Cartoon Coffee Break: Helping employees tap into hidden skills

Cornerstone Editors

Careers are no longer linear. In fact, more employees are switching jobs and even career paths, and embracing the idea of their next role, gig or opportunity could be something completely different from what they’re doing right now.

Having transferable skills is not just useful for employees looking to start a new line of work — it’s also crucial for organizations to navigate today’s great talent reshuffle. By helping employees develop adjacent skills or discover new abilities, you’re promoting their career growth, while also building a workforce of more flexible, adaptable and empowered employees who are prepared to confront new challenges.

Cartoon by Terry LaBan, cartoonist and illustrator.

Read on for advice from authors around the Cornerstone Resource Corner on how tapping into hidden or adjacent skills can help employees own their career journeys.

Lean into employee capabilities instead of competencies

Hiring, managing and developing people based solely on their existing competencies isn’t a responsive enough strategy to help your organization pivot to changing market conditions — and it can potentially even limit employees from accessing growth opportunities. In order to develop well-rounded employees who can be successful in today’s nimble business landscape, talent strategies need to instead focus on capabilities, writes Cornerstone’s Dream Chua.

“When you shift the focus to skills and capabilities, interpersonal skills and worker potential are weaved into a holistic employee profile,” Chua adds. “The emphasis here is on high-level abilities and traits that your employees and your organization need for future success, such as communication, collaboration and emotional intelligence.”

Read Chua’s full article here.

Unearth skill adjacencies to upgrade reskilling efforts

Another way organizations can proactively and quickly address skills gaps (sometimes even before they appear) is by locating skills adjacencies and leveraging them to develop new and necessary skills. Skill adjacencies are links between employees’ existing abilities and those they want or need to learn. By using a proactive, data-driven approach to locating and strengthening these existing skills for new roles, organizations can not only better fill in-demand roles, but also show employees that they’re invested in their careers and growth, writes Cornerstone’s Mike Bollinger.

“Today, some 40% of employees aren’t confident that their abilities will be relevant in the future,” he shares. “But by directing them to skills development and training that’s aligned with their existing capabilities and their interests, employees will more easily and rapidly transition from their current roles, to emerging positions, to new needs within their organization.”

Read Bollinger’s full article here.

Offer "internal gigs" so employees can flex their skills

To keep employees engaged and fill critical skills gaps, organizations can try out ‘internal gigs’ where employees can practice and develop their skills. At Cornerstone, we introduced Cornerstone Gigs: an internal talent marketplace where employees can post opportunities for others to take on short-term assignments outside their usual department.

With more than 250 applicants and counting, the program has proven to be a successful avenue for employees to expand their skills while exploring different areas of the business, boosting employee engagement and reshaping how people think about finding “better” jobs.

Read the full article about Cornerstone Gigs here.

Improving employee experience and business outcomes together

Today’s top organizations are tapping into career mobility, promoting employee skills development, learning and growth to engage their teams in exciting new ways. And in supporting workers on their growth journeys and providing the opportunities and resources to learn and develop new skills — or use their existing skills in new ways — organizations can not only survive, but thrive in today’s evolving business environment.

Editor's Note: This post is part of our “Cartoon Coffee Break” series. While we take talent management seriously, we also know it's important to have a good laugh. Check back regularly for a new cartoon.

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