How to Accelerate a Skills-Based Talent Strategy

The world of work is changing rapidly. To stay competitive, organizations must transition from traditional role-based talent approaches to skill-based talent strategies that:

  • Grow the talent pools you need
  • Increase organizational agility
  • Improve engagement and talent retention
  • Make learning more effective
  • Improve diversity, equity and inclusion

A common mistake is focusing too narrowly on technical skills. While important, many of these will be impacted by AI and automation. The key is developing “power skills” — also called soft skills — like emotional intelligence, communication, critical thinking and design thinking. These human-centric skills are invaluable and future-proof.

Research shows power skills are what organizations need most to address the future of work. In a Brandon Hall Group™ study, these power skills top the list in terms of importance:

A new eBook, co-produced by Brandon Hall Group™ and ETU, lays out a model for skills intelligence as the key to building a skills-based talent strategy. Skills intelligence involves:

  • A skills framework. This is the foundational layer, underpinning the whole strategy. It enables creation of a consistent skills language across the enterprise.
  • Skills mapping. This involves cataloging existing skills across the organization and identifying skill gaps.
  • Skills assessment. The shift to a skills-based talent strategy requires a transformation of assessment. There should be a two-pronged approach — technology-driven and people-driven, which is explained in the
  • Precision-based skills development. In a skills-based talent strategy, learning should be based on assessment results and allow learners to practice skills and apply them to real workplace situations.
  • Skills verification. The biggest missing link in the traditional approach to learning measurement is verification of skills application.
  • Data and analytics. To enable skills intelligence, employers must bring together diverse talent data sources like learning management systems, HR information systems and performance management platforms into a central skills database. This provides a single source of truth.

Mastering skills intelligence delivers results like growing strategic talent pools, increasing agility, boosting engagement and retention, improving diversity and inclusion and making learning more effective.

The skills-based future is coming. Organizations that embrace this approach set themselves up for long-term success.

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Claude Werder



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Claude Werder

Claude J. Werder Senior Vice President and Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group Claude Werder runs Brandon Hall Group’s Talent Management, Leadership Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) practices. His specific areas of focus include how organizations must transform culturally and strategically to meet the needs of the emerging workforce and workplace. Claude develops insights and solutions on employee experience, leadership, coaching, talent development, assessments, culture, DE&I, and other topics to help members and clients make talent development a competitive business advantage now and in the evolving future of work. Before joining Brandon Hall Group in 2012, Claude was an HR consultant and also spent more than 25 years as an executive and people leader for media and news organizations. This included a decade as the producer of the HR Technology Conference and Expo. He helped transform it from a small event to the world’s largest HR technology conference. Claude is a judge for the global Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards and Excellence in Technology Awards, contributes to the company’s HCM certification programs, and produces the firm’s annual HCM Excellence Conference. He is also a certified executive and leadership coach. He lives in Boynton Beach, FL.