The Skills Evolution – More than a Summer Blockbuster

In the HR world, we’ve been talking about the “evolution of skills” and how it can benefit your talent landscape. As we’ve often seen in movies, evolution is exciting! It causes disruption that creates edge-of-your-seat-suspense. 

Take Jurassic Park – that piece of amber with an insect preserved inside seemed so promising… at first. As we all know, it eventually led to a franchise based on an evolution that went wrong. John Hammond’s scientists thought that they could predict what was going to happen, but instead, they completely changed the formula… and chaos ensued. 

This is a “summer blockbuster” take on evolution. However, building an ecosystem based on skills (not on dinosaurs) is a much safer bet. No CGI or special effects required!  

But to have success, you’ll need to take a longer-term, strategic approach that mirrors the natural course of evolution, rather than one huge disruption.  

There is so much preparation and work that needs to be put into place to make a skills ecosystem come to life. Good data, a solid foundation, change management plans, and HRIS systems to support each of them are required for a skills-based organization with high employee engagement.  

Creating Your Jurassic Park: Building the Ultimate Skills Environment & Ecosystem 

In the films, the island was the natural environment for the dinosaurs, and park rides were the vehicles that brought visitors on the adventure. The fall of the island’s ecosystem into destruction was due to external factors they were unprepared for, which HR teams would do well to learn from.  

Like Jurassic Park, you need to build an entire ecosystem for skills. There’s so much data to grapple with, from job structures, worker and learning histories, to employee data. These are the foundational pieces you’ll build on for your skills framework.  

The park ride, in our case, Workday, will be the vehicle in which employees experience the skills ecosystem, so it needs to be configured properly.  

Let’s first talk about creating the right environment – what does that look like? An intelligent architecture will include large amounts of internal data that’s cataloged, refined, and then run through an AI or ML application. A reporting layer goes on top of it, so that you can analyze the talent within your organization.  

Skills are data attributes within this larger dataset: the common thread tying together different pieces of data, building the skills DNA of your organization and employees. Skills are applied to an employee’s work, job, and learning histories, giving insight into what capabilities they have from past experiences. Add in their assigned job, stretch work assignment, or mentorships, and that DNA becomes more robust and complex.  

Next, consider skills data coming from outside sources. If you’re equipped to handle these external factors, you can prevent your ecosystem from breaking and descending into Jurassic chaos. What skills are trending or what are relevant skills for your industry? HRIS systems can consume and use data from an almost infinite set of resources and share trending skills based on your organization’s skills DNA. 

With a thriving skills ecosystem, you can have visibility into your talent pools. Using the Workday Skills Cloud with Workday Extend (including our Skills Definition app) and Workday Prism Analytics (including our Skills Gap Dashboards), you can suddenly see the skills gaps in departments, divisions, or across the organization. This allows you to build upskilling, reskilling, or focused-skills programs to fill in the missing pieces.  

Next, your skills data will drive your succession or workforce planning, with inputs and reports that can be pulled from Workday Adaptive Planning. It will provide you with deeper insight into how you strategically move or prepare to move while building a pipeline within your talent pools.  

What about the folks who aren’t yet employees but are interested in working for your organization? Once candidates upload their resume into your ATS system, their skills can be tagged to their profiles. You’ll have a pool of candidates that can be matched to your job structure, so sourcing for candidates becomes more informed because of the skills data: the first step in linking together the strands of their skills DNA.   

Boom – you’ve built your island and your park rides. But are you ready for your park visitors to arrive?  

HR’s Evolution: Preparing the HR Organization 

This is all well and good, but is your Human Resource organization equipped to interpret the data? Are they skilled in analyzing, understanding and recommending based on this information? Or are they more comfortable falling back into using their intuition, relationships, and soft skills? 

Part of the preparation needed around the skills evolution is getting the right skills into your HR organization’s DNA. Traditional HR specialists need to have different skills now to be successful at their jobs. 

Do they need to be upskilled or reskilled to read, interpret, and utilize the information that is now available at their fingertips?  

With the volume of information being processed and available in reporting and the heavy lifting being done by your organization’s solutions, the checklist of items that need to be accomplished in a day will change. HR teams will be more informed with factual and strategic data that allows them to have more meaningful conversations with the C-suite, departments, and individual leaders no matter what part of the talent lifecycle they touch.  

Every role must be filled by the right person with the right skills, just as every enclosure is home to the right dinosaur!  

Making Your Organization Skills Evolution Darwinian… Not Chaotic 

To avoid creating a trilogy of evolutionary disasters, as you’re building the infrastructure, embrace the long-term, strategic process of evolution (rather than sudden disruption) to create a team that is fit to survive.  

As the systems are being built, prepare your HR Team to “walk the talk” of skills well before employees are brought into the ecosystem. This will set everyone up for success and create a very different kind of blockbuster! 

  • HR Strategy
  • HR Tech
  • reskilling
  • Skills
  • talent strategy
  • Workday
  • Workday Skills

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