Ask yourself: why are you looking to shift towards skills? What do you and your business ultimately want to achieve with this? There are so many reasons to take on a skills-based approach, but having clarity on your purpose will help you focus. Then consider what success would look like. What KPIs would you keep track of and how would they benefit the business?

Examples: I want to…

  • Better align the workforce to our business strategy
  • Future-proof by building an adaptable and agile workforce that can pivot quickly to meet evolving market demands and overcome uncertainties or disruption
  • Foster a culture of innovation, creativity and fresh, diverse perspectives
  • Better equip employees with specific skills-based development and career-pathing
  • Leverage the workforce’s productivity and effectiveness, ensuring projects are completed with optimal combinations of expertise and resources
  • Remove traditional hiring hurdles such as qualification requirements, tap into a larger and potentially different talent pool, and ensure fairness

Building a skills-based organization is not something that can be done alone. You will need to share your goals and strategy with other stakeholders within the organization and bring them along with you on the journey. As this cascades down from senior leadership, people at all levels in the organization need to understand the benefits of this approach, as well as their role during the transition period and beyond.

In order to build a skills-based approach in any form, you will need to accurately identify, measure, and map skills, then understand and manage them in a systematic and usable way – for both your organization and your employees.

By implementing skills assessment methodologies, you can objectively evaluate employee capabilities, enabling quick and informed decisions regarding talent management. With reliable data, mapped to a robust skills framework, you can apply an aligned and consistent strategy to all initiatives across the talent lifecycle.

The first step in any skills journey is to find a common language to describe and map skills. SHL’s Skills Taxonomy is powered by an evidence-backed framework and will help you build a strong foundation for your strategy.

Next you’ll need tools to measure skills. One of SHL’s key skills offerings is the Global Skills Assessment, which has the capability to measure 96 business skills in just 15 minutes. Read more about this in chapter 7.

All progress is progress and it’s all too easy to forget about the small wins and steps forward. As you go through this journey, it is important to take stock of your successes and use these as fuel for the next steps.

“I want to better align the workforce to our business strategy.”

This is a common ‘why’ for organizations transitioning to a skills-based approach. By translating strategy to skills requirements, you can more easily support the business through strategic talent initiatives. Below is an example of how a fictional business, Global Holdings, might map their skills requirements to their business strategy.

Business Strategy

The Global Holdings business strategy focuses on leveraging technology and data analytics to provide personalized financial solutions, improve customer experience, and drive operational efficiency. They aim to expand their market presence through targeted marketing strategies and partnerships while maintaining a strong focus on risk management and regulatory compliance.

Business Strategy

Talent Strategy

The Global Holdings talent strategy is centered around attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse workforce with the skills and expertise needed to support their business objectives. They prioritize investing in employee development, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration, and ensuring alignment between individual goals and organizational goals.

Talent Strategy

Capabilities Needed

  • Data Analysis and Actuarial Science
  • Technology and Digital Innovation
  • Risk Management and Compliance
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Financial Planning and Investment Advisory
  • Continuous Learning and Adaptability
Capabilities Needed

Skills Requirements

  • Analyzes information
  • Critically evaluates
  • Makes rational judgments
  • Offers practical solutions
  • Builds, designs, or creates new tools or systems
  • Offers practical solutions
  • Learns quickly
  • Gathers information
  • Generates new ideas
  • Understands spoken information
  • Speaks clearly
  • Writes with clarity
  • Communicates using technology
  • Builds rapport
  • Builds and maintains networks
Skills Requirements
Business Strategy
Talent Strategy
Capabilities Needed
Skills Requirements

Poll Results

Top Priorities and Challenges in Skills Strategies​

​In our recent virtual event, HR leaders identified skill development as their top priority. Yet defining and measuring skills remained a significant hurdle, highlighting the need for clearer frameworks and assessment methods.


What is the top priority you want to achieve with skills?

Broaden your recruitment pool
Dynamic team creation
Inclusive talent management
Career growth
Skill Development

What is the main challenge your organization faces in transitioning to a skills-based approach?

Gaining stakeholder and leadership buy-in
Embedding skills in the organizational culture
Knowing where to start
Defining and measuring skills

Watch the full event recording to learn how talent leaders at LinkedIn and the Los Angeles County Department of HR are building their strategies.​

Watch Full Event Replay