The ‘skills-first’ model of talent acquisition and management is the key to thrive in the evolving landscape for tech-driven enterprises
When times change, innovation and revamping operational procedures comes across as the best way to ensure resilience and maintain performance levels in an organisation. Of late, the dynamic changes in employment and head-hunting, and the rising emphasis on employee engagement, and retention has significantly changed workforce management. Today, the key to optimisation of the human resources available lies in understanding skills and skill adjacencies. Companies are paying more attention to internal relocation of resources and creating precise learning and skill development strategies to get better outcomes.
In this scenario, it is very clear that skills-based hiring processes are far more effective compared to the conventional job titles-driven recruitment. There is a paradigm shift that is based on identifying an individual’s ability to perform, adapt to the demands of the role, and capacity for growth. There is much greater emphasis now on soft skills such as learning agility and adaptability. Technologies are changing rapidly, and change-resistance can be the biggest detriment to an individual’s growth and capability of contributing to the organisation’s growth as well. Therefore, it is important to foster a workforce that is ready to take up new roles and acquire skills that prepare them for those roles.
This kind of approach can be successful only when it is adequately backed by transparent internal mobility and recruitment focus. Companies that put in place tools and systems that empower employees to express their expectations, future growth aspirations and share opportunities with them that can take them closer to their goals, are also the ones that will perform better in the years ahead.
Why change to ‘Skills-First’
The shift to a Skills-First approach is directly reflective of the way the operational landscape has changed. One can no longer acquire skills that guarantee a lifetime of employment especially in the field of technology. Skills have become fluid and it is not uncommon to see them become outdated in a time frame shorter than what it takes to obtain a graduate degree or a PG diploma nowadays. Even though the job titles remain the same, the roles and the execution strategies are constantly changing. For instance, we still have computer programmers, but what a programmer does today is vastly different from what he did 15 years ago. There are also new roles that are emerging with the change in tech landscape, and they need to be catered to. For instance, nobody worked as a ‘Full Stack Developer’ at the start of the millennium, but today it is a key role in almost every tech organisation. Thus, it is important to understand that new skills are emerging and they are necessitating creation of new roles as well as redefining existing or conventional job titles.
This skills-driven strategy has led to most prominent employers starting their skill assessment journey for new hires, even before the start of the formal recruitment process. There are world-class, AI-powered skills intelligence tools to ensure there is no inherent bias in the process, no error or inconsistency of judgment and a focus on the skills that candidates possess instead of the job titles they hold. Organisations are using smart skills cloud and skills-driven hiring processes to continuously gain insights into their internal talent pool’s skill assessment, and use this skills intelligence to determine learning programmes as well as the hiring strategies. All this is being done automatically without manual inputs from the employees.
Companies that proactively embrace the new approach and adopt the right AI-powered skills intelligence tool will edge out those that continue to rely on traditional and time-consuming methodologies, and achieve superior growth as well as talent retention outcomes!
(The writer is Co- Founder & CTO, iMocha. The views expressed are personal))