Report: Good practices for the identification of skills and capabilities

What if productivity could increase by four per cent simply by better utilising existing resources? In a world where workforce dynamics are constantly evolving, the effective identification and utilisation of skills have emerged as crucial factors for organisational success and individual prosperity. However, despite their significance, many skills remain unidentified and underutilised in the workplace, representing a substantial untapped resource of human potential.


Understanding the Challenge

A collaborative effort between Demos Helsinki, Innolink, and TIEKE for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, this study aimed to address the challenge of skill identification. Through comprehensive document analysis, interviews and surveys, this study sheds light on the challenges and benefits of identifying and valuing different types of skills and capabilities, both from the perspective of the individual as well as the employee. This analysis also uncovered the associated challenges, development needs, and benefits.


Insights from surveys and interviews

Drawing insights from surveys and interviews, the study delved deeper into the intricacies of skill recognition and utilisation in the workplace. The surveys and interviews were carried out with:


– Employers
– Experts supporting workers and jobseekers in the field of skills identification practices
– Individuals and organisation representatives


They also featured individuals’ perceptions on how identifying and making visible informal skills affects their employability, work engagement, wellbeing and career planning.


Quantitative analysis of survey data provided valuable insights into prevailing trends, while qualitative content analysis of open-ended responses enriched understanding of underlying dynamics. Thematic interviews offered a nuanced exploration of individuals’ experiences and perspectives, providing invaluable context for interpreting survey findings. In addition to the findings and analysis, the report brings together practical tips from the surveys and interviews on best practices for individuals, employers and experts to identify and utilize different skills.


Key findings

The study’s findings shed light on several key insights into the current state of skill recognition and utilisation:


– Inequitable Valuation: Not all types of skills are equally valued in the workplace. Factors such as degrees and qualifications still shape our perception of skills and capabilities.
– Underutilisation of Skills: Even recognised skills are not always effectively utilised in workplaces, indicating a gap between skill recognition and application.
– Internal Disparities: Organisational internal structures do not recognise and develop all types of skills equally.


Recommendations: Fostering a Culture of Learning and Recognition

Building upon these findings, the study proposes actionable recommendations aimed at fostering a culture of learning and recognition within organisations:


– Promoting a Learning-Driven Culture: Establishing an atmosphere of trust, psychological safety, and constructive feedback is crucial for nurturing a culture where all skills are valued and appreciated.
– Utilising Skill Identification Tools Appropriately: Effective implementation of various skill identification methods hinges on clearly understanding their purpose and context.


Embracing Lifelong Learning: A Path to Resilience

Lastly, the study emphasises the importance of lifelong learning as a catalyst for individual resilience and organisational agility. In times of crisis, investing in skill identification and development can strengthen individuals’ resilience, foster a sense of agency, and drive innovation. Experiences of learning, realisation and success create a sense of meaning and resilience that help to carry communities through challenging times. At their best, they also generate new innovations, ways of thinking and acting that benefit employers and society at large. By embracing a culture of continuous learning, organisations can unlock the full potential of their workforce and thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.


Conclusion: Seizing the Opportunity

As organisations navigate the complexities of the modern workplace, this study serves as a call to action, urging them to reassess their approach to skill recognition and utilisation. By embracing a culture of learning and recognition, organisations can harness the diverse talents of their workforce and chart a course towards sustainable growth and success. It is an opportunity to unlock hidden abilities and cultivate an environment where every individual can contribute meaningfully to collective objectives.


For more information on this project, feel free to contact:

Eedla Rahikainen
Senior Expert & Legal Counsel