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Navigating the Future: Mapping Your Journey to a Skills-Based Workday

The transition to a skills-based organization is a strategic evolution crucial for businesses aiming to thrive in today’s dynamic economic landscape. In this instalment of our LinkedIn series, we explore the journey towards more skills-based ways of working within Workday environments, offering a high-level roadmap to effectively integrate skills management into your organizational strategy. This guide is designed to assist HR leaders and decision-makers in understanding the stages of adoption and how to plan for success.

Understanding the Workday Skills Journey

Embarking on a skills-based transformation requires a comprehensive approach, as we have previously covered in the first article. Any transformation that aims for success needs to include both technology transformation and strong change management practices that align with your organization’s unique needs and readiness. It is equally important to recognize that your Workday Skills Journey is always going to be a phased process and that it’s very important to tailor your phases and have patience as the new ways of working are embedded in both your technologies and your HR / People service.

  • Assessment and Readiness: Before diving into a skills-based transformation, it is vital to evaluate your current HR technology landscape and workforce capabilities. Understanding where you stand in terms of skills inventory and technological support, to the rollout of your strategy is crucial. This stage involves identifying the gaps in your current system(s) and determining organizational readiness and appetite for adopting new processes. For more detail on this stage of your transformation, read our first article in this series here.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Once your initial assessment is complete, the next step is to plan the integration of skills into your Workday environment. The first step usually involves identifying key stakeholder groups that work with Skills data – these groups typically include your internal consultancy functions (such as Global Talent Management, Learning, People Analytics, Organizational Effectiveness / Development) or your HR Business Partnering group if you operate on a more direct model of the HR / People function. Once the key stakeholder groups are identified, it’s also important to map out what technologies are currently available and what functionality is being used by the different stakeholder groups, critically focusing on any Skills functionality that is already live and utilized – this will help you define your requirements and your technology baseline, as well as understanding how the key groups work together on any existing Skills projects or initiatives and how much access they have to each other’s data. Working together, these groups can get to work at defining skills that are critical for your business, aligning them with your strategic current and future business goals, and mapping out how these skills will be managed within Workday – keeping in mind the dual nature of skills data, which is both individual and organizational. This stage is all about setting clear objectives for what you want to achieve through this transformation and making sure everyone involved has the same understanding of the work ahead.
  • Implementation and Integration: With a plan in place and with stakeholder buy-in, the focus shifts to the practical aspects of implementation. This includes configuring your Workday environment to support skills-based management by activating the Workday Skills Cloud and making skills available for employees to input. A significant (but crucial) piece of work is defining key & critical skills for your organization’s jobs on a more granular level – for which the strategic alignment work can serve as a basis, as that data serves as a basis for machine learning, suggestions, and employee development self-service initiatives. Additional work can be tailored to your individual needs such as setting up skills dashboards and tracking, integrating learning management systems, and ensuring that all data sources drawing on skills data are synchronized. Effective integration and availability of relevant data for the different groups within HR and people management is key to ensuring that the skills data flows seamlessly across all HR and business processes.
  • Training and Adoption: To maximize the benefits of your new skills-based system, you should plan for comprehensive training and change management for HR teams and managers. A Skills-based organization represents a significant shift in Talent Management practices and key users should be comfortable with using the system to make informed decisions about talent in the context of their role. A key element of successful adoption also involves regular feedback loops to refine the processes and ensure they meet the organization’s and employees’ needs.
  • Evaluation and Scaling: The final stage of the Workday Skills Journey is evaluating the impact of the skills-based approach on organizational performance. This involves agreeing realistic and measurable ROI measures transparent to the organization, analysing metrics related to, for example recruitment efficiency, employee engagement, and business outcomes. Based on these insights, the system can be scaled and optimized as you get into the rhythm of continuous improvement.

The Benefits of a Skills-Based Workday

The integration of a skills-based framework within Workday offers numerous benefits:

  • Enhanced Agility: Organizations can quickly redeploy talent in response to changing business needs, thanks to a clear understanding of available skills.
  • Improved Talent Acquisition, Development and Retention: A more precise match between candidates’ skills and job requirements leads to better hiring decisions (both internally and externally) and higher employee satisfaction.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: HR leaders can make more informed decisions about workforce planning and development initiatives based on available, reliable, and up-to-date skills data.

Moving Forward

As you consider transitioning to a skills-based approach within your Workday environment, remember that the journey is as important as the destination. Each step, from assessment to evaluation, builds on the previous one to create a robust framework that supports your strategic goals.

Stay tuned for more insights as we explore real-world success stories, the role of skills in tomorrow’s world, and conclude the series with our eagerly awaited webinar.

Lea Ralic – Talent & Skills Lead, VirtualResource

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