How people move through their careers continues to evolve. The linear “career ladder” was replaced by “career lattice,” a more dynamic approach to employee career growth. But the lattice, which still approaches careers in terms of specific roles, is being replaced by a more modern dynamic approach. Disruption and technological innovation happen so rapidly that employees’ roles are increasingly fluid, and it’s skills—not roles—that define their development.
Today, companies are beginning to think about careers as a journey, where employees leverage their existing skills, identify opportunities to expand them, and even gain entirely new skills. It’s a more natural and intuitive way to grow, according to Ike Bennion, Principal, Product Marketing Strategist here at Cornerstone.
“What people are calling ‘roles’ is constantly becoming more and more out of date—because what a role expects of you is shifting really quickly,” says Bennion. “‘Skills’ are a way to help break down what roles are, so that we don’t necessarily have to rewrite the entire job description every time a task or a role of responsibility shifts or changes within your organization.”
But this organic skills development is only possible with technology as a catalyst. Enter: the Cornerstone Skills Graph. Our AI-driven solution detects and analyzes skills from different sources to identify new learning, development and mobility opportunities. The Skills Graph allows for a clear understanding of skills associated with people, learning content and jobs—helping companies understand how to close skills gaps while also fulfilling the desire that their employees have to learn and grow. Ike Bennion calls this the “push and pull” of the Cornerstone Skills Graph: driving skills development in priority areas for the company (push) but also empowering employees to own their development (pull).
Using the Skills Graph to Find the Right Person for the Right Role
To build the Skills Graph, we combed the web to create an extensive backend library and workflow that maps out all possible skills associated with any given role.
For example, if you were launching a new product, you would initially look for someone who has the skills to build it. But beyond that, you might consider someone who has experience in change management or project management so they can contribute to the larger project in more than one way. Using AI, the Skills Graph compares skills associated with certain projects against existing employee skills to identify the ideal candidate. The Skills Graph can also bolster that person’s development in the process by making learning recommendations to expand these existing skills during their work on the project.
The underlying ideology of the Skills Graph is to match the multiple dimensions of a person to the multiple dimensions of a job. Instead of exclusively focusing on what someone has demonstrated they’re good at, the Skills Graph takes a much more multidimensional lens. It also considers what someone might be interested in, what they enjoy doing, and which skills they want to develop.
Employee Development—and Happiness—is Good For Business
Empowering employees to learn cultivates a supportive environment that’s more conducive to skills development and growth. We know that every employee is different, with unique skills and interests, yet oftentimes organizations can unknowingly limit growth by putting employees in boxes.
“For example, I could be a good salesperson, but if I hated it, what’s the point?” says Bennion. “My heart’s not in it. I’m not really looking to grow and thrive in this role, even though on paper I could do the job.”
That’s why the Skills Graph is integrated across multiple suites (Learning, Performance and, soon, Recruiting)—to offer a full picture of the employee. This interconnectivity is especially useful during development moments, such as a performance review. Insight from the Skills Graph allows employers and managers to understand more about the employee, personalize their growth to their level of expertise, and work out what learning content they need access to in order to excel.
It’s essential to make learning materials readily available so employees can learn in the flow of work. Learning in the flow of work means providing learning when it’s needed—not after the fact, not separately. Not only is this approach to development good for people—it’s also good for business. As Bennion says, “Using skills as a way to organize initiatives, learning content and resources can help organizations better deploy people in the organization to be more effective.”
Skills help organizations to truly understand their people. Not only does that make it easier to pivot your people faster and match them to initiatives that drive real, quantifiable outcomes, but it also helps employees feel supported and eager to grow within the organization. Ultimately, it’s an approach that strengthens a team and boosts performance. With the Skills Graph, employers can invest in their employees’ future as well as their business’.
For additional insights about how employees identify and develop their employees’ skills, check out our global skills report.
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