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Workday expands service that surfaces employee skills

Workday expands service that surfaces employee skills

Workday has expanded the sources it can access to determine employee skill sets, which enables employers to search worker profiles to shepherd them toward the most critical areas of their business.

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Workday has announced an expansion to its Skills Cloud service, which uses existing employee information culled from third-party systems to discover talents that can be put to use within an organisation.

Introduced in 2018, Skills Cloud comes natively with Workday’s Human Capital Management platform, machine learning software that helps client companies build talent management programs.

The software culls information from a variety of sources and analyses what makes up an employee's skill set (i.e. past training) and the relationship between different skills an employee may have. The platform then cleans the data and creates a database of job employee skills that companies can search to discover current workers who could be placed into jobs most in demand.

Employee skills data can come from various sources, including a company’s human resources (HR) system, online skills assessments, job profiles, HR transactions such as job movement, resumes, labour market data, onboarding materials, performance reviews, and  learning and/or talent systems, according to David Somers, general manager for Workday’s chief human resources officer products.

Skills Cloud service formerly only culled data from a single company’s employee information. Workday collaborated with its customers, such as Accenture and Sun Life, as well as software alliance partnerships with Aon, Degreed, and SkyHive, to import relevant skills data from third-party systems into Workday’s Skills Cloud database.

“What our customers have been asking for for multiple years now is to get that information from other systems into Workday… and actually get it translated into Skills Cloud language," Somers said. “Now, no matter where the skills information is coming from, it’s all normalised.”

At a time when tech talent, in particular, is in short supply due to record low unemployment, an increase in digitisation efforts, and a shift in employee work-life priorities, being able to jockey people into the most in-demand roles can be crucial to business success.

Many organisations are now also hiring through non-traditional approaches that include coding bootcamps, low-code training, and focusing on population areas outside the norm.

With skills data from both Workday and external sources, organisations can connect workers with internal opportunities — such as projects, gigs, and new roles — to deliver more personalised experiences and help nurture career growth, Workday said.

“The problem is that organisations have tons of skills, but they’re changing constantly, and companies had no way of knowing how they relate to each other,” Somers said. “For example, someone highly skilled in Excel likely has skills in data analysis, reporting, and other tasks Excel is used for, but you wouldn't know this in a typical database of skills.

“This is important because when it comes to recommending candidates for jobs, for example, you shouldn't have to rely on keyword mapping,” he continued. “The technology should understand how skills relate to one another and evolve over time.”

Josh Bersin, an HR industry research analyst, said Workday’s Skills Cloud doesn’t import data from previous employers, so it shouldn’t pose any privacy issues. Employee data can already be attained through job posting sites, such as LinkedIn.

“The Skills Cloud does not import any proprietary data from another company. It may know ‘who you worked for’ or ‘what jobs you’ve had’ and ‘who you worked with,’ but this data is already published,” Bersin said.

“As far as value, this is one of the most important data sources to help with the tight labor market,” he said. “Rather than look for someone who’s done this job before, employers can look for people who have the skills needed for this job, democratising the labour market quite a bit.”

The software also enables companies to hire based on their abilities instead of on credentials alone, which can in turn increase boost diversity. There is a growing trend of companies focusing on skills-based hiring and dropping college degree requirements from job postings in order to fill critical roles that don’t necessarily require a computer science degree to perform.

For example, IDC estimates the demand for Salesforce talent will grow to 9.3 million new jobs by 2026. In light of that, cloud-based software vendor Salesforce just launched an internal service called the “Hire Me Button,” which is an addition to its resume tool, an electronic resume specific to tech workers with Salesforce training.

When a company is looking for Salesforce talent, the profile offers a view of an individual’s relevant skills, qualifications and ongoing learning. Profiles are linked to Trailhead, the company's free online learning platform, to validate skills and certifications.

"With the addition of the Hire Me button, hiring managers looking for Salesforce talent can easily see which of the more than 4.5 million users are actively seeking new opportunities and click the Hire Me button to connect with them directly — making the hiring process more efficient than ever before," a Salesforce spokesperson said.

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