Building A Skills-Based Organization: The Exciting But Sober Reality | Josh Bersin

Talent Management

This article by Josh Bersin discusses creating a skills-based organization—highlighting the realities and challenges associated with its implementation, and providing considerations for practitioners who are responsible for navigating these challenges. While there are too many useful insights to summarize adequately from this in-depth article, a few points to highlight are: 1) Building a comprehensive skills taxonomy is a complex task, since skills fall into various categories (e.g., technical, operational, functional, industry, management, and leadership) and vary in importance across different organizations and industries. Due to the extensive number of skills in a taxonomy, every word choice becomes a matter of debate (e.g., collaboration vs. teamwork; Java or Java programming, etc.), adding to this complexity. 2) Instead of attempting a comprehensive approach to skills to start, focusing on specific problems within the organization can prove more effective. For example, if you have high turnover and low morale in customer service (the problem), you might find, after digging into the problem, that one cause is that teams may not have the right skills for the role they are in. One example mentioned is Amex—who realized that the “skills” needed in the Amex sales and service teams were not customer service skills but hospitality skills. Amex treats clients like guests, so they started recruiting from Ritz-Carlton and other hospitality companies. It took a skills-based analysis to figure this out. From the problems, organizations can determine which skills-based vendors work best in helping to solve those problems, create a process for design and governance, and more. It is important to thoroughly read the article to fully benefit from Josh’s comprehensive insights, as there is much more to explore.