Agile ways of shaping skills
Agility often defined as the ability of a firm to sense and respond to business opportunities in order to stay innovative and competitive in a turbulent and quickly changing business environment. An agile firm (one that demonstrates agility) has the capabilities and processes to respond to unexpected environmental changes.
To meet business agility, shaping skills of work force is becoming very crucial for organizations. One of the ways to meet those challenges could be agile way of shaping skills.
This article proposes 3 agile ways & states significance of each using dimensions of speed, relevance & measurement.
1. Sharing Knowledge Before Acquiring
It means sharing the knowledge with other concerned colleagues before you start acquiring it yourself. Normally when we come across new set of knowledge, we tend to acquire that first before passing it to other colleagues or team members. This new approach is just opposite to that.
On speed dimension, this approach is best. If you wait to acquire the knowledge before passing to others then there is a delay associated with it. So your organization’s overall skills growth also lags behind by that many days. We never realize its impacts but it does affect organization by losing unseen business opportunities & its growth prospects.
On relevance dimension, this approach is no good. Since you have not seen the knowledge material yourself so there are chances that you may pass knowledge to others that may be less relevant to them. This will waste their & organization’s time. More matured approach could be to have a quick glance of knowledge material before passing.
On measurement dimension, this approach lacks as there is no way to measure how much knowledge others acquired.
2. Screen Knowledge Material & Direct it to Right People
An organization can form a knowledge tapping committee. Members of that can identify trends of emerging technologies, take a call on what will be the most effective learning materials, who will be the right recipients to acquire that knowledge & can set measurement criteria to measure how much one has absorbed at the end of the exercise. It makes sense to have a marketing or sales guy in the committee as he has more handle on customer’s future business needs.
On speed dimension, this approach is of medium type. Since a layer of knowledge tapping committee gets added so some delay does take place.
On relevance dimension, this approach could be the best because it involves screening by multiple people & helps in central planning by taking inputs from marketing people.
On measurement dimension, this approach is of medium type. Organization need to put extra efforts in building questionnaire to evaluate knowledge acquired in an employee. For every new skill, this quiz needs to get built up. These activities increase cost. Also there is no way to monitor decay of knowledge in person & find need of refreshing skills of individual if he hasn’t kept himself updated.
3. Build Learning Portal Site & Subscribe with Web Analytics Agencies
In this approach, organization creates extranet type web site for its employees. A knowledge tapping committee can decide which all links to provide on this site. Organization also decides to register this site with agencies like Fireclick (http://www.fireclick.com/) which is in business of providing web analytics services. Web Analytics firms provide analysis report of your site on different parameters (e.g. no. of hits on links by different users etc.) period wise.
On speed dimension, this approach is of medium type. Since a layer of knowledge tapping committee & modification of web site is involved so some delay does take place. It is slower than previous 2 approaches.
On relevance dimension, this approach could be best for knowledge material available on internet.
On measurement dimension, this approach is better than above 2 approaches. With the help of web analytics you can evaluate who has traversed what link on what date. Also last traverse date of a link for an individual can be seen. By adopting some formula for knowledge refresh needs, people can be identified. Online quiz can be put up on web site to evaluate knowledge acquisition of an employee.