HR Tech

Skills Thinking to Reduce Costs

How Skills analysis and agile working can create productive employees and reduce the need for marginal headcount additions or replacements roles
Ian Turnpenny

Market slow downs, interest rate and inflation uncertainty and geo-political tensions are playing out across most business sectors, and heavily impacting on the tech industry. 

After a decade of up-and-to-the-right growth, both in revenue, marketing spend and, critically, headcount, times are now changing. 

Many tech companies, including the stalwart FAANGS are laying off increasing numbers of employees, realizing, perhaps ironically, that technology can solve many of the productivity challenges within their business operations, and that they clearly over hired. 

Twitter has layed off 2/3rd of all employees, and the platform is still working. Meta has let 15%, or over 13,000 people go - spurring a short rally in the stock and renewed vigor within internal teams. 

All companies, however big or small, are now looking at how they can reduce headcount, or at the margins, get more from their existing talent base. 

Do we really need to hire that additional PM or marketing professional? Couldn't we just use our existing talent base to get that extra 15% out of employees, and uncover that hidden talent, skill and interest from existing teams. 

How can a detailed skills analysis of all employees, and using an agile, task based approach to working, help? 


How to optimize employee output using agile and skills analysis?

Agile and skills analysis can be powerful tools for optimizing employee output. Agile is a methodology that focuses on flexibility, adaptability, and collaboration, and can help organizations to quickly respond to changing circumstances and deliver results in fast-paced, dynamic environments. Skills analysis, on the other hand, is a process of identifying, evaluating, and organizing the skills and abilities of an individual or a group of employees.

By combining agile and skills analysis, managers can gain a better understanding of the strengths and areas for improvement of their employees, and can use this information to optimize employee output.

 Some specific ways to use agile and skills analysis to optimize employee output include the following:

  1. Identify the skills and abilities that are necessary for success in the company's industry, and use this information to guide the development of agile teams and project groups. This could involve conducting a skills analysis to identify the skills and expertise that are available within the organization, and using this information to build teams that have the right mix of skills and abilities to succeed.
  2. Use agile principles and practices, such as regular feedback and iteration, to support the development and growth of individual employees. This could involve providing regular opportunities for employees to learn, practice, and apply new skills, and using agile methods to track and measure their progress and performance.
  3. Use agile metrics, such as velocity and burn rate, to track and optimize the output of individual employees and teams. This could involve setting clear and measurable goals for each employee and team, and using agile metrics to track their progress and identify areas for improvement.
  4. Regularly review and update the skills analysis to ensure that it remains relevant and accurate. This could involve conducting regular surveys or focus groups with employees, or monitoring industry trends and developments. By regularly reviewing and updating the skills analysis, managers can gain a more complete and accurate picture of the skills and abilities of their employees, and can use this information to optimize employee output.

Skills thinking and and detailed analysis can clearly help companies get the most out of their employees, can increase engagement and uncover hidden talents within the organisation. 

This helps reduce attrition, makes for a more engaged contribution and, critically, means more can be produced for less - something everyone needs to be mindful of in these challenging times.