The skills framework: everything you need to know

A skills framework and Strategic Workforce Planning are inseparable. How can you make this tool the heart of your HR management?
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The forward-looking managementof jobsand skills(now called joband career management) is based on the knowledge of the skills required for the company's performance. Nearly 60% of companies have a repository, creating it is the first step of a measurable and agile management policy of skills .

How to make it an effective strategic management tool? Where to start?

We present you all the steps to build this essential base.

What is a skills framework?

A reference framework of skills is a matrix that describes precisely what is expected of an employee in the performance of his or her activity in terms of knowledge,  hard skills and soft skills. Depending on the level of granularity chosen, these expectations can be described at the job, benchmark job or trade level. 

How to structure your repository of skills ?

Structuring the nomenclature requires a method in order to avoid the gas factory. We recommend integrating between 8 and 15 skills technical, behavioral and transversal skills per job.  

The 4 best practices to structure your skills framework

Many people have to restart their framework because its design has not been optimized. Here are 4 best practices to follow:

  1. Create your central tool with several interlocutors. Involving business sponsors, business experts and managers contributes to the adhesion of the greatest number.
  2. Anticipate emerging skills. Putting training on the move and overcoming the obsolescence of certain faculties requires keeping an eye on the skills of your sector.
  3. Describe each skill in a consistent manner. We recommend using an action verb, a context and an object to standardize the approach and to create bridges between several businesses in the organization.
  4. Opt for a hybrid approach. Structure the assets of the employees with the project committee composed of HR, business experts, Business Unit managers, and bring up the data on the skills needed to do the job from the employees themselves.

We recommend additional resources:

How to save time in the development of your skills framework?

To save time in developing your instrument, we recommend using the many external resources:

  • The skills builder partnership: The Skills Builder Partnership is a worldwide initiative where employers, educators, and impact organizations collaborate to guarantee that everyone develops the fundamental skills needed for success in the future.
  • Job observatories: within the branches, the observatories are in charge of carrying out studies and analyses of jobs and providing companies with avenues for reflection. We have listed all the job observatories in this free access file 
  • LinkedIn Industry Insights: LinkedIn, being a major professional networking site, offers insights into job trends, in-demand skills, and detailed information on various roles and industries.
  • Industry-Specific Professional Associations: Many industries have their own associations that publish job and skills data. Examples include the American Medical Association (AMA) for healthcare or the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) for engineering.
  • U.S. Department of Education’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) resources: These provide insights into various career paths and the skills needed in different sectors.

Our page "The different categories of skills" will allow you to know which data to include in your catalog. 

What are the benefits of a skills framework?

The creation of this major tool for the Strategic Workforce Planning goes hand in hand with the achievement of several objectives for HR professionals: employees, managers and HR teams (HRDs, job managers, career management managers, training managers, etc.) and social partners.

The benefits of a skills
The benefits of a skills

Benefits of the framework for employees :

By describing the environment of the company's businesses, this central tool of the company's skills management is used to evaluate what the company needs in terms of know-how, in order to perform well. How does it help when making decisions?

  • A better knowledge of one's strengths and areas for improvement: the levels of mastery on the skills expected offer visibility on the apprehension of the job of the employees. They can thus be actors of their own development.
  • Continuous updating of their level of mastery: to evaluate the levels reached, the employee goes through an initial self-assessment. This can then be completed by taking into account the assessment of managers and colleagues, thus giving the employee a third-party opinion.
  • Implementing an adapted strategy of Job and Career Management: all about this evolution since the Strategic Workforce Planning with our Page Jobs & Skills Management.
  • Identify business bridges to shape an appropriate internal mobility or recruitment program.
  • Make your compensation policy and your annual reviews rational.
  • An opportunity to take ownership of internal opportunities : the employee can see the career paths and career bridges towards which he or she can move.

Thanks to the company's job directory, the employee can identify, among their current skills, the skills that can be mobilized towards other jobs and the qualifications to be acquired. For its part, the company benefits from a map showing the career paths and the business gateways.

The dynamic matrix of skills acts as a guide for internal trajectories.

The benefits of the framework for managers :

  • A performance management booster: the performance of an employee comes from several sources, including the good adequacy of the level of skill of an individual within a business. Thus, the internal framework makes it possible to explain and manage individual and collective performance.
  • Individual adaptation of objectives: a manager now focuses on rational factors of performance and encourages the development of individual skills. The objectives are now more adapted to each employee, resulting in a better personalization of the relationship with each team member.
  • A booster for internal recruitment: all the assets sought are visible in an"Internal Talent Marketplace". Designed as a catalog of skills that can be mobilized for projects or permanent jobs, this platform gives the opportunity to make resource allocation more fluid. Beyond the level of skill, the manager will also be able to visualize the level of motivation of the employee to develop the skill which is the subject of the internal recruitment.

Skills Repository Benefits for HR:

  • A pillar of Job and Career Management: the skills base is used to estimate what the company needs to maintain its performance. It is the answer to the "description of the economic environment" and the impact on the company's business of the Jobs & Skills Management that our partner Implid describes in his article"the lever of sustainable performance". The matrix gives a precise diagnosis of the skills mastered and the qualifications at risk by profession, populations, seniority...
  • A source of rationalization for training programs : for a long time subject only to the orders of managers, training needs now benefit from reliable data. At the individual and collective level, the areas of skills that are in need of training are identified and then weighted during career committees to establish priorities. 
  • A first step towards Tactical workforce planning: the planning of resources in the short or medium term consists of integrating business scenarios and breaking down the skills according to 4 areas.

What skills should be integrated into your tool?

We recommend that you include 4 areas of skills in your tool:

  1. The skills at risk. Learn more about"The risk of loss of skills "
  2. The skills of the future. Our use case"Dealing with uncertainty" addresses this topic.
  3. The skills transversal. They are at the origin of mobilities : "skills transversal and mobilities
  4. The skills in need of development. How to detect them? Our article"Identifying the needs of skills" answers them.
The new tool becomes a lever for arbitration between internal recruitment, outsourcing or external recruitment.