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Measuring Capability – A New Perspective

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Part 1 of the 'Countdown: The Race For Digital and Human Skills' series

Our insight series ‘Countdown: The Race For Digital and Human Skills’ explores the risk and opportunity companies currently face in relation to skills. Our analysis finds that midsized companies have entered a critical 18-month window to make the transformation into skills-driven organisations, or face a serious risk of business failure due to workforce skill shortages.

This series is built on a foundation of the latest evidence, research, analysis & insights from our digital tools, our ecosystem of partners, our clients, and my personal 25 years experience in the Future of Work space.

We want to raise awareness of the skills risk, share knowledge from our ecosystem on how to tackle this complex problem, engage with new ideas and deepen connections with our community.

Why does Skills Measurement really matter?

  • Becoming a skills-driven organisation is a major source of competitive advantage. Fast-movers have made large skill investments in 2019.
  • Failure to match critical tasks with the appropriate skills poses a major risk to business survival. Skills measurement is a key component of a competitive workforce strategy. The digital skills gap is widening.

Why is Skills Measurement important post-Covid-19?

  • Workforce resilience is underpinned by the ability to perform business critical tasks, at speed, utilising the appropriate skills.
  • Without a dynamic, agile skills strategy, based on a foundation of real-time skills measurement, accurate, workforce resilience is compromised. Workforce resilience is a business priority post- COVID-19.

Skills measurement: industry insight

The OECD, 2020 evidence shows that

  • ‘Skills are an enabling dimension’.
  • Exceptional skills can provide a ‘significant competitive advantage’.
  • ‘Current frameworks for measuring skills are inadequate’.
  • There is a need to ‘define new metrics of skill and skill shortages’.
  • Successfully navigating the digital transformation requires new skill clusters, combining cognitive, non-cognitive and social skills.


This skills measurement problem:

Skills are an asset of the organisation to be quantified, monitored, grown and protected.

A key risk we have identified is that assessments of future work often completely overlook the lens of skills, or misapply it based on incomplete, out-of-date estimates of skill proficiency.

This inadequate measurement creates a major risk to the success of work re-design and workforce reshaping.

Traditional approaches to skill assessment have proven to be:

  • Inefficient - time-consuming and quickly out-of-date
  • Inaccurate - limitations of one- dimensional profiling
  • Impersonal - often linked to role requirements/qualifications, rather than individuals and their unique combination of human & digital skills.

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