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Knowledge, competence, talent – what counts in the end: liquid skills!

So what are skills?

Tandemploy means “think big” – and this also applies to our definition of skills:

”Skill is the infinite potential of people in an organization. It is everything people bring with them and want to contribute.”

(The sky’s the limit and so on.)

When is a skill a skill

If you want to work with skills, the definition should be a bit more specific. Because not only the HR department has clear criteria and classifications, our skill matching software also follows a system that identifies and classifies skills. And: If we want to discuss skills that companies urgently need now and in the future, we need to be clear about what we are talking about.

We thought about it and picked out the four attributions that we feel are most often used synonymously with skills:

  • Knowledge
  • Talent
  • Ability
  • Competence

And then we set them on fire. But more on that later.

First, let’s stick to our basic assumption: Skills are the totality of people’s potential. Knowledge, talents, abilities, and competencies are all skills – but of very different quality and relevance for innovative companies.

Skills can have different states of aggregation

In the knowledge society, knowledge is seen as the most precious skill. But how valuable is knowledge that can not be transformed into action? Knowledge, without knowing how to use it in a sensible way, is useless for companies. Knowledge without action is a  “Solid Skill”, an element in a solid state, difficult to form and inert. Pure knowledge carriers are particles that – like solids in nature – swing primarily around their own position, are hardly in motion, and are always organized in the same way. You guessed it: these particles – they are your employees.

Isolated talents waste away

What is true for knowledge is also true for talent. However, companies have always had a split relationship with talent. On the one hand, talented people are attractive because they can easily fulfill certain requirements. At the same time, however, they are seen as a threat that could cause too much unrest. So they are either kept small or condemned to stew in their own soup separately from everyone else.

A talent that is isolated, behaves in a similar way as a pure knowledge carrier: it remains stuck in theory. It could act if it wanted to. Or was allowed to. But it isn’t, and therefore remains, well-protected, in its corner.

Stop! Time to start the Bunsen burner! Because…

… Skills aren’t effective until they can flow!

What companies need today are capabilities, meaning skills, in the literal sense of the word. Capable is someone who can actively shape the world around them, i.e. who can convert knowledge and talent into meaningful action. If you supply the right energy, the once so sluggish particles start to move. Solid becomes fluid, “solid” becomes “liquid”. If the particles are not held in a sealed container* (*silo, department, …), they suddenly disperse on their own. Knowledge and talent flow and spread. The exciting thing about it: Just like in the transition from solid to liquid in nature, the particles constantly rearrange themselves, but remain connected and maintain a fixed basic order – just like companies.


How well and how quickly the transformation takes place and whether companies manage to change sustainably depends on the presence of competency, or rather: the competency to act. Because doing well is one thing, WANTING to do well is another. At this skill level there is an intrinsically motivated change in behavior and thus the transition from maker to change maker. The individual particles no longer need external energy to be set in motion, they energize themselves. Employees are motivated, proactively drive change, shape their “matter” in an exchange with others, collaboratively and co-creatively. They are connected, communicate, and like to take on responsibility. In short: they act competently.

Now, what does all this have to do with Tandemploy?

You guessed it: Our SaaS is the Bunsen burner!

It sets the solid skills, the solid particles – knowledge and talent – in motion! It brings in the crucially important energy that is necessary for the transition from solid to liquid. It changes the state of knowledge and talent in such a way that both can flow into every corner of the organization. It turns passive skills into active skills – making companies flexible and able to act quickly. It enables employees to have completely new experiences, transforming them from pure skill owners to skill users and skill facilitators.

What for?

Because this is what our working world needs more than anything else: employees who become aware of their own creative power, who achieve a completely new mindset through action, and who ultimately become drivers of change.


So: What exactly are skills?

Let’s summarize: Skills are the totality of human potential. Every piece of knowledge, every talent, every skill, and competency is valuable. But the future belongs to companies that light the fire and set skills in motion. Liquid skills are the source of life for the “company organism”.

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