Human Resources

Organizational Skills Inventory: 5 Use Cases

July 21, 2023
2 minutes

What is an organizational skills inventory?

An organizational skills inventory identifies the skills and competencies present within the workforce, providing valuable insights into employee capabilities, interests, and areas of improvement. It requires an organization to have a skills profile for each employee, indicating the skills they possess and could include the skills the employee aspires to develop. An organizational skills inventory is a powerful tool that has emerged to address the rapid changes in competitive business environments, and helps organizations optimize their workforce.

Use cases for an organizational skills inventory

The use cases for an organizational skills inventory vary based on different organization’s sizes, goals, and industries. Creating a skills inventory is a worthwhile undertaking. Let’s dive into some of the use cases:

1. Uncover Hidden Skills in the Workforce

Employees have more skills than those outlined in the job description for their role. Employees are people. They bring skills from previous roles, careers, and other parts of their lives. These might not be skills that are known to anyone in the organization. The employee would not have mentioned them in their resume or job interview, if those skills were not related to the job. As a result, organizations have latent talents that are untapped. 

By implementing an organizational skills inventory, organizations can effectively identify those hidden skills, opening up new possibilities for project assignments, cross-functional collaboration, and career development.

2. A More Positive Employee Experience

Inviting employees to share their full skill set with their Managers could be a nurturing and positive experience. Some employees may feel like they are being encouraged to bring their whole selves to work. They may feel that their talents and interests are valued, and in turn they may feel more motivated to contribute to the organization’s success.

3. Make Learning & Development Investment More Effective

An organizational skills inventory can contribute to a more effective and efficient learning and development program by identifying skills gaps. Abandoning a one-size-fits-all approach to learning, and targeting resources on the most important skills gaps improves training metrics for the organization.  

4. Focus Learning & Development Spend on the Most Important Skills

Not all skills gaps have an equal impact on organizational performance and growth. Some skills are critical and can significantly affect overall productivity and success. By pinpointing these key skills gaps through an organizational skills inventory, businesses can strategically channel their training investments to where they matter most, ensuring maximum returns on their efforts and resources.

5. Resourcing: From Job-Focused to Skills-First

In traditional job-focused organizations, work assignments are often based on job functions and personal relationships. However, adopting a skills-first approach changes this dynamic. In a skills-first organization, work is assigned to individuals based on their specific skill sets, ensuring that tasks are tackled by the most qualified and interested employees. This not only enhances productivity but also promotes a culture of continuous learning and skill development.

The skills you have vs the skills you need

An organizational skills inventory is only one side of the coin because it looks at the skills that the organization has in its workforce. The other side of the coin involves considering the skills that the organization needs to compete.  

It’s worth a moment to consider what’s involved with the assessment of the skills an organization needs:

  • Market Analysis: Identifying the skills that will be most valuable in the future involves understanding the market trends, technological advancements, potential policy implications and other industry disurptions.
  • Strategic Plan: A market analysis looks outward while a strategic plan looks inward. Where does the organization aim to go in the future? This should align with the organization’s mission, vision and values. 

The output of this exercise should identify the high level competencies that the organization needs to compete into the future. Comparing the organizational skills inventory to the skills that are required outputs the skills gaps.

Looking ahead

An organizational skills inventory is a powerful tool that empowers organizations to unleash the full potential of their workforce. By identifying hidden talents, promoting a positive employee experience, and strategically targeting learning and development efforts, an OSI can lead to enhanced productivity, job satisfaction, and overall success.

However, to achieve sustainable growth and competitiveness, organizations must also consider the skills they need to compete effectively in the ever-changing business landscape. Conducting a thorough market analysis and aligning it with a well-defined strategic plan allows businesses to identify the critical skills required for their future success.

The true power of an organizational skills inventory lies in its ability to bridge the gap between the skills an organization currently possesses and the skills it needs to thrive. By integrating the findings from the inventory with skill projections for the future, businesses can make informed decisions about talent development, strategic talent acquisition, and fostering a culture of continuous learning.

In this dynamic and fast-paced world, organizations must be agile and adaptable to stay ahead of the competition. Embracing both sides of the coin - understanding the skills that are already present within the workforce and proactively acquiring the skills needed for the future - will position businesses to not only survive but thrive in the face of uncertainty.

An organizational skills inventory is not a standalone solution, but rather a vital component of a comprehensive talent management strategy. When combined with a forward-looking approach to skill projection and acquisition, it becomes a driving force in unleashing the potential of both the organization and its employees, setting the stage for sustained growth, innovation, and success in the years to come.

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