Hyperautomation to weather the uncertaint

ARTICLE | May 19, 2023

Skills intelligence systems are the future

New technology pinpoints employee skills to help execs form better teams and drive business success

By Jacqui Canney, Workflow contributor

Smart corporate leaders know their people hold the key to unlocking exceptional performance. To stay ahead of the competition, they prioritise hiring, rewarding, and offering growth opportunities to people with the right skills to leverage hyper-automation and drive digital transformation. And they understand that upskilling and reskilling talent is a business imperative. If a company does not help its employees flourish in their careers, they will find other companies that do.

We see a game-changing opportunity today because technology has evolved to meet the moment. We are harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to map a skills intelligence system at scale.

Companies with a clear picture of the skills their people already have and the ones they need are best positioned to build more innovative products and deliver for customers. For decades, leaders have wanted a system that helps them understand the skills that will drive their business into the future, find and develop people with these skills, and identify high-performing talent. But putting this approach into action has been inefficient and ineffective. All too often, the different tools companies rely on for learning, goal setting, performance evaluation, and hiring do not talk to each other or offer integrated insights.

According to Teneo’s global Vision 2023 survey, only a quarter of CEOs feel that their current executive teams represent the perspectives of future generations. And an international study by i4cp showed only 30% of organisations feel they have the necessary skills for the future, while just 10% have an employee skills database or inventory with profiles for all employees. More than half of organisations believe that having insufficient data about the current skills and capabilities of the workforce is a major barrier to workforce readiness. 

To deliver on a company’s vision and rise to the top in a tough economic environment, a CEO must find new ways to realise the full potential of their workforce and maximise both engagement and performance. As with all areas of the business, CEOs need to leverage sophisticated data and insights to build the best teams with the right talent at the right time. We see a critical need for a skills intelligence system that predicts, identifies, and delivers the talent required to win—including diverse, undervalued talent with huge potential


Building a greener supply chain

Competition for skills is getting more intense, and today’s employees have a deep desire to learn and grow. Seventy-six percent of employees say they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Leaders must help people thrive at all levels by strengthening their “power skills”. Functional skills like coding are vital, but power skills—such as critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and creativity—open new doors, especially for upward mobility into leadership roles.

When companies focus on the skills their people need for the future, rather than certain degrees or job history, they also widen the talent pipeline. We all want to make our organisations more diverse, equitable, and inclusive—not just because it is right, but also because it fuels business success. According to McKinsey & Company, the most diverse companies outperform less diverse peers by 36% in profitability.

The technology that powers a skills intelligence system makes a company much smarter and more efficient when it comes to finding, hiring, and growing talent with diverse backgrounds. Leaders can make talent decisions based on data and insights, not biases or hunches. It levels the playing field for current employees by surfacing opportunities more equitably, based on the skills they have versus the people they know. It helps companies discover hidden gems: underestimated, high-performing employees who accelerate growth. And it challenges traditional hierarchical models of management by enabling leaders to quickly create skills-based teams and deploy them on the highest-impact work.

Companies with a clear picture of the skills their people already have and the ones they need are best positioned to build more innovative products and deliver for customers.

Companies with a skills intelligence system will develop higher-performing teams, a better employee experience, and more efficiency, productivity, and engagement. The system is the breakthrough: human-centred technology that transforms the way companies hire, reward, and grow their people. Unlike tools available today, it will remove the bias, friction, and errors found in traditional approaches. Companies can:

  • Be smarter and more agile, hiring the right people based on the skills they have versus their degrees or job history
  • Use skills intelligence to identify high-potential employees based on insights, not anecdotes
  • Create dynamic career paths for each employee by surfacing new opportunities for skills development, roles, and experiences within the company
  • Level the playing field for talent with rich, diverse backgrounds and capabilities

Imagine you are a CEO or C-suite leader building a dynamic, scalable skills strategy that evolves as quickly as the business. Now you have a system that both determines which skills will help your company win and seeks out the right people inside and outside of your organization. In a single-view app, the system gives you the insights to make quick, data-driven decisions to prepare your workforce. You have the analytics in your hand to share your talent vision across the enterprise.

CEOs know skills are the new currency for business. Our vision is to make the theory a reality.


Hiring the neurodiverse

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Jacqui Canney is the chief people officer at ServiceNow.