Tackling transferable skills for employee career progression

In today’s competitive recruiting climate, empty career progression programs can not only cost you the retention of existing employees, but can also hurt future recruitment if the company’s reputation is made of false promises.

Companies often embrace their support for internal mobility when it comes to the career development of existing employees. However, the reality for many employees is that words are empty promises when it comes to trying to change careers.

Several factors could influence reluctance towards internal career movement, including reluctance to take up a position with an existing employee and then have to fill their current position, or the need to upgrade or retrain the skills of the employee if they have not worked directly in the type of role in which they wish to evolve.

Talent management and skills acquisition go hand in hand. When job descriptions list vague, overarching duties and responsibilities but don’t detail the specific skills needed to be successful in a role, it puts internal candidates and hiring managers at a disadvantage.

If you need to hire a recruitment specialist, be sure to detail the specific skills needed, such as proficiency with an applicant tracking system in a particular type of HRIS. However, the key here is also to make hiring managers and recruiters more comfortable with transferable skill sets. If an internal candidate working in customer service consistently demonstrates comfort with technology, ability to multi-task and prioritize, and communicates well with strong interpersonal skills, but has never used a TTY directly , many hiring managers may overlook them for an internal career move. the recruiting position and seek external candidates instead.

This is where talent management plays a vital role. Collaborate with leaders and stakeholders from all functions of the organization, create an internal skills library correlated to specific jobs that gives employees clearer pathways to know what skills are needed for new roles.

Collaborating on skills and talent strategy with front-line hiring managers is a wise course of action. These managers know first-hand how and where to identify skills and talent gaps. This is a perfect opportunity to align the needs of the team and the needs of the organization.

Once you have the skills library and the designated skills for each job, you can better consolidate those skills into overarching skills and begin developing training and development opportunities to teach those skills to employees. Simulations, job shadowing and employee participation in special projects give them time to practice what they learn. Your talent management partners can document their progress. So, if a future position in this field opens up, the employee has already demonstrated proficiency in the skills required to successfully share with the hiring manager, in addition to their other transferable skills.

Often, organizations focus primarily on developing soft skills – conflict resolution, delegation, adapting communication styles – all important skills, but this can leave development programs devoid of tangible hard skills development pathways.

You can also consider different levels of skill development for each role so that employees can not only demonstrate skill acquisition, but they can also demonstrate advanced skill acquisition. Gamification can be a fun way to engage employees and create the desire to keep progressing with developing new skills and unlocking “new levels” of success.

In the previous example of a customer service representative wanting to move into a recruiting role, let’s examine whether the talent management group had a clear career path to help that employee learn, and then demonstrate to the hiring manager how he is now proficient in creating job descriptions, posting vacancies and reviewing candidate data in the ATS, identifying compliance issues with interview questions, and writing offer letters to send to the best candidate through the ‘ATS at the selection stage.

Even if the Customer Service Representative has never recruited and performed these tasks as an HR professional, they can now demonstrate that they have tangible skills relevant to the role they want, in addition to their other transferable skills. Badges can be a convenient and engaging way for employees to quickly and easily demonstrate different skill levels to an internal hiring manager.

Some employees may never pursue internal mobility because they feel the process is not designed to help them learn new skills to help them demonstrate their abilities to succeed in a new position. If they are expected to already have the skills for a new role in previous positions or in a similar role currently, but the organization does not provide specific training to enable the role change, this may lead to frustration, lack of commitment, low morale and possibly turnover.

It is not enough to say that your organization supports the growth and internal movement of existing employees if the actions do not confirm it. If your organization’s idea of ​​supporting transferable skill sets and skill growth for career progression really only means highlighting vacancies for internal candidates and encouraging employees to share their interest in new roles s If they already have previous experience in this field, without providing tangible pathways for candidates to develop skills or consider the value of transferable skills, your employees will put their time and talents where they feel respected, invested and valued.

As part of today’s talent management, this is another great opportunity to partner with hiring and frontline managers. The manager’s role is to contribute to the future performance of employees, including preparing employees for internal roles and growth. By integrating orientation, coaching, and mentoring, managers can retain and develop employees for maximum organizational and team effectiveness and efficiency.

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