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Embracing the “Skills-Based” Approach

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I saw a statistic recently that made me think: In July of last year, the highest number of U.S. employers than ever before reported unfilled positions. No doubt, it’s become increasingly difficult to attract and retain employees—and organizations are really feeling that strain.

Yet, according to reports by Deloitte and Korn Ferry, there may be a clear solution to this problem, one that doesn’t center around more money or fancy perks. It’s about transforming your vision of work from job-oriented to skills-based, and becoming what experts are calling a “skills-based organization.”

“Organizations must shift from understanding the unit of work in terms of fixed, static jobs to reimaging it in terms of a dynamic landscape of skills that can be agilely deployed to work as it continuously evolves,” writes Deloitte’s Michael Griffiths.

Korn Ferry’s “Future of Work Trends 2022” report found that successful organizations are shifting their thinking towards understanding and cultivating the capabilities needed to flourish in their markets—not in terms of job titles, but rather in terms of the skills, mindsets and general expertise. “They then focus on sourcing and developing these through reskilling, upskilling, recruitment or drawing on the wider ‘gig economy’ of flexible workers,” the report explains.

I began to think about what this might look like in practice. Considering that the Korn Ferry report found 69% of the world’s most admired companies value learning agility and curiosity over career history and experience when it comes to hiring, it clearly starts at the beginning. No longer should you be looking at a job description and trying to match a candidate’s resume bullet points to it. At WAHVE, we blind-screen candidates based on skills and organizational fit, ensuring that those who are hired have both the right skillsets and mindsets to thrive in their new environments.

When it comes to keeping their best and brightest people, a skills-based organization would consider what goals it wants to achieve and then identify the capabilities needed to achieve them. It then looks at its workforce as a whole—without siloes or departmental breakdowns—and finds the people who can contribute most effectively to each strategic mission. As Korn Ferry puts it: “Expect more project-based working, where teams assemble to achieve specific goals before dispersing back out into the organization.”

Since professional development and learning opportunities are consistently listed as top benefits that employees seek from their organizations and can act as a strong motivator, a skills-based organization would also encourage its people to pursue projects based on their interests and skillsets.

I tend to think this skills-based approach is the way of the future, as WAHVE’s very business model is based on the belief that individuals’ skills and professional goals are what drive their ability to succeed in any environment—and it benefit organizations immensely.

What do you think? Have you made the transition to a skills-based organization?

1 thought on “Embracing the “Skills-Based” Approach”

  1. Love the article! Skills based is more important than how many years an applicant spent in a particular type of position, since these skills are transferable.

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