One of the services TeamFit delivers using its skill management platform is Skill Insights. There are a number of specific business cases, but the most common is the following question.

“Do we have the skills we need to achieve our goals?”

Generally this is broken down into asking questions about the present state and the future desired state. Most companies have plans to enter new markets, roll out new products, or adopt a new technology. Management needs to know where there are skill gaps and how they are going to fill them.

We have seen three basic approaches to filling skill gaps. TeamFit gives insight into each of them. We refer to these three strategies at the 3Ss: Shuffling, Skilling and Swapping Out.

Shuffling Skilling and Swapping are the three ways to close skill gaps

Shuffling is the best approach but in fact it is seldom used. In a shuffling strategy people are reallocated across the organization to get better alignment between people’s actual skills and company needs. In most companies there is a mismatch between the skills a person has, the job they are doing, and where they can have most impact. A skill insight process can uncover these opportunities to realign staff. Typically, this is a win-win, the individual is glad to put their skills to the best use and the company does not have to train people or hire in.

Skilling Of course one cannot always find the skills needed to fill a skill gap, or even when they exist it may be impossible to shuffle the person with the skills into a new role. But there are often people with potential to learn the new skills required. Broadly-based retraining programs are seldon effective. The same is true of training based on avaialbility. The people selected for reskilling will generally only be successful when they meet three criteria. (i) They have strong foundational skills that are relevant to the target subject area. There is no point in trying to train a person with poor mathematical skills on big data, or a person with low empathy in design thinking. (ii) Their current skill profile should have skills associated with the new skill. This is one of the ways the TeamFit platform identifies potential skills for people. A person with good analystical skills, some story telling skills and experience in sales will probably be able to learn the critical marketing skills. (iii) Finally, it helps a lot if the person wants to learn the new skill. TeamFit lets people and companies signal the skills they want to develop.

Swapping people out and replacing them should not be undertaken lightly. It is costly and often bad for morale. Sometimes it is necessary. Organizations need new ideas and experiences and hiring new people is one way to inject new energy. This often requires that some of the current team leave. Today though, companies tend to package out whole classes of people. They work with a cleaver and not a scalpel. Many companies find out too late that they have let go of people with skills they need, and end up bringing people back as expensive contractors or having to backfill and rehire people for the skills they have lost. Expensive. Culture destroying. Counter productive. TeamFit can help you avoid this by identifying the people in your organization with differentiated and relevant skills so that you can be sure to keep them.

Before you undertake a major new initiative you should conduct a skill insight process (sometimes called a skill audit) to find not just the skill gaps, but the most effective way to fill them.
Learn more about TeamFit Skill Insight.