Skills Matching and Fully Unlocking Potential

June 6, 2024

Skills matching is taking center stage for many organizations as a strategic imperative to develop an agile work environment that can quickly shift resources as demand changes.  With 23% of jobs predicted to change over the next five years, the urgency to act is now.  Finding, keeping, and developing top talent is a crucial priority for building a more nimble workforce with the right skills to adjust with business demands.

The Dual Challenge for Leaders

Strategically, leaders are tasked with the complex challenge of meeting business objectives while cultivating a high performing culture where employees can thrive.  First, leaders must match skills more dynamically to changing work requirements.  Concurrently, it’s essential that leaders unlock the full potential of their people by facilitating growth opportunities and career pathways that build on their most satisfying skills.

Bridging Current Skills to Future Demands

How can organizations effectively align current employee skills with experiences you want to create based upon the work to be done?  And, how can you ensure workforce capabilities keep pace with evolving work demands?

The solution lies in a two-step process that taps into employees’ existing and future capabilities, creating a virtuous cycle that unleashes human potential and fosters organizational agility.

Step 1: Building a Comprehensive Skills Inventory

To redesign an organization around people and skills, it’s important to establish a foundational baseline of both hard and power, aka soft, skills.  This baseline should then be contrasted against expected future demands.  AI can play a pivotal role here in identifying skill patterns and trends, revealing prevalent skills and highlighting gaps.

Key questions to address in this step include:  

  • What is your organization’s baseline of skills?
  • What initiatives are you pursuing, and what skills will you need going forward?
  • How will your existing employees obtain these skills, or will you need to acquire new skills from the market?
  • What resources are required to obtain these skills (training, development, recruiting)?

With this talent intelligence, organizations can strategically align resources to meet evolving business demands. However, a crucial element often missing from this picture is the aspirations and motivations of your people - a key piece of the puzzle and ingredient for sustainable, ongoing success that should not be overlooked.

Step 2: Layering on Individual Aspirations

To fully unlock workforce potential, it’s imperative to consider individual aspirations, motivations, and the factors driving peak performance.  By understanding each person’s unique drivers and achievement patterns, organizations can create personal growth opportunities and career pathing aligned with individual aspirations, boosting engagement, high energy, and productivity.  

Without aligning to personal motivations, employees may pursue paths that look promising but unknowingly conflict with their personal values and needs, resulting in downstream stress or burnout.  

Critical questions and insights to surface in this key step include:

  • What gives each person higher levels of energy and satisfaction?
  • What inspires each individual when they are at their best?
  • Where is hidden talent within the ranks that has not previously surfaced?
  • Which work assignments will allow each person to thrive?  What would be the impact on them and the organization?

This personal insight delivers a better employee experience, retains key talent, and shows people how they can grow within the organization. It's a win-win overall, empowering individuals to take ownership of their professional growth and fulfillment while enabling HR leaders to strategically align training initiatives with organizational goals and skills development objectives.  


Implementing this two-step skills matching process creates a virtuous cycle that unlocks the full potential of the workforce and ensures organizational agility to meet evolving business demands. This integrated approach serves as a cornerstone for organizations looking to navigate the complexities of the future of work while fostering innovation, adaptability, and sustained success.

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