Measuring Skills at Work: Lessons from the Field

Teacher and student in masks in school hallway

Implementation of skills-based practices into the human capital life cycle has emerged as a more agile means of supporting organizational workforce needs and goals, while increasing career opportunities for a broader range of people (e.g., those without college degrees) and improving organizational diversity. One critical aspect in the implementation of skills-based practices is to be able to measure and track the skills that employees learn on the job.

In this report, we present the results of research, funded through a grant from Walmart, which looked at the landscape of employer skill validation practices and the systems and tools that support them through case study interviews with 10 employers and 5 tool providers.

Key Findings

  • Diverse, innovative measurement practices surfaced, such as using AI or creating "gig" assignments.
  • Employers emphasized the need for efficiency of measurement. For example, using rubrics for observational assessments or tablets for capturing and tracking skill acquisition.
  • Skill validation allows employees to track progress on skill development and identify new career options.
  • Skill validation allows employers to more accurately assess workforce capabilities, facilitating future readiness and crisis resiliency.
  • Holistic learning records can be used to capture skills acquired through training, education, and job experience
  • To encourage adoption at scale and yield desired returns, integration of skills validation practices into existing HR IT infrastructure is critical.
  • Digital credentialing technology can facilitate skill validation and tracking, sometimes improving portability.
Image of Christina Curnow
Managing Director, Human Capital Solutions