The 5 best practices to make your skills frameworks more reliable

Creating a skills framework is a methodical job, maintaining its reliability is even more complex: a few tips from your expert.
5 practices to ensure the reliability of a skills framework
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The HR function and its performance are increasingly dependent on information systems. However, the number of talent management applications in use remains low. According to the andrh 2021 study, it is around 25 to 30% of companies with 300 to 5000 employees, and 62% of companies with more than 10000 employees.

Promoting the adoption of these tools requires making the data more reliable, harmonizing the tools in place and thus making decisions more objective.

Let's start this vast subject with the heart of Neobrain's business: the creation and animation of repositories at skills.

How to make a skills framework reliable?

Good Practice # 1: Chosse the appropriate skills collection methodology

To build a reliable system, you must first ensure that you collect and structure the input data in a rigorous manner. Three approaches to data collection are possible, depending on your company's culture:

an example of a competency framework
Here is an example of a skills

A. Top-down: skills are defined by the top management.

"What skills do we need? "
  • The advantage of this approach is that it gives us the possibility of integrating a prospective approach. Business experts and managers can instill a long-term vision of the skills that the company will need tomorrow.
  • The main limitation is to have a data model that does not reflect the skills used on a daily basis by the main actors: the employees and their managers. In the very short term, the risk is a poor appropriation of the tool and the addition of skills outside the repository.

B. Bottom-up: skills are collected by the employees themselves.

"What are the skills used today?"
  • The advantage is to first obtain an exhaustive list of skills. Subsequently, these will be reprocessed by the team in charge of the project to select the most important ones as well as the cross-cutting skills .
  • The Limitations are to create a necessary step of rationalization before arriving at the final repository. Frustrations may also arise from the fact that certain skills previously mentioned were not taken into account.

C. Hybrid: combination of skills from HR, management and skills integration of employees.

"What's the reality on the ground?"
  • The advantage lies in the involvement of all the players for increased relevance: skills of the future will be taken into account as well as those who are mobilized on the ground. You will also limit the skills declared outside the reference system when declaring skills employees.
  • The limitation of this collection method is that it generates a longer process.

Good practice # 2: Standardize the formulation of skills

Before we get into describing the universal formulation that enhances the consistency and reliability of your repository, let's define it skill.

What is a skill ?

A skill is defined by the ability to act in a given situation by mobilizing relevant knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills.

The notion of skill only makes sense in its articulation with a specific context. To go further, it is possible to add a behavioral description of the skill within the Neobrain mapping solution.

How to formulate a skill in my repository?

Universal method for describing skills
Recommended method for harmonizing the description of skills

The Taxonomy and Ontology of skills

In order to make your approach as relevant as possible, we recommend borrowing the notions of taxonomy and ontology.

  • Taxonomy is the activity of creating a hierarchical relationship of the "parent-child" type in order to organize jobs and skills into families. The classification above illustrates this structuring of your data: the position "Data-analyst credit risks" is part of the sub-family "Data Analysis", which is itself part of the "Data" family.
  • Ontology , on the other hand, calls for the representation and linking of jobs, skills and further training thanks to the common language of skill. In this way, you can link HR data from universes that are a priori distinct. The ontology will allow you to link an employee profile to an internal vacancy, or to attach a training course to a specific skill . This modeling is essential to make your mapping as consistent and reliable as possible.
An example of an ontology of skills
Example of an ontology of skills

Reliability through good data processing practices

Best Practice # 3: Enhance the diversity of skill data sources

The self-assessment of employees on their levels of skill encourages their commitment. This approach has several limitations: an employee overestimates or underestimates his skills depending on his environment and his own perception of his reality. Cognitive biases of over- or under-estimation of evaluations must therefore be complemented by several sources of data: 

  • The evaluation of the direct manager. This evaluation is itself potentially subject to discussion, but it encourages dialogue between managers and employees. This evaluation method is relevant for hard and soft skills.
  • The realization of tests. This modality will therefore have to modulate the evaluation of the skill concerned. Essentially for the skills techniques.
  • Serious games, with an application for hard and soft skills
  • 360 feedback for soft skills
  • Recommendations from other colleagues should be considered with great care.
  • The results of the annual professional interviews on the 2 dimensions
  • Data enrichment through training, certification: hard skills
  • The career committees and talent reviews are also an opportunity to reaffirm the evaluations previously obtained for the two types of skills.
The main factors of reliability of the skills
The tools to make the skills

Best Practice # 4: Use artificial intelligence to improve skills' reliability

Artificial intelligence offers a complementary ally to make your skills repository more reliable, then its mapping:

  • Detect the skills of employees from their resumes, linkedin profiles. New skills will emerge, the decision to integrate them or not will be in the hands of data governance.
  • Generate skills adapted to your sector of activity. Our system aggregates data from several sources such as business observatories
  • To carry out the reconciliation between the jobs whose skills are transferable, this step will be likely to facilitate the mobility.
  • Continuous enrichment. Once your tool is deployed, you can choose to have Neobrain continue its search for new skills in your domain. In this case, suggestions will be sent to your data governance to add or not to your repository.

Focusing on making your data reliable is an exercise that requires listening to the information collected from employees after defining and structuring your information system. Capturing external data is also likely to enrich your analyses and perspectives.

Making it reliable through good organizational practices

Good Practice # 5: Form a governance team for skills management

One of the main pitfalls encountered by companies is to implement this approach without having the means to manage it. The "governance of skills" is a practice that ensures the quality of data from its registration to its destruction. It relies on men and women who share the desire to design a solution in which information is decompartmentalized, where each piece of data is synchronized with the various modules (annual interviews, career committees, training, etc.).

The objective of creating a governance system for skill is to improve the relevance of your business repositories and make them evolve over time.

What are the 3 roles of the skill governance team?

  • The Competency Owner.

He is the guarantor of the semantic integrity of skills. That is, he/she ensures good practices in the formulation of these skills and their meaning for the population. He/she conducts interviews and reviews with the business experts and the local HR or HRBP. 

  • "The business expert"

It describes the main tasks attached to the jobs it leads, so as to formulate activities (set of tasks) and the resulting skills .

  • The "business sponsor

He/she validates the strategic skills contained within the family of professions that concerns him/her. He/she participates in the prospective vision of the organization's skills. 

The quality of collaboration between these three roles strongly influences the dynamism of your skills repository. We recommend that you establish a frequency for updating skills and enriching it with external information sources validated by your governance team.

Want to better govern your data from skills ? A full article covers the topic.

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