Steven Forth is a Co-Founder of TeamFit. See his Skill Profile.

 

We have had more than 100 responses to the Skill and Expertise Management 2018 survey and are starting to see some interesting results. We are sharing these now and will publish a more complete analysis in the spring. The survey will be kept open until the end of March and the final results published in April. We will share the demographics and other detailed information at that time.

Before you go on and read this post, if you have not already taken the survey, we really appreciate your doing so.

Please take the Skill and Expertise Management 2018 Survey

Why do people invest time and effort into understanding their skills and the skills of the people around them?

One can imagine many different reasons. People may want to get work and believe that documenting and demonstrating their skills will help to do this. Other people may be more focused on reflection and self-understanding. They want to understand their skills so they will know how to develop and apply them. In my own case, I am interested in what skills other people are developing. I want to understand this so that I can better support the people I work with and so that I can understand larger skill trends.

What does the survey tell us?

The top responses so far are as follows:

“It will help me better understand myself and my potential.” with a very high overall score of 4.89.
“It will help me succeed with my career goals.” at 4.65.
“It will help my co-workers better understand myself and my potential.” at 4.23.

Some of the interesting comments in the “other” category were …

“monitoring the development of cross-disciplinary collaboration capabilities (increasingly important)”

“Training new team members on their role. Making sure they understand their role and the expectations and how it affects the company.”

“Personal satisfaction: better skill-management leads to better project-selection which leads to better professional experiences.”

My favourite was

“Being able to understand how you can best give value to others.”

I most want to connect skills to …

One of the design principles behind TeamFit is that of ‘connection.’ We believe that skill data only becomes meaningful and actionable when connected to other things, such as people, projects and roles. So we asked the question “I most want to connect my skills to …”

The top three answers were as follows.

My career goals – chosen by 68 respondents.
Career opportunities – chosen by 65.
Learning resources – chosen by 61.

The top choice is interesting and was a bit of a surprise. Career goals are proving to be something that resonates with a lot of people. We are doing research into this, inviting people to sketch mind maps of their career goals and then looking for patterns. We are also going to see if these career goal mind maps can be used to enhance skill management. See some updates on this work here.

Some of the more interesting notes in the “Other” category are given below.

“Those who are looking for a mentor to acquire similar skills.”

“Career goals aside, I need to get shit done by bringing other people together.” (That is also how I feel).

“Connect skills to clients’ needs.”

Skill management is most valuable to my organization because it will help us to…

Moving up to the organizational level, we asked: “Skill management is most valuable to my organization because it will help us to…”

Here the most common responses were as follows.

“Get people into the right roles.” with a score of 6.62.
“Get people on the right teams.” at 5.41.
“Deliver projects more successfully.” at 5.09.
“Develop the right skills.” at 5.03.

We also had an open question on the organizational value of skill management as this is critical to TeamFit’s business and something we are working to understand better. SurveyMonkey has a simple tag cloud generator so we took a quick look at that.

This is not hugely informative, so we dug into the individual comments.

Some comments really captured what we are doing at TeamFit.

“I think often this is reduced to an inventory by some employers like skills are static parts of a jigsaw puzzle. The idea of skill management as a more contextual and developmental approach is much more likely to result in deeper commitments, more appropriate evaluations, and even ensure that the employer creates a maximal working environment for growing success, especially in a project-based economy.”

“Optimal teams create better business and ultimately help the organization to progress further. Given the changing world, there needs to be a dynamic approach to skill management. It should be constantly evolving to meet current and future market demand. A resilient and agile workforce is the key to success.”

There are some skeptics as well.

“For very large organizations who need to make such approximations, I can see some value, but performance, at a task or role, is not predicted by skill management – it’s affected by emotion, mood, climate, culture and many other things. The potential value here is to get the least useful part of the equation very automated so that people can focus on human performance.”

The comments covered a wide range of different topics, but some themes were discernible.

  1. Agility and continuous improvement
    “Continuous improvement”
    “continuous organizational learning”
    “Adapt skills and human needs with ever-changing business requirements like Macgyver (adapts to task) vs Tiger Woods (expert on golf… only)”
  2. Alignment
    “Putting the right people with the right skills with the right values with the right culture in the right place and in the right time.”
    “Matching available skills in an organization to organizational goals.”
    “Aligning individual strengths and skills with organizational mission, vision and values; making each employee aware of the skills they acquire or further develop as each of them progresses over time.”
  3. Efficiency
    “Cost saving by discovering skills of internal employees instead of hiring external contractors.”
    “Having a well-rounded team. Making sure there is redundancy in the group (in case someone leaves or there is an emergency/need for replacement).”
    “Managing organizational capability and change effectively and efficiently.”

I would like to be able to integrate skill data with the following applications …

At TeamFit, we see skills as the connector that can organize how data is shared across other enterprise systems. See for example Skills are the new currency for learning and development. We are always interested in the integration points between skill management and other systems. Not surprisingly, the most common request is to connect skill management to LinkedIn. Hopefully, Microsoft will allow this in the future and include LinkedIn data into the Microsoft Graph. Meanwhile, TeamFit makes it possible to download your profile from LinkedIn and upload it to TeamFit.

To my surprise, after LinkedIn, the most requested integrations were for working applications rather than talent management or HR applications. The top two applications classes were …

A project management systems like Asana Basecamp, Trello or Wrike.
A communication platform like Slack, Hipchat or Microsoft Teams.
“A MOOC like Coursera or Educause.”

It is interesting that the the most popular learning related application was not an enterprise application but applications from the universities which are providing vast amounts of learning content.

We are not going to draw any conclusions from this preliminary data, but we do want your thoughts. You can e-mail me directly at steven.forth@teamfit.co. We are also asking people what areas they would like us to focus on for our skill trends research. Right now the popular themes are ‘Design and Design Thinking,’ ‘AI and Machine Learning’ and ‘Digital Transformation.’

Please share the survey link widely. Here is the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/skill18