The Necessity of a Skill Audit. Part 1 of 3.

Persuading leaders, managers, and employees that a skills audit is necessary.
Part 1 of 3 Steps to Implementing a Successful Skills Inventory Audit.

Today, skills management has become an indispensable element of an organizations’ performance. Employees are expected to possess a diversity of skills and capabilities, but not all organizations know how to manage the vast array of employee skills. Conducting a skills audit; is the first step to harnessing the best from your employees.

As the owner of www.SkillsDBPro.com  I have been involved with numerous Skills Inventory implementations and Skills Gap analysis efforts.  In this three part series I intend to provide managers, leaders, and employees, with constructive information regarding each of the three common steps associated with a skills audit.  The three steps are:

  1. Ensuring that leaders, managers, and employees are aware of and buy into the importance of a skills audit.
  2.  Skills audit implementation.  Identifying the most crucial skills an organization has today, the skills it will need tomorrow, and using these as the basis for the skills audit. 
  3. Developing a skills matrix and creating analytic reports, that supports the businesses strategic objectives.

Now let’s consider each step in detail.

Step one – persuading leaders, managers, and employees that a skills audit is needed.

Only by effectively communicating the points below can you get leadership, management, and employee buy in.

Ø  What is a skills audit?
Ø  The benefits of a skill audit.
Ø  Anticipated outcomes of a skill audit.
Ø  Downfalls of not conducting a skills audit.

Skills audit – what is it?

Skills audit is a process in which the skills of individuals or groups are being measured. The basic intent behind any skills audit is to identify the existing set of skills within the organization and the skills and knowledge the organization will need in the future.

A skills audit is more than simply collecting qualifications information. A good skills audit enables organizational leaders to build a comprehensive skills matrix and see whether each employee within the company possesses the competencies and actual skills to fulfill his/her workplace role.

The audit data can also be used to detect skill deficiencies, improve skill levels, and prevent critical skill losses. Each person who works in the organization has a set of skills. Not only is it important for the organization to know what each person’s skill set and skill levels are, but it is also important to know how these skills are utilized as part of his/her work role.

Skills audit always involve documenting the skills the organization needs to become successful, and the skills the workers already have; and at the end of the day comparing these two data sets.

In the end the skills audit provides a snapshot of the organizations skills base that allows identification of specific training needs, prioritization of training, job role matching, and the meeting of employee desires and aspirations.

Benefits of a skill audit:
The benefits of conducting a comprehensive skills audit are numerous:

ü  Placing the right people, with the right projects and job roles.
ü  Providing detailed information on the most essential areas for skills improvement.
ü  Providing detailed information to develop training and development resources.
ü  Lower training and development costs because development efforts are more focused.
ü  Defining the most urgent recruiting needs and securing the best applicants.
ü  Facilitating placement decisions.
ü  Providing accurate information to enhance career and succession planning activities.

Anticipated outcomes of a skill audit:
Thus, the most common results of any skills audit include:

ü  Comprehensive and valid workplace skills matrices and plans.
ü  Improved organizational knowledge and skills.
ü  Reduced costs of training and development.
ü  Better targeted training programs.
ü  More accurate internal employee selection, succession, and placement.
ü  Increased productivity by securing the right employees in the right places.

Downfalls of not conducting a skills audit: Organizations, which do not engage in skills audits, usually face the following problems:

ü  Having the wrong people in the wrong job roles.
ü  Inhibited job growth for your employees.
ü  Not recruiting the right applicants for both the organizations’ current and future strategic needs.
ü  Expensive and non-effective training.
ü  Training plans that are too general to bring valid results.
ü  Failure to align training priorities with the goals and priorities of the organization.
ü  Little or no commitment to training & development by management and staff, as plans are not seen as value adding.

By not doing a skills audit making effective decisions about skills management is nearly impossible. Without the audit companies are relying on methods that are subjective, inconsistent, not tailored to specific job skills, or the results are not meaningful enough to support objective and accurate decision making.

Concluding Part One:

Skills Audits answer many questions that are crucial to a business’s success.  

ü  What are our core competencies and are we leveraging them?
ü  What is our greatest skills weakness that could be hurting our productivity?
ü  Is our focus and investment in investment in skills aligned with our business goals and objectives?
ü  What are the critical skills gaps we should be focusing on?
ü  Are our initiatives reducing critical skills gaps?

Once your co-workers understand the benefits of skills audits and the problem of not engaging in skills audit, most will enthusiastically support you in the skill audit process.

For Further information on tools to manage skills in your organization please visit www.SkillsDBPro.com Written by Steven Lieberman, CEO SkillsDBPro.com

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