A More-Human Approach to Skills Matching

May 30, 2024

Work is changing rapidly - the World Economic Forum estimates that 23% of jobs will change in the next five years. Business leaders seeking a competitive edge often take a skills-centric approach to find, develop, and keep top talent and to establish the agility required to keep up with the pace of change.

Companies have invested heavily in technology to address their changing skills needs. Talent management software is a $10.09 billion market that is expected to grow by 12.2% (CAGR) through 2032. With the emergence of AI-enabled solutions, oceans of internal and external data can be processed to reveal emerging and declining skills needed to succeed and help match talent to task.

Many organizations have deployed a talent marketplace - a “technology-enabled platform that connects employees with potential positions and developmental opportunities within the organization . . . increases efficiency and offers value to both the employer and employee by supporting people’s career aspirations and meeting the organization’s changing labor demands.”

However, the real-time ability to review, select, and pursue opportunities may not be enough to keep talented employees engaged. Similarly,skills proficiency alone may be an inadequate basis for talent matching for sustained performance. Rapidly rising rates of employee burnout are widely reported and may indicate that employees are not operating in their best self. A very high percentage of people who left their jobs over the past several years regret it, which may indicate that they lack an understanding of what work is most fulfilling for them.

Faced with the daunting threat of AI taking over a portion of their work or leaving their existing skills irrelevant, people may respond in a less-than-productive manner. Whatever response reaction they pursue, the presence of an internal talent marketplace does not guarantee that employees will know how to select a fulfilling path forward. The stress associated with a fear of becoming obsolete may compel employees to pursue pragmatism over fulfillment, yielding a short-term solution with negative long-term effects.

The answer lies in helping employees more-deeply understand their inner motivations to select work that best aligns with assignments, training, and/or mentorship opportunities available within the company. Each person’s personal and professional achievements can yield a treasure trove of insights into what generates the most energy and satisfaction, and connecting the dots from the past to the future helps ensure that the path chosen will yield personal fulfillment. When they do so, they will be more engaged, more productive and creative, and less likely to leave the company.

Companies who help their employees carve out a career path that best matches their unique strengths and motivations will fare better than those who leave it to their employees to figure out which paths to pursue.

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