07 May 2021

Should you build a skill-centric team?

The entrance of the digital age has transformed the way people and businesses behave. As digital disruption and advanced technologies continue to emerge daily, the rules of the game have changed. Traditional business models, objectives, and workforces are no longer relevant or competitive and people are stumbling over themselves to keep up with the unprecedented speeds at which industries are revolutionized and consumer expectations evolve.

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What is a skill-centric team?
The benefits of a skill-centric team
How to shape skill-centric teams

In response to disruption and emerging work trends (such as digital transformation and remote working), the materialization of new responsibilities and the urgent need for new skills are replacing outdated roles in the workforce. Faced with a constantly evolving landscape, many companies are beginning to realise that they are losing their competitive edge in part due to the lack of necessary skills and capabilities in their workforce.

The fear and knowledge of widespread skills shortage is not a novel concept. Headlines have harped on about them over the years and studies have identified the skills gap as a very real concern. Surveys reveal that 53% of organizations need to source new skills from at least half their workforce within three years. Furthermore, 70% of employees believe they lack the skills required for their current jobs. As companies continue to build the wrong workforce to drive their future, it's time to trade outdated conventional strategic plans and traditional resume-based recruiting for a skills and competence-based perspective. By adopting a new perspective and building skill-centric teams, organizations can remain competitive and ensure their future-readiness, growth, and sustainability.

What is a skill-centric team?

Compared to traditional resume-based recruiting for roles, where roles group unrelated skills, a skill-centric team is created by rethinking position requirements and filling each seat with candidates that have the best-fit skills and abilities. Skill-centric teams are a puzzle of various critical and necessary skills that fit together perfectly and align with an organization's objectives. Acquiring a team of the right skills is the driving force for organizations to remain globally competitive, efficient, future-forward and ensure their ongoing success. Besides recruiting candidates with the specialized skills, skill-centric teams are always reskilling and upskilling to remain flexible and ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow. After all, the accelerated speed at which skills emerge and expire mean that today's skills may become redundant tomorrow in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

►Want to learn more about this approach? Download our free guide to building future-proof teams through reskilling and upskilling.

The benefits of a skill-centric team

Today, skills are a necessity rather than a nice-to-have, and building teams based on necessary and critical skills provide many benefits.

  • Increase productivity

Skilled specialists are experts at what they do, which maximizes and improves productivity for organizations since their people are qualified to perform well and efficiently. They don't require additional training or guidance and produce results fast so organizations can maximize their output.

  • Agile and flexible

Skills are paired with the right knowledge and experience for their responsibilities, which means team members have the confidence and ability to find flexible solutions to overcome problems and issues fast. They're agile and always ready to adapt to challenges.

  • Reduce costs

Although the higher salaries of skilled specialists may seem excessive at face value, they actually reduce costs in the long run. With a skill-centric team, organizations save on the costs of additional training to cover missing skills and reduce the number of mistakes. It's no secret that mistakes and errors in the workplace cost money, but skilled teams make significantly fewer mistakes.

  • Improve profitability and growth

Teams with the right skills to attain their objectives help organizations improve profitability and sustain ongoing growth. They provide a greater amount of quality results and output with the same – or even fewer – number of people as a team with missing skills. Their expertise and productivity will ensure that organizations will remain competitive and continue to thrive in a challenging and rapidly changing environment.

  • Healthy workplace relations

Teams with missing skills underperform and struggle to produce desired results, which increases workplace stress levels and makes them appear unreliable or disappointing. This could then lead to employee disengagement and higher turnover rates. But a skill-centric team is like a well-oiled machine that produces great and reliable results every time. As they work together harmoniously to achieve daily, weekly, monthly successes towards a common objective, they will create a healthier and happier work environment.

How to shape skill-centric teams

Every organization requires a unique combination of skills in order to achieve their objectives and visions. In order to remain successfully competitive in constantly shifting industries and marketplaces, organizations need to regularly re-evaluate and shape their teams to always include new and critical skills that drive future business goals. How can organizations control their skill resources, remain scalable, and attract a future-minded team? How does business transformation translate into skill needs? How to shape a skill-centric team of the future?

Understand the emerging skills landscape

Considering how quickly skills can emerge, evolve and expire today, it's all the more important to analyze and understand how emerging skills differ from the ones organizations traditionally seek. If an emerging trend will offer a competitive edge, then it's one to snatch up.

Turn roles into skills

Business transformation, particularly digital transformation, creates new roles and tasks. Re-evaluate both traditional and new roles, break them down into critical skills, and benchmark them against emerging trends.

Hiring or training

Skills-based hiring injects missing and desirable skills into a team straightaway. The process of skills-based hiring can also help to diversify an organization's talent pipeline and provide awareness of skill attainment and reskilling or upskilling needs. Training teams to develop in-demand skills is another way to shape teams so they remain agile, engaged, motivated and future-ready.

Diversify skill identification

Gather intelligence on an enterprise-wide view of talent pipelines and how skill needs are shifting in the marketplace. Determine what skills are the right ones to develop or borrow to attain a competitive advantage today and in the future.

Create a talent development and acquisition plan

A realistic plan based on supply-demand data will profile and locate critical skills necessary to shape a team that remains scalable and competitive.


So, should you build a skill-centric team?

In a time of rapid change and transformation, one of the most effective ways to avoid creating the wrong workforce to drive an organization's future is to build a skill-centric team. It uproots traditional roles and outdated strategic plans for a new and future-forward perspective, which helps organizations retain a competitive edge. Considering the accelerated rate businesses and technology are transforming today – for digital transformation in particular – it’s no surprise that skills, roles, tasks and responsibilities of the recent past are quickly losing relevance. Organizations need to consider how their business transformations are translating into skill needs and build a team around the unique cocktail of skills they require.

A team with the right skills is productive, agile and flexible, reduces costs in the long run, improves profitability, sustains ongoing growth and promotes healthy workplace relations. In order to shape the right skill-centric team that will benefit organizations moving forward, they must first re-evaluate and reshape. This starts with understanding the emerging and diverse skills landscape, turning roles into skills, hiring or training in-demand and critical skills, and creating a strategic talent development and acquisition plan. By aligning skills with business objectives and shaping skill-centric teams, organizations can ensure that they remain globally competitive, perform efficiently, achieve objectives, and drive growth and success.