skillstx brand green with TAG

A SFIA Success Story: Building a High-Functioning Enterprise

A SFIA Success Story: Building a High-Functioning Enterprise

Welcome to Cynergetic Solutions, a fictitious visionary and dynamic company at the forefront of technological innovation. As leaders in their industry, Cynergetic Solutions recognized the transformative potential of the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). They embarked on an inspiring journey of adopting this comprehensive skill and competency framework with the help of SkillsTX.

Their success story serves as a beacon of inspiration for organizations seeking to leverage the power of SFIA to enhance their workforce capabilities.

In this story, we delve into the remarkable journey of Cynergetic Solutions and explore how SkillsTX can support organizations in embarking on a similar transformative journey, enabling them to unleash their full potential and achieve remarkable success.

In 2023, a high-functioning organization (Cynergetic Solutions) realized the need for a comprehensive framework to manage its growing digital / IT workforce. They were struggling with talent management, finding the right candidates for open positions, and retaining top performers.

Cynergetic adopted the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) to address these issues, with the full support of its executive leadership team and a strong organizational change management plan in place.

The journey toward adopting SFIA was not simple. They had to navigate complex political and bureaucratic structures in IT and HR teams and address the concerns and fears of “assessing” its employees. However, with the right approach and communications strategy, the organization overcame these challenges and, by implementing SFIA, reaped its efforts’ many rewards.

The SFIA framework provided Cynergetic with a clear understanding of the skills required for each role in its digital workforce, which included almost all staff. It allowed them to map out the skills and competencies required for each role consistently, which helped them more accurately assess potential candidates’ skills and develop personalized career paths for existing employees.

By implementing SFIA, they created a culture of continuous learning and development. They implemented various training, mentoring, and coaching programs and encouraged employees to earn new skills and digital badges. This focus on upskilling and reskilling allowed Cynergetic to keep pace with the rapidly changing technology landscape and maintain a competitive edge.

The adoption of SFIA had a profound impact on Cynergetic’s workforce. With a clear understanding of the skills required for success, employees could take ownership of their career development and make meaningful contributions to the organization. They were also better equipped to tackle complex challenges and collaborate more effectively, improving productivity and efficiency.

Overall, adopting SFIA proved to be a game-changer. It built a high-performing, agile, and future-ready organization by investing in its workforce and providing them with the necessary tools to succeed.

The Beginning of the Journey

In 2023, Cynergetic realized it struggled with talent management in its digital/technology-focused workforce. They had trouble identifying the right candidates for open positions and retaining top performers. They recognized that their current talent strategies were insufficient for the rapidly changing technology landscape and needed a more comprehensive framework to inventory and more strategically enable workforce planning.

After extensive research, they adopted the internationally accepted Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). SFIA is a comprehensive framework that provides a common language for describing the skills and competencies required for success in the digital economy. It covers a broad range of skills, from technical expertise to business and interpersonal skills.

Cynergetic recognized the potential benefits of adopting SFIA but knew the journey would be difficult. They were a large organization with complex political and bureaucratic structures, and they would need to navigate these structures to adopt SFIA successfully. They also knew that they would need to address the concerns and fears of their employees, who may be resistant to change or have preconceived notions of what it means to be “assessed.”

To address these challenges, they developed a comprehensive change management plan. They began by engaging with the executive team to ensure they fully understood the benefits of SFIA and were committed to supporting the adoption process. They then established a cross-functional team to lead the adoption process, with representatives from HR, IT, and business units.

The cross-functional team was tasked with developing a roadmap for adopting SFIA. They identified the key milestones and activities required for the adoption process and the resources required to support them. They also identified the key stakeholders who would need to be engaged throughout the process, including employees, managers, and external partners.

Engaging Employees and Building Support

One of Cynergetic’s biggest challenges was engaging its employees and building support for adopting SFIA. They recognized that some employees might resist change, have watched the movie Office Space, and have preconceived ideas about what an organization is up to when they start “assessing” people. They knew they would need to address these concerns and fears to implement the framework successfully.

They developed a comprehensive communication and engagement plan to engage employees and build support for SFIA. They communicated the benefits of SFIA to employees through various channels, including town hall meetings, email communications, and intranet updates. They also trained managers on SFIA to ensure they fully understood the framework and how it would impact employee roles.

They also created a network of SFIA champions within the organization. These champions were employees who were passionate about SFIA and were willing to promote the framework within its teams and departments. The champions were more comprehensively trained on SFIA and provided with resources to help them promote the framework to their colleagues.

Through these efforts, Cynergetic was able to build support for SFIA among its employees. They were able to address concerns and fears and demonstrate the benefits of SFIA across its workforce.

Adopting SFIA

With the support of its executives and employees, Cynergetic was ready to begin the adoption of SFIA. The adoption process was broken down into several key milestones, including:

  • Mapping roles and skills to SFIA: They mapped existing roles and job descriptions to the SFIA framework. This allowed them to identify gaps in its current workforce and develop a plan to address them.
  • Developing personalized career paths: Using the SFIA framework, they developed personalized career paths for its employees. These career paths outlined the skills and competencies required for each role and the learning and development programs required to progress to the next level.
  • More targeted training programs: With a skills inventory of all digital staff, they were able to identify common skill gaps where they could provide larger group training opportunities and were better able to place employees into the right learning and development programs, rarely receiving feedback that employees were in training programs that were not at the right level.
  • Encouraging digital credentialing: Cynergetic encouraged employees to earn new SFIA digital badges to demonstrate their knowledge, skill proficiency, and/or professional competency in specific areas.

The adoption of SFIA had a profound impact on their workforce. With a clear understanding of the skills required for success, employees could take ownership of their career development and make meaningful contributions to the organization. They were also better equipped to tackle complex challenges and collaborate effectively, improving productivity and efficiency.

Impact of SFIA on Talent Management

The adoption of SFIA significantly impacted Cynergetic’s talent management practices. By mapping its roles and skills to the SFIA framework, the organization could develop a clear understanding of the skills required for each role in its digital workforce. This allowed them to assess candidates’ skills for open positions more accurately and develop highly personalized career paths for their employees.

They also used SFIA to drive a culture of continuous learning and development. They implemented various training programs and encouraged employees to earn new certifications and credentials. This focus on upskilling and reskilling allowed them to keep pace with the rapidly changing technology landscape and maintain a competitive edge.

The adoption of SFIA also had a positive impact on employee retention. Employees could see clear career paths within the organization and were provided with the training and development opportunities needed to progress along these paths. This helped to increase employee engagement and loyalty and reduced turnover substantially.

In addition, adopting SFIA allowed Cynergetic to manage its external workforce more effectively. By clearly defining the skills required for each role, Cynergetic could assess the skills of external contractors and partners more accurately and ensure that they were providing the right skills to meet its needs.

Impact of SFIA on Business Operations

The adoption of SFIA also significantly impacted Cynergetic’s business operations. By clearly understanding the skills required for success, Cynergetic could better align its IT workforce with its business goals and objectives. This led to improved productivity, efficiency, and quality of work.

They were also able to manage their IT projects more effectively. With a clear understanding of the skills required for each role, they could assemble project teams with the right mix of skills and expertise. This helped to ensure that projects were completed on time and within budget and that they could deliver high-quality results to their clients and stakeholders.

Adopting SFIA also allowed Cynergetic to manage its IT budget more effectively. By clearly understanding the skills required for each role, they could more accurately assess the costs associated with hiring and developing its IT workforce. This helped them to make more informed decisions about its staffing and training needs and to optimize its IT budget.

Implementing the SkillsTX Talent eXperience Platform:

To support their ambitious SFIA adoption initiative, Cynergetic Solutions turned to the cutting-edge SkillsTX Talent eXperience platform. Recognizing the need for a robust solution to manage and optimize talent development processes, they seamlessly integrated SkillsTX into their organizational infrastructure.

One of the key advantages of SkillsTX was its robust analytics capabilities. The platform provided comprehensive analytics and reporting features, allowing them to gain valuable insights into their workforce’s skill profiles, development progress, and overall competency levels. This data-driven approach empowered Cynergetic to make informed decisions regarding talent management, training investments, and resource allocation.

“With SkillsTX, Cynergetic Solutions effortlessly identified skill gaps, tailored training programs, and facilitated targeted upskilling and reskilling initiatives for our workforce. The platform’s intuitive interface, comprehensive analytics, and personalized learning pathways empowered employees to take ownership of their professional development, fostering a culture of continuous growth and innovation within our organization,” said Miles O’Halloran, Chief Information Officer.

SkillsTX became the cornerstone of Cynergetic Solutions’ SFIA implementation, enabling them to unleash the full potential of their workforce and drive unparalleled success.

Lessons Learned

They learned several key lessons during the adoption process, including:

  • Executive buy-in is critical: The adoption of SFIA was only possible because Cynergetic’s executives were fully committed to the framework. Building support for SFIA among the organization’s employees without this buy-in would have been much more challenging.
  • Communication and engagement are key: To successfully implement SFIA, Cynergetic communicated the framework’s benefits to its employees and engaged them in the adoption process. Without this communication and engagement, it would have been much more challenging to build support for SFIA.
  • Personalization is important: By developing personalized career paths for its employees, Cynergetic created a sense of ownership and investment in adopting SFIA. This personalization was critical to the success of the adoption process.
  • Having SFIA Software is crucial: A software solution to support SFIA implementation is crucial as it provides a centralized platform for effectively managing and aligning employee skills with organizational goals, enabling streamlined skill assessment, identification of skill gaps, and targeted development opportunities.

Conclusion

The adoption of SFIA profoundly impacted Cynergetic’s workforce, talent management practices, and business operations. By clearly understanding the skills required for success, the organization could manage its digital workforce, projects, and budgets more effectively. They also drove a continuous learning and development culture, improving productivity and efficiency organization-wide.

The adoption of SFIA was not without its challenges. Still, they overcame these challenges through strong executive buy-in, effective communication and engagement, and a focus on employee experience. As a result, they realized the benefits of SFIA and positioned themselves for success in the rapidly changing technology landscape.


If this story resonates with you and your organization, you can start your SFIA journey by downloading the FREE SFIA Cheat Sheet from SkillsTX.

You can also complete a FREE SFIA Assessment for yourself.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions, thoughts, or feedback.


AUTHOR NOTE: Reproduced with thanks to John Kleist III, Chief Growth Officer for SkillsTX and author of Digital Talent Strategies, a popular newsletter on LinkedIn.  John proudly considers himself a Talent Management Revolutionary: Spearheading Skills-Based Digital Talent Strategies with SkillsTX Talent eXperience Skills Intelligence and the #SFIA Framework | Unlock Your #PassionForPotential.