Aug PR article_image resource (2023)

 Do you frequently adjust job descriptions to accommodate changing work?

 Can you upskill and reskill employees fast enough to grow adjacent skills?

 Are degrees and experience no longer relevant to your fast-changing business needs?

Are good candidates being declined for inadequate work experience?

 Are employees struggling to find new opportunities beyond their CVs?


If you ticked some or all the boxes, read on.


For years, job descriptions have defined how organisations are structured. “Structuring an organisation by job titles worked well when businesses changed slowly, and employees were thought of as cogs in the machine,” said Michael Gullan, CEO of G&G Advocacy, an eLearning consultancy. “Globally, smart HR teams are focused more on skills, empowering employees to be agile, autonomous and perform beyond their duties.”

A 2023 survey by Deloitte shows that less than 20% of business leaders believe work is best structured by job description, and more HR professionals and business leaders are becoming skills-centric. “For example, an employee with excellent strategic skills can be deployed to work on client business while also forming part of an internal team tasked with optimizing the overall business strategy,” said Gullan.


Gullan cites the following reasons for this “exciting shift” towards a skills approach to structuring and hiring candidates:

1. Pressure to perform – When employees' skills match outputs, organisations can increase productivity and employee satisfaction.

2. Agility and flexibility – To survive rapidly changing market conditions, employees deployed for their skills, not just job descriptions, get results.

3. Skills and talent gaps – Focusing on the work employees can accomplish based on their skills opens possibilities and mitigates talent gaps as you can harness your existing resources instead of looking for external hires. It also inspires employees to learn and grow.

4. Increased diversity – Hiring employees for their skills rather than their experience or network facilitates diversity and a high-performing workforce.


“Like all successful business practices, it all starts with a clear strategy. Once you know what you want to achieve, then you match the skills needed to achieve them,” suggests Gullan.

Of course, it’s not that simple. Gullan suggests doing an audit of employee skills, interests, and values to identify skills opportunities and gaps. Once you have a clear view of your employees’ skills and passions, implement the following:

  • Match employees with work, teams, or projects that align with their skills, passions, and preferences.
  • Assign work based on adjacent skills allowing them opportunities to grow.
  • Supplement existing skills with extremal hires, and consultants.
  • Implement a targeted eLearning programme to develop skills.
  • Trust employees to deliver on outcomes not just their past credentials and job history.

When you understand the unique portfolio of skills, values, preferences, and interests each employee has to offer, they are empowered to contribute with their existing skills, develop new skills and move on to projects or departments as their growing skills are needed. “People are happiest and productive when their work aligns with who they are and what they care about and when they are continually learning and growing,” Gullan concludes.