Rely more on technology for data on employee skills
Q: Our company appears unable to track the skills, knowledge and capabilities of our staff and then use these characteristics in business operations. What can we do to enhance this process?
A: Historically, many organizations have built data storehouses of employee skills, knowledge and capabilities by capturing data from employees using various checklists and then inputting the raw data or codes into databases. Unfortunately, most of these databases have had limited search and/or retrieval capabilities, and these data compilation efforts have been less than successful in matching employee skills and talent with company needs in a timely manner; so why not revise the process?
Technological innovations such as scanning, data mining and enterprisewide software now enable an organization to capture, cross-utilize and retrieve information from diverse sources. Documents including resumes, employment applications, project management records, capability statements, workflow documents, department records, workforce forecasts, business development plans, performance appraisals, succession plans and employee wish lists can be organized in the company's data warehouse to aid in the identification of employee talent, skills, knowledge and capabilities.
Once this veritable mother lode of data has been mined, it is amenable to being sorted, categorized and assessed to meet organizational needs. The organization can then begin to build its own detailed histories of each employee's relevant skills, knowledge and capabilities, using the data in a format that is business friendly. Employees can attest to the accuracy of the data by including this as a step in the existing processes for performance appraisal and succession planning.
A far larger universe of information coupled with the organization's development of its own business-driven histories of employee capabilities could result in a giant step forward in matching employee skills with business requirements.
Data mining and warehousing techniques can serve not only as a useful strategic tool in meeting business needs but also as a tool for enhancing task and team performance, recognizing talent capabilities and development, and furthering business development goals.
Article by Naomi Cossack, SPHR, is the manager of online content in SHRM's Information Center from http://www.shrm.org/kc/solutions/articles/archives/CMS_018973.asp#P-8_0