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While we all know that the need for a skill shift is growing, the amount of available HR specialists is often heading in a different direction. So, how can a company cut overhead costs and still provide qualified development guidance to its employees?
When organizations must improve margins to stay competitive, reducing cost in functions like people’s development seems to be an easy solution. But looking at what currently is happening in the labor market, scaling down on HR business partners, learning coaches, or transformation experts due to automatization, digitalization, and disruption, seems to be a bad idea.
Nevertheless, there might be a solution to this challenge: Using tech as a first point of contact when employees want to develop their skills. While this may sound easy at first glance, getting there requires good planning and a clear vision.
Focus on Individual Skill Profiles
As Switzerland’s largest provider for telecom and IT services, Swisscom is heavily affected by the rapid changes in technology and business models. With over 18,000 people working for the company in various fields, it is difficult to provide generic recommendations regarding the skills needed for the future of work. Therefore, the framework for tech-supported people development needed to be able to guide people with completely different backgrounds.
To do so, we set up a skill profile, where people can add their job title and upload their CV. The system then extracts their skill data and helps employees set up their profile. This profile can be enriched by using additional sources of skill data, like knowledge databases or job descriptions.
Different Perspectives to Validate Self-Perceptions
As humans, we can’t only rely on ourselves or technology. We need external feedback to validate our development ambitions. If HR fails to provide this external perspective due to cost-cutting, it’s not the worst thing that could happen. In the end, the people who know a specific employee are the people working with them every day. So, employees at Swisscom can trigger a so-called “Development Checkpoint” at any given time and get an assessment from their manager and peers.
Match Jobs, Project Assignments, And Learning Opportunities
The final touch to our effort was introducing a system providing access to a large database with job opportunities, learning offers, and project assignments. The software suggests the best matching development opportunities to the employees based on their skill profile. If people look at the details of a certain match, they can easily identify their skill gap to a new job or internal role and start to invest in acquiring those missing competences.
Having this tech-driven solution for people development in place, the access for employees to help with their development measures has been simplified and scaled. Instead of having to wait for an opportunity to talk to a coach or HR consultant, all people can get personalized recommendations and support at any given time. Of course, in some cases, there needs to be a human interaction – but thanks to this approach, coaches can use their time talking to the people that need the personal support and avoid the cases where software could already solve the need.