What is Skill Matching and why should we do it?
Simply put, a matching process brings together what belongs together. To each their own or a lid to every pot – or rather, learning needs and know-how or project and skills. And here we are, right in the middle of Skill Matching and the question of what the whole thing has to do with the changing world of work.
What is Skill Matching?
Skill Matching is nothing new here. It is, in fact, the basic principle of recruiting: the skills required in the company are matched with suitable candidates. This task, which was previously carried out by people who compared CVs with job descriptions, is now done by computers.
So far so old. So why is the whole HR world suddenly talking about Skill Matching again?
On the one hand, because it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to find and retain suitable skills in times of digital change. On the other hand, because the discussion about New Work is creating an awareness for the importance of recognizing the talents and needs of the people that are already working for an organization. When organizations begin to put the focus on their employees and take an honest interest in them, they will soon realize how much untapped potential has been hiding behind closed office doors. The internal use of Skill Matching tools can be the key that opens these doors. By making their skills and learning needs transparent, space for networking is created, new forms of collaboration with colleagues emerge and the path is paved for a more flexible and agile network organization.
- (Automated) Skill Matching is already standard practise in recruiting.
- Skill Matching within organisations is new. With smart matching tools and an open attitude, hidden potential can be uncovered.
- Skill matching thus opens up completely new opportunities for companies to develop – from rigid structures to flexible formations.
How does Skill Matching work?
When referencing “there’s a lid to every pot”, the analogy to finding a life partner suggests itself. To a certain extent Skill Matching uses a similar logic as dating portals: The users fill out what they are looking for and what qualities they bring to the table. A smart algorithm then searches for suitable candidates. Skill matching, however, takes it a few crucial steps further:
- Fact beats fiction: While people tend to enhance their profile on dating portals to make themselves look better, a skill matching tool relies on honest data about the users interests and skills. There is no incentive to exaggerate the truth since the algorithm ultimately brings people together based on complementary information: knowledge, learning needs, areas of responsibility, competencies – you name it. If you enter false information, you not only waste valuable working time, but also make yourself unpopular with colleagues.
- Multitude of application areas: Use cases in the online partner search? – Two to three. A good skill matching tool, on the other hand, works much broader. It matches colleagues for a variety of different work and learning formats, for example mentoring duos, job tandems, job shadowing, generational exchange, working circles, etc. In addition, it makes onboarding easier and brings the right people to the right projects. Plus: with just a few clicks, Skill Matching enables employees to find urgently needed experts on specific topics in the company and even let’s them arrange a coffee or lunch date.
- Matching people with offers: Skill matching not only connects people, it also connects employees with company offers such as internal workshops, events and job postings.
What role does data play for successful Skill Matching?
Successful Skill Matching is based on good data. Sounds simple, but that requires a very conscious examination of company values on the one hand and processes on the other. The discussion about how organizations can get “good data” is in full swing and there are great guidelines available on the internet and at events that provide guidance for dealing with employee data.
Briefly outlined, good data is
- relevant and beneficial to those who provide it,
- voluntarily and independently contributed by employees for the purpose of Skill Matching,
- ethically processed and analysed.
Internal Skill Matching therefore works best in a corporate culture that is characterized by openness, trust and empowered employees, and in which everyone pulls together. What is true for most other areas also applies to Skill Matching: technological change is hardly effective without cultural change.
The technology behind Skill Matching: Keyword Search or Semantic Search?
To make sure the lid really matches the pot, the algorithms have to be smart and able to adapt. Because digitization not only changes our way of living and working, but also our language and with it the meaning of skills and occupations. Formerly, a “managing director” was a managing director, now she is a “CEO”, a “co-founder” or “team leader”. There are even sales people who call themselves Customer Happiness Managers – crazy, right? Smart algorithms understand that the different titles are linked to the same skills. Therefore, they are increasingly replacing purely keyword-based matching systems, in which search terms are compared with data without any context and without taking synonyms into account. Our Tandemploy SaaS, for example, works with word nets and a constantly growing database (ontology), which enables it to continuously learn and “understand” new terms and skills.
What makes internal Skill Matching so innovative?
The real innovation comes after the Skill Matching, namely when the “matches” begin their exchange, work together, learn and become creative. When Mentoring Duos and Jobsharing Tandems find each other, when Elise prepares Marcus for his new management role, when Catharine from marketing looks over the shoulder of her colleague in production for three days, when John (20) gives John (55) an introduction to Slack, when employees work on projects for which they have volunteered because they are enthusiastic about the topic and contribute important skills, when Magda (who has been with the company for six months) takes over the project management and not Steven (former head of department and project veteran), but Steven is available to answer her questions during regular coffee sessions.
Internal Skill Matching can be the beginning of a wonderful transformation within a company during which knowledge gets set in motion, skill gaps cease to arise and rigid old structures no longer have a place – instead there is more room for people with their very individual skills and challenges. This closes the circle to New Work and the strength that this concept unfolds if it is properly understood and applied. The future belongs to companies that succeed in doing this. Thanks to smart Skill Management and open structures, they will have their heads and antennas in the right places – and thus possess the best prerequisites for developing products that touch people’s nerves. Products that fit, like the lid on the pot, and also endure under changing conditions – just like a seemingly corny analogy in a blog post in 2020. #younameitwepunit