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Create and Leverage a Skills Inventory

Effectively prepare for the changing business landscape by increasing awareness around internal skills to boost competitive advantage.

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  • David Bernstein, VP, Big Data for Human Resources, eQuest
  • Lynette Budhoo, Sr. Consultant, Human Resources Clinical Programs, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Bobby Guhathakurta, Talent Deployment & Development Manager, Advisory, EY Canada
  • Sharon Jobity, VP, Human Resources, Ontario Centres of Excellence
  • N. Robert Johnson, Practice Leader, Workforce Communications
  • Bonnie Langer, Senior VP, Human Resources, AGF Management Limited
  • Dirk Nieuwoudt, Associate Manager, Talent Management, EPI-USE Africa (Pty) Ltd.
  • Masahito Ninagawa, Expert, Lean IT, Loblaw Companies Limited
  • Lucy Norman, Manager, Talent Acquisition, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Ugo Orsi, IT VP Technology Operations, Loblaw Companies Limited
  • Jordan Santos, HR Manager, E&E Manufacturing Co, Inc.
  • Rika Snip, Communications Instructor, Lethbridge Community College

Your Challenge

  • Skills required for organizational success will constantly change to adapt to a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (referred to as “VUCA”).
  • There will always be a skills gap to some degree. Organizations must plan ahead as best as possible to adequately prepare for this gap, especially in a VUCA environment.
  • As baby boomers retire, they are likely to take essential skills with them.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Lack of clarity around key skills creates a vicious cycle: talent shortages are addressed by hiring externally, but external hires often lack the skills required to meet organizational needs. This results in a perpetual skills shortage with no clear idea of how to address it.
  • Don’t create a skills inventory if you aren’t prepared to maintain it in the long term. The more accurate it is, the more value it provides.

Impact and Result

  • Mass retirement paired with rapid organizational change demands an adaptable workforce and a comprehensive, well-aligned skills inventory to proactively address these issues and boost competitive advantage.
  • A skills inventory provides data to boost competitive advantage by:
    • Proactively combating the projected gap to prevent business interruption or a lag in productivity
    • Enabling better use of internal resources through assessment of workforce skills
    • Placing a greater focus on key skills aligned with organizational goals to allow for targeted development efforts
    • Increasing efficiency of internal practices, e.g. workforce planning, talent acquisition, and learning & development

Research & Tools

1. Define project scope and objectives

Determine the scope of the project and understand the skill categories and proficiency levels.

2. Determine approach and create a communication plan

Define the data collection method and communication strategy for the project and compile a list of FAQs for employees.

3. Build skills inventory

Define and document skills within the inventory, collect internal data, then populate and distribute the skills inventory.

4. Leverage skills inventory

Conduct a gap analysis and prioritize development efforts, then plan to leverage the inventory internally and define the process for ongoing maintenance.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a six call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Define project scope and objectives

Call #1 - Discuss project objectives as they relate to the determined scope of the project to ensure greatest positive impact of the skills inventory initiative.

Guided Implementation #2 - Determine approach and create a communication plan

Call #1 - Review the ideal data collection method for your organization based on internal processes and discuss drafted messaging as part of the communication plan.

Guided Implementation #3 - Build skills inventory

Call #1 - Review the comprehensive list of skills that make up the inventory.
Call #2 - Discuss the data collection process and troubleshoot any pending issues.
Call #3 - Work through the plan for data entry and finalization of the skills inventory.

Guided Implementation #4 - Leverage skills inventory

Call #1 - Review all follow up initiatives related to the gap analysis and internal initiatives, and outline a plan for the ongoing upkeep of the inventory.

Onsite Workshop

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Book Your Workshop

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Define Project Scope and Objectives

The Purpose

  • Set metrics and consider which proficiency levels the organization wants within the skills inventory.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Proficiency levels are determined and metrics are defined.




Determine how proficiency levels will be defined within your inventory.

  • Skill categories and proficiency levels are reviewed

Set benchmark metrics and take baseline measurements.

  • SMART skills inventory goals and metrics are set

Module 2: Determine Approach and Create a Communication Plan

The Purpose

  • Create a communication plan for the Skills inventory.
  • Determine how you will track skills and proficiency levels. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Communication plan is determined.
  • Data collection is decided and tool is chosen.




Determine the data collection method that best supports your organizational environment.

  • Data collection method determined

Create a communication strategy to obtain buy-in from managers and employees.

  • Communication strategy created

Determine what you will use to create your skills inventory.

  • Tool used to create skills inventory is discussed and determined

Module 3: Build Skills Inventory

The Purpose

  • Gather all current and key skills within the skills inventory.
  • Identify key skills and any gaps. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Skills and proficiency levels are inputted within the skills inventory.
  • Key skills are noted and gaps are recognized.
  • Skills inventory is set.




Identify and define the comprehensive list of skills to be reflected in the inventory.

  • All skills defined, documented, and populated in the inventory

Cascade down to identify key skills within your complete list.

  • Skills inventory finalized and distributed