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Skills Tracking Lets Firms Measure Bench Strength, Or Does It?

Team TCCGAZ Info Articles

The promise of an employee skills database is that a company can track employee proficiencies and tap the database to identify an employee whose attributes can meet certain job requirements. The database also aids a company in its efforts to anticipate an approaching talent shortage and take action to avert it before it occurs. Equally important, the employee skills database is key to the creation and maintenance of career-development paths.

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To create an employee skills database, an employer creates records of the skills and qualifications of each employee. For instance, an employee’s skills and competencies might include prior job titles, formal training, technical expertise, certifications, college degrees, geographical experience, career aspirations, coaching aptitude and languages spoken. Once the data is created, human resources personnel and managers or leaders can review the data to analyze the current strengths and weaknesses of one or all of a company’s employees.

Consulting and staffing firms, in particular, consider the work required to deploy and maintain a skills tracking database to be well worth the effort because firm reputations depend on the effective deployment of staff for a wide range of projects. Other companies may opt for a talent profile database that lists employee-specific information, such as jobs an employee has held and the languages he speaks. But regardless of the approach a company takes, Aon Consulting, states that less than 25 percent of employers accurately forecast potential skills shortages using skills tracking databases.

Shortcomings of a Skills Tracking Database

The shortcomings of a skills database include the fact that the database is difficult to create. When employees document their qualifications, it’s common for them to overstate skills and proficiency levels. In turn, managers may restrict the data they provide for fear other managers will attempt to poach their best-performing employees. Also, managers might rubber-stamp employee claims, rather than review them carefully for accuracy. The result can be a company over confident in current employee skill sets and guilty of under-estimating the need to recruit new employees.

Another issue with the skills data store is the difficulty in defining skills and competency level categories for the database, which accurately reflect employee proficiency levels. For instance, documenting a small number of core skills, such as leadership and project management, is problematic because data becomes based on judgment, rather than fact. As a result, data is inconsistent at best and meaningless at worst.

Also, an employee’s documented qualifications might suggest his skills and credentials have prepared him to assume a management role. The employee’s soft skills, however, are much less easy to gauge. Consequently, an additional method must be used to determine if an employee is ready to become a manager.

Another problem is that while many organizations document training courses as employees complete them, this type of database is insufficiently sophisticated to forecast a potential lack of skills that may result as the baby boom generation of workers begins to retire.

Every company leader hopes for ways to identify employee skills and in particular leadership skills. But today, a gap still exists between the requirements for the ideal skills tracking database and the functionality of the skills tracking databases that do exist. Consequently, to be successful in identifying an employee with the right stuff for a particular opportunity, the database information must be supplemented by enforced policies that ensure supervisors review and discuss data documented by employees or their managers. In addition, the usefulness of the skills tracking database is enhanced when the definitions of skills and ratings is very specific, consistent and meaningful, while simultaneously simple and realistic.

But the real value of the database is dependent on management’s use of it, which can be enforced by considering its use in a manger’s formal performance review. In turn, managers are more likely to rely on the skills tracking system if it provides accurate and useful findings.

Here, at The Call Center Group A-Z, we utilize both our proprietary recruitment technology and intensive manual vetting process, to help ensure that we match the very best talent for our client’s specific needs.

Click here to learn more about our process and how The Call Center Group A-Z can help you with your Call Center Staffing, Executive Recruitment or Outsourcing needs.

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