The ever-evolving public and not-for-profit sector landscape has made it essential for organisations to be agile, develop their employees, and ensure a culture of inclusion. As a result, many organisations have turned to skills-based models to meet these demands. But are skills-based models effective at delivering the desired outcomes?
Combined with a commitment to identifying internal candidates with cross-functional skills and offering opportunities for upskilling and career development, skills-based hiring could help you increase productivity and reduce turnover. Studies have found hiring based on skills is five times more indicative of future performance and that candidates without traditional degrees stay with a company 34% longer than those with them.
What are skills-based models and why are they beneficial?
Skills-based models put focus on individual skills rather than job titles and roles. This allows organisations to design job descriptions and performance expectations based on the skills required to perform the job, rather than on the job title.
- Be more agile
As skills-based models ensure you hire the skills you need, rather than just the previous job title, you can create a more agile workforce, as the skills needed to perform a job can rapidly change in the ever-evolving business landscape.
- Focus on employee development
Skills-based models put focus on employee development. Candidates are much clearer on the skills they need to succeed, allowing them to gain the skills necessary for their current role and helping to prepare them for future roles. This can ensure that employees are up to date on the latest trends and technologies, which is essential for success in today’s business environment.
- Create a culture of inclusion
In many traditional models, employees are hired based on their job title and experience. This can lead to a lack of diversity. By focusing on the skills required to perform a job, skills-based models can create a more diverse workforce, as any person who has the necessary skills can be considered for a role.
Skills-based models can be an effective way to meet the demand for agility, development, and inclusion. By focusing on individual skills, rather than job titles, organisations can create a more agile workforce, develop employees, and create a more inclusive culture.
5 ways to you can build skill-based models into your recruitment strategy
Developing a skills-first recruitment strategy isn’t a one size fits all exercise. Different organisations will have unique requirements, however, you can adopt one or all of the below steps to help you recruit for skills, not past job titles:
1. Start with your job descriptions
You don’t have to overhaul your entire recruitment process at once. Adjusting your job descriptions will get results quickly. Break down your existing job descriptions for a role. Ask yourself:
- What are the day-to-day processes and procedures required by the role?
- Can those responsibilities be grouped by the skills and competencies needed?
Get further insight into the skills needed by gathering feedback from managers and top performers in the role on the skills necessary to succeed. Don’t just limit yourself to hard or technical skills but include soft skills as well.
Finally, consider how the role might change in the future. Should candidates possess the skills needed to adapt to digital transformation or disruption?
2. Anonymise applications
Many public sector and not-for-profit organisations already practice anonymous or name-blind application processes, removing identifying information from CVs or application forms. Go one step further and ensure that scoring systems and competency matrices are also anonymous. You might also consider removing information such as dates of birth and even where candidates received their degrees.
Technology can be your friend here. Most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can remove identifying information quickly and easily. You can also use AI to evaluate hard and soft skill assessments and rank candidates based on their skills.
3. Explore skills-based assessments
There are a variety of options available when it comes to skills-based assessments. You can use work sample tests to get candidates to perform small aspects of the job or more targeted assessments such as coding tests for technical skills. These simulations help move away from interview questions that rely on a candidate giving an example from their personal experience towards an on-the-job chance for them to display crucial skills.
Start by taking the core skills you identified for your job descriptions and build tasks and scenarios that test these skills. Skills assessments can be conducted before the interview or administered as part of a wider interview.
5. Take a new approach to interviews
Competency-based interviews are common in the civil service and other areas of the public sector. Also known as behavioural interviews, they are designed to evaluate candidates’ skills or competencies and establish how their abilities and behaviours will impact their effectiveness for the role.
Interviews will have a list of set questions by a panel of interviewers and the candidates’ answers are scored against pre-established criteria. This approach ensures fairness as all candidates are scored on their responses to the same questions and offers flexibility as all interviewers must agree on the successful candidate.
Traditionally, however, these questions ask how candidates have responded to situations in the past. For a more rounded skills-based competency interview try to ask what a candidate would do in that situation rather than for an example of past behaviour.
5. Harness the long-term power of Learning & Development
Keeping your workforce’s skills up to date must go beyond skills-based hiring alone. Upskilling and reskilling your existing employees can help you realise the value of skills in the longer term. However, with tighter budgets to work with, it’s imperative to make sure your L&D initiatives go further to deliver real impact and ROI.
When developing your people your approach must be as agile as possible. Assess L&D requirements on an individual case-by-case basis or by “job family” to avoid a blanket approach and allow you to support the unique technical and operational hard skills each role requires.
Ensure that there you nurture and develop soft skills alongside technical ability and explore how technology can help you deliver a high-performance, healthy, and thriving organisational culture of L&D at scale.
Above all, you have to empower individuals to take control of their own development and take ownership of their personal learning.
So, how can Morgan Law help?
At Morgan Law, our team of experienced consultants is well-versed in helping public-sector and not-for-profit organisations create skills-based models that are tailored to their unique needs. We will work with you to develop a model that meets your goals and puts the focus on the skills that matter most.