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Decoding #1 – Creating a jobs and skills repository: pitfalls to avoid

Discover “Decoding”, a mini-series of articles on skills management and the common pitfalls associated with implementing some key HR processes such as: the creation of a jobs and skills repository, the strategic workforce planning (a legal obligation in France known as GPEC), the internal mobility and the skills development plan.
– With the testimonial from Jocelyn Martin, HR consultant, ex-HR Director of Stago.



Today, it is clear that in order to stay competitive, organizations must be able to identify the skills they have, those they need to develop, but also the skills they lack and need to acquire to improve their performance tomorrow.


In other words, implementing and conducting a skills management policy has become a real strategic tool for organizations.


While numerous companies and public organizations have initiated steps in this direction, many of them have found out that the HR processes on which they rely prove to be undersized or unsuited to the constant changes in jobs and skills.

In order to understand how to optimize these processes, we commence this mini-series with the process that is undoubtedly the most foundational: the creation of a jobs and skills repository. What are the pitfalls frequently identified during this process and how can they be avoided?



1. What is a jobs and skills repository?


A jobs and skills repository is an HR management tool that lists and organizes all the jobs and skills present within an organization. It provides a snapshot at a given moment of all the jobs and skills available inside a company or public institution.


Related: What’s a jobs & skills repository? How does it relate to skill mapping?



2. What are the pitfalls frequently identified when creating a jobs and skills repository?


When setting up this process, it is not uncommon for the teams in charge of the project to:


 Mix skills and job descriptions:


One of the founding steps in the creation of a jobs and skills repository is to identify the skills associated with the organization’s business lines.

In practice, however, HR departments sometimes interchange skills and job descriptions; the latter combine the objectives and activities associated with a given position. It is thus important to differentiate the two notions and put the right base in place (founded on skills).

« The norm in business is to do nothing for skills. »

Jocelyn Martin, HR consultant, former HRD at Stago

 Not agree on the definition of skills:


When creating a jobs and skills repository, it is generally difficult to establish standard skills accepted by all. For example, the competency “leading a work meeting” can be broken down into many different skills.


The definition of skills can thus be the subject of long discussions between HR managers, domain experts, and employees which makes the procedure very time-consuming. Timeframes of the order of 18 months are not uncommon.

« We had to find benchmarks. But people don't agree. We spend square hours there. »

Jocelyn Martin, HR consultant, former HRD at Stago

 Find themselves using an outdated tool:


The creation of a jobs and skills repository is a complex subject. Yet it is not an end in itself.

Given the lifespan of a skill (five years on average), a jobs and skills repository needs to be kept up-to-date periodically- but given the operational workload, very few organizations are able to do this.



3. How to avoid these pitfalls?


Here are 3 ways to optimize the creation of a jobs and skills repository:


 Call upon an external partner:


The presence of a third party reduces the execution time of the jobs and skills repository, in particular by limiting internal discussions concerning the definition of job families and skills.


 Use standardized jobs and skills data:


In addition to saving considerable time, the use of external cross-functional data that can be transposed to all business lines enables organizations to build strategic and objective tools with high added value.


Adopt a dynamic solution:


Faced with the evolution of jobs and skills, having dynamic tools that integrate market changes allows organizations to gain in efficiency and relevance.



When it comes to skills management projects, digital solutions and AI are powerful allies for organizations. It is for this reason that Boostrs has created an ecosystem of solutions that support you in implementing key HR processes, including the creation of your jobs and skills repository.


Discover Boostrs' Map & Match APIs