talent pool. In addition, employees are encouraged to think beyond their job titles, encouraging innovation and productivity.
In short, a skills taxonomy helps leaders stay ahead of the game by preparing for skills that will be required in the future. In addition, this approach stimulates growth among staff, helping organizations provide better services to their clients.
What is the use of a skills taxonomy?
The following are recommendations for organizations that want to use a skills taxonomy.
Create skills profiles
An employer can create skills profiles for all job positions. Skills profiles help HR leaders better understand job requirements so they can look for the right candidate based on skills. Similarly, employees can create skills profiles for positions they would like to apply for.
Analyze skills gaps
Upskilling the current workforce is one of the key strategies for organizations to keep up with the competitive job market. With a skills taxonomy, leaders can quickly identify the skills they want to develop for a specific position. Mapping current skills with required skills is an efficient way to detect skills gaps.
Automate skills assessments
HR leaders don’t need to rely solely on resumes for screening candidates. If a candidate doesn’t include certain skills on their resume, skills taxonomy helps to tag the skills with keyword matches from an already generated skill list. Thus, it brings consistent language and terminology to help HR leaders find any skills the candidate has missed in the resume but are vital for the job better, avoiding any confusion, for that matter.
Generate an in-house skills database
A skills taxonomy can help take recruitment to the next level by making the most of in-house talent. In-house employee mobility creates a positive environment in which employees can learn and growa skills taxonomy to create a skills database for current job positions helps an employer harness employees’ skills in other job profiles.
Match job profiles to skills
With the help of related skills or job profiles, leaders can find skills related to a specific job profile, and vice versa. For example, for the head of marketing job profile, a skills taxonomy may include skills such as PPC, social media management, and email campaigns.
If an applicant for this position has not included these skills on their CV, a skills taxonomy includes an additional list of skills and helps HR leaders to expand the search for skill parameters.
Expand the skills keyword search
Scanning resumes with the keyword ”data analysis” (For example, when looking for a potential candidate to fill in the Data analyst position) may give HR leaders a few relevant candidates. But what about candidates who don’t have this keyword in their resume but have equivalent skills?
An expansive skills taxonomy offers aliases for skills so HR managers can expand their keyword search to find the right fit.
Build accurate job descriptions
With a solid skills taxonomy library, HR leaders can quickly build a job description with the related information such as abilities, education, work activities, tasks, skills, etc. required for a job profile.
Still wondering how to maintain the quality of a skills taxonomy in your organization?
An up-to-date skills taxonomy is the foundation upon which all skills assessments and decisions should be made. However, meaningful results depend on quality and consistent data. As inconsequential as it sounds, using a consistent skills vocabulary is the first step towards reliable skills gap analysis, better hiring practices, and relevant learning and development programs that enable employees to level up their skill sets today and in the future.
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