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What Is Skills Intelligence, And Why Does It Matter?

How do you know when to build, buy or borrow talent? What is the most efficient way to build the workforce of the future?

You have to be able to see what skills you need, the skills you have, and the potential you have to gather or develop those skills. 

Skills are now a hugely important currency in talent. Using skills as a unit of measurement helps organizations make better informed decisions throughout the talent lifecycle – which is why skills-based transformation is high on the agenda for so many companies. 

What is Skills Intelligence? 💡

Skills Intelligence is at the heart of a skills-based approach. It informs hiring, restructuring and training strategies, and helps you build a new kind of agile business with a culture of lifelong learning.  

Skills Intelligence is like having a detailed map of all the skills within your organization. It’s not just about knowing what skills your team members have; it’s about understanding how those skills fit together, where there might be gaps, and how to make the most of what you’ve got.

“Skills... can be the building block of how we think about talent going forward... the unit of currency, as I like to think about it.” – Ellie Bertani, SVP of HR Transformation & Services, Wells Fargo

Skills Intelligence helps you answer the crucial questions: 

  • What skills do I have? 
  • How do they relate? 
  • What are the gaps? 
  • Who should I hire, develop or redeploy to meet business needs? 

And build a dynamic workforce plan for your future needs. 

How do you create Skills Intelligence? 🧩

Create skills definitions

You first a system to classify and organize skills within your organization. Break down the various skills required across different roles and functions into manageable categories and subcategories, with clear definitions.

This is how you will consistently describe people, and work, in a skills-first organization. 

Bring your skills data together

Data about the skills inside your company is usually spread across different systems.

True Skills Intelligence means unifying (and normalizing) skills data from different sources and systems (such as CRM, ATS and LMS) into a single, universal framework. This provides a consistent and real-time view of what you have today, and what you’ll need to plan for in the future.

And it goes beyond employees. A comprehensive skills database will also include the skills of your wider talent pool: silver medallists, previous applicants, alumni, proactively sourced candidates, and members of your talent community. 

Enrich and enhance your skills data 

Once you have your connected data, from across your HR tech ecosystem, you will need to make sure the data is rich and complete enough to be useable. AI is invaluable here. 

Smart explainable AI (ideally, AI that is transparent, and has been audited for bias) can infer the skills someone may have but inadvertently left off their CV – or skills someone could learn. Bringing “adjacent skills” in to talent profiles will give you a far richer dataset. 

Enrich your data further, and track global trends, with the inclusion of live labor market data. See which skills are on the rise, or on the decline; assess the market value, popularity and availability of different skills, alongside your own internal skills insights.

Smart solutions can keep the data up to date as things change.

Build a dynamic Job Architecture

A Job Architecture helps you connect your skills to your roles. Done well, it brings together all of your talent data – employee and candidate skills, and market data – with skills-based outcomes like recruiting, sourcing, onboarding, and redeployment. It serves as a key link between your organization’s talent demand (the work and skills needed) and your talent supply (the talent and skills that are available to your organization).

Your Job Architecture should be dynamic – the data updates automatically, any time the standard skills required for a particular role evolve, for example. (Again, AI can work behind the scenes to deliver that real-time view, and help ensure accuracy and relevancy.) 

Why Does Skills Intelligence Matter? 🩵

Fill Skills Gaps 

Nearly 83% of human resources leaders say they struggle to find enough talent with the necessary skills – Gartner

With skills intelligence, you can make smarter decisions about everything from hiring to training. You’ll know exactly what skills are needed for each job, where there might be shortages, and how to best invest in developing your team. Crucially, you will be able to (continually) find ways to address skills gaps, with a ready source of information on what you have at your fingertips. 

Stay Ahead of the Curve 

In 2030, talent shortages could result in about $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues. – Korn Ferry

Skills are constantly evolving. Skills Intelligence helps you keep up, by spotting trends early and making sure your team has the skills they need to stay competitive. You can no longer make a 5-year plan for talent, and sit back. You need dynamic insights that allow you to stay nimble as new roles and requirements emerge, in every industry. 

Build a Stronger Team

58% of employees surveyed believe that the skills their job requires will change significantly in the next five years – WEF

By understanding your team’s skills inside and out, you can create opportunities for them to grow and excel. Whether it’s through training programs, mentorship, or new projects, Skills Intelligence helps you nurture talent and build a stronger, more resilient team.

Adapt to Change

Change is inevitable in business, but with deep, dynamic skills intelligence, you can be prepared. By knowing exactly what skills your team has and how they can be deployed, you can adapt quickly to new challenges and seize opportunities as they arise.

Learn more about Skills Intelligence from Beamery.