Workday Skills Cloud Debuts

October 4, 2018

Skills cloud is a universal skills ontology that helps organizations cleanse, understand, and relate job skills data. Built into the underlying framework of Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), the skills cloud leverages machine learning to recognize and identify related skills, consume new skills, and continuously learn. Using its skills cloud as a foundation in Workday HCM, Workday aims to help customers easily tap talent inside and outside of their organizations.

Today's skills gap has every business leader thinking about how they can better develop and reskill workers. But, to effectively connect people with opportunities, organizations first need to solve a fundamental skills data problem that exists at the core of their workforce technology. There are multiple descriptions for every skill that exists, and skills are constantly changing--with new ones emerging and others becoming obsolete--making it impossible to keep up with the administration and reconciliation of this unstructured data set. Workday found that common skills can have up to 20-plus synonyms, which the skills cloud consolidates to reveal the relationship between skills--for example, showing that "patient management" is related to "urgent care" and "clinical trials" for nurses.

Within the skills cloud, Workday has already successfully applied machine learning matching to its own proprietary data, customer contributed data, and additional seed data from public sources to reduce one million user-entered skills down to a manageable 55,000 verified skills. With access to 200 million skills from a customer community representing more than 31 million workers, and powerful machine learning algorithms capable of narrowing these skills down to a few hundred families, Workday is uniquely suited to simplify the skill language for recruiters, managers, and HR professionals.

Once customers elect to participate in the skills cloud service, their contributed data is de-identified and added to a secure, aggregated dataset. Skills cloud users will have ready access to a Workday-managed skills ontology that enables them to avoid spending time on skills administration altogether. The skills cloud also makes it easier for workers to enhance their profiles by recommending skills based on what an individual enters in the system. For instance, a recruiter entering "talent acquisition" as a skill may have "candidate sourcing" and "employment brand" suggested. In time, the system will recommend skills based on a person's title or job description, and automatically tag skills or make inferences based on data added.

The skills cloud will drive future Workday innovation focused on talent optimization to help organizations clearly see where their skills gaps exist and better understand the untapped potential of their workforce. With this technology underpinning in place,

Workday will be able to build out talent marketplace functionality that would enable customers to more effectively connect work owners with skilled workers, to reimagine:

How work gets done and is managed--Soon, the skills cloud will have the ability to provide more comprehensive talent matching and recommendations. For example, a hiring manager searching for a candidate with a competency in "web design" would also be provided a candidate with "graphic design," "web development," and/or "Flash design" skills.

How to engage existing workers and apply their skills and knowledge--The skills cloud could help employers connect existing employees with more relevant learning and development opportunities. For instance, an employee looking to broaden his public speaking skills could find targeted learning content on oration or presentation to help further develop this capability.

How to seamlessly, and immediately, deploy talent when and where it is needed--As organizations start to deploy new talent acquisition strategies to keep up with the rapid pace of change in business, they could use the skills cloud to source gig (contract) or external talent for an open role. For example, a marketing manager in need of a video editor for an event would be able to consider multiple external candidates--all proven workers that have previously provided services for and are familiar with the company.

"Nearly every organization wants to develop and reskill their workforce to grow their people and their business, but they lack a fundamental understanding of the skills they have and the skills they need," said Cristina Goldt, vice president, HCM products, Workday. "Our skills cloud tackles this issue head on with machine learning algorithms that bring calm to the chaotic language of skills. This will ultimately help customers connect skills to people in a more meaningful way to improve how they get work done, develop existing workers, and allocate talent to better meet evolving business needs."

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