The Importance of a Skills Inventory

The rapid increase in technology and the need for business managers to ensure that their companies and organizations are adequately staffed with the right talent to enable them to meet the challenges of the future, point to the need for skills inventories.  A skills inventory is a reservoir of the skills, talents, and capabilities that the workforce possesses.  The main purpose of this article is to highlight some of the uses of a skills inventory.   The following are some of the ways in which a skills inventory is useful in:

  1. Gap analysis
  2. The placement of employees
  3. Promotion
  4. Recruitment
  5. Strategic planning
  6. Training

Gap analysis   Gap analysis is the process of comparing an existing condition with a desired condition so that corrective action can be taken to bring about the desired condition.  A skills inventory facilitates gap analysis by providing information on the current pool of available human resources.  

Placement of employees   Managers and supervisors try to place workers where they are most productive.  A manager who assigns a worker to a task without knowing if the worker possesses the skill set required for the task is courting trouble.  A skills inventory allows the manager or supervisor to identify the most suitable worker for the job.

Promotion    In the majority of cases, promotion is based on performance, education, experience, length of time with the company, competence, and other such relevant factors.  A skills inventory provides information on all these factors.  Many companies have adopted a policy of hiring from within.  This practice is unlikely to be effective in the absence of a skills inventory. 

Recruitment    This is the process of finding and hiring suitable candidates to fill current or future vacancies.  Just imagine the folly of recruiting new employees without knowing whether or not the company already has the desired employees!  For the purpose of recruitment, a skills inventory is of paramount importance.  

Strategic planning   Strategic planning is the process of determining where your organization will be at some specific time in the future and specifically how you will get there.  It involves the formulation of the organization’s mission, vision, and key values.  The accomplishment of the organization mission depends crucially on its human resources, and a skills inventory provides much needed information about the organization’s talents, skills, and capabilities.    

Training   This is a costly necessity if employees are expected to perform their duties and carry out their responsibilities effectively and efficiently.  Without a skills inventory, a company could spend thousands of dollars trying to develop skills its employees already possess, or providing the wrong type of training, or training the wrong employees.

To summarize, a skills inventory is extremely important for a company.  It is absolutely essential when carrying out a variety of function and operations.  We hope that human resources managers will maintain and use skills inventories and reap the benefits that they provide.

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