Skills Audits and Inventories to Properly Manage and Utilize Resources

Welcome to “Summertime…and Improving Productivity Is Easy: Eight Ways to Increase Employee Engagement,” a ScottMadden eight-part series. Based on a recent Gallup study,[1] we know that approximately 70% of employees are not engaged at work, resulting in lower job performance and loss of time and money for the organization. Over the next eight weeks, we’ll provide insights on how employee engagement impacts your business outcomes, as well as tangible examples of how you can increase engagement among your employees. Click here to see the complete series.

In the sixth installment of the series, we explore how conducting skills audits and properly managing a department/business unit’s skills inventory helps best utilize each resource and improves morale.

The Case for Skills Audit and Inventory

As a manager, you may be quick to look to external resources for help when you need a new skill set. Often, however, the resource you need may already be in your organization. To avoid this misstep and keep your employees challenged, it is important to understand the skills and capabilities of your workforce. An internal skills assessment is the first step in this process.

Just as 360-degree reviews assess leadership behaviors, skills audits and inventories assess your employees’ intangible assets—their skills.[2] Conventional job histories tend to focus on accomplishments, yet skills inventories look at the employee skills that enabled those accomplishments.[3] There are many benefits to doing this, regardless of industry or company.

Approach

A skills inventory is most useful when created with the business’ strategic objectives in mind. Depending on the business, these could look very different, but in general, the following steps can be used:

  • Identify skills that are relevant to the organization (department or business unit)
  • Create a template/questionnaire with the most essential skills (e.g., online survey, MS Word/Excel template, etc.)
  • Survey individual employees in the targeted department/business unit using the questionnaire
  • Compile results
  • Develop a skills inventory or skills matrix from the individual results
  • Properly manage the inventory and update as needed

Maximizing the Benefits of a Skills Inventory

Your newly developed skills inventory has many uses—from staffing new projects to promoting from within. In addition, the skills inventory can be used to identify gaps in the workforce and help the company prioritize and customize training according to those needs.

The skills inventory aligns employees with their passions, which creates an environment where individuals are more motivated and more efficient. They wind up using skills they have exceled with in the past and, more importantly, are working on projects they have a natural passion for.

The benefits of conducting a comprehensive skills audit and properly managing a skills inventory are numerous. Below is a list of some of those benefits:[4]

  • Placing the right people in the right projects and job roles
  • Providing detailed information on the most essential areas for skills improvement
  • Providing detailed information to develop training and development resources
  • Reducing training and development costs with more focused development efforts
  • Defining the most urgent recruiting needs and securing the best applicants
  • Facilitating placement decisions
  • Providing accurate information to enhance career and succession planning activities

By understanding your employees’ skills history, you’ll have a much better chance at achieving the engagement benefits listed above.

Additional Resources

[1] Gallup, The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis, 2016

[2] Harvard Business Review, “Capitalizing on Capabilities,” 2004

[3] Robert Half, “An Employee Skills Inventory,” 2017

[4] HR.com, “Making the Case for a Skills Audit and Skills Management System,” 2013

Additional Contributing Author: David Israel Mendez

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Contributing Authors

Kate Breen Manager

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