Standards exist across almost every field – communication protocols, engineering, healthcare…the list goes on. Standards help in moving information from one pool of information to another and in creating a platform for rich analytics. In the case of healthcare, for instance, standardization supports a common understanding between doctors, insurers and others.
Standardization of Data on Skills in the HR Space
Standardization in the HR space should provide benefits to individuals, businesses and governments. Individuals should not have to express their talent in different forms and templates as required by different job boards. A standard format used by all job boards would benefit both individuals and employers. Yes, these job boards may lose out in the short term, but everyone will benefit eventually as has always happened with standardization in other industries.
Types of Standardization
There are different kinds of standards. One is the technical i.e. how data needs to be transmitted between systems so that each of the systems can use it well. JSON is a data format that helps systems use data from other systems.
Then there are content standards i.e. using the same words. For example, I live in Chennai which was earlier called Madras. But people still use the current name, Chennai, as well as the previous one, Madras.
In order to ensure standard names are used for crunching information, systems force the user to use menus and other formats to make them use the same terms. This helps because a seller of handicrafts in Madras (i.e. the way he refers to the city) can also be found by someone searching for a seller of handicrafts in Chennai. In the talent space this is a problem that almost all recruiters are familiar with – for example, Digital Marketing = Web Marketing = Internet Marketing = Online Marketing.
Standardization of Skills Data
Apart from content standardization, what HR most urgently needs for maximising productivity is the standardization in the format of skills. Resumes, Job Descriptions, Performance Appraisals, Interview Forms, Training Plans and others contain information on skills of people and jobs. But given that templates used for the different functions as well for the same function by different systems are different, information is not in a form that can be crunched easily and effectively. Information from interview forms cannot flow into training and so vital information is lost. Job Descriptions need to be modified for different job boards.
The benefits of standardization
Talent Management teams should ideally be spending time analyzing data and putting it to use for better recruitment, training, people development and such. Today, data standards have made it easy for systems to talk and use/re-use data between systems. In HR we need standardization on the content formats immediately so that skills data can be used and re-used effectively for the benefit of individuals, businesses and governments.
The Skills Profiler by It’s Your Skills is an attempt at creating such a standard for everyone in the HR space. It offers a mechanism for creating a structured skills profile. At the backend, this consists of a database of skills or a Skills Ontology, one that is constantly updated. At the front-end, there is a simple user interface. The output of Skills Profiler is applicable for both jobs as well as people.