Panning for Gold: 8 Tips on How to Uncover Expertise in Your Organization 

By Jasmine Long
June 27, 2024
3 min read
Blog
Engagement

Introduction  

Have you ever discovered a colleague’s hidden talent or unexpected skill at work? Perhaps they excel at Excel, know all about data privacy, or speak fluent Japanese. People are an organization’s greatest asset, with a surprising and amazing range of collective skills and knowledge 

This blog explores how to start uncovering your experts and finding the “gold.” It examines the value of this opportunity, its importance, associated challenges, and how intranets can help, offering valuable tips for success. 

An intranet can help uncover experts and skills, allowing users to find the right person. However, this requires coordination and change management.  

Here are 8 tips for success: 

Involve a Cross-Functional Team 

Defining and uncovering expertise impacts the entire organization. A project likely led by HR and Learning should involve a cross-functional team with representatives from different functions and lines of business. These teams can provide input on their skills, identify experts, and encourage employees to complete their profiles on the intranet. 

Define “Expert” and “Skill” 

“Expert” and “skill” can mean different things across organizations. Definitions may vary in proficiency, expertise, and knowledge levels. Clear definitions prevent ambiguity and ensure everyone is on the same page. This is crucial in areas like compliance, where levels of risk are involved. 

Decide on Your Approach to Validation 

Validation of skills and expertise can be sensitive. Some organizations allow self-declaration, while others review and validate expertise, particularly in technical or risky areas. Validation offers confidence in true expertise but can be sensitive and subjective. It’s often best left to existing management within a team or department. 

Use Controlled Terms 

Controlled terms drive consistency in describing experts and skills, making it easier to find the right experts. Define a taxonomy of terms and types of skills to be recorded, considering input from multiple stakeholders. Remember, the list of terms will evolve, and disagreements are inevitable. 

Align Expertise and Skills to Other Initiatives 

Any initiative to define and record expertise should align with existing systems and programs, such as team or department skill records, learning and training programs, certifications, onboarding processes, HR systems, professional communities, and even customer-facing profiles. 

Configure People Profiles 

Once the approach is defined, configure people profiles to capture skills and expertise, including necessary fields and controlled terms. Flexible solutions like Intranet Connections are advantageous as they allow customization without costly development, unlike more rigid systems like SharePoint. 

Run a Campaign to Complete Profiles 

Run an engaging campaign to encourage profile completion, highlighting real value use cases. Consider incentives like contests or charitable contributions for completed profiles. Involve senior stakeholders to lead by example and create a model profile for guidance. 

Drive Continual Improvement 

A skills initiative is ongoing. Measure adoption and success, capture success stories, add intranet features like expert feeds, ensure new employees record their skills during onboarding, and use recorded skills to plan learning and training needs. 

By following these steps, organizations can uncover and leverage the hidden expertise within their workforce, turning a goldmine of skills into tangible benefits. 

Conclusion:  

We are all sitting on a goldmine of untapped expertise. Uncovering and utilizing these hidden skills can solve problems more effectively, support productivity, improve customer service, drive learning, reduce skills gaps, support recruitment, and enhance employee engagement. These are not mere “nice to haves” but essential for improving productivity, attracting and retaining talent, and addressing skills gaps.  

Don’t neglect the hidden experts in your organization any longer! Check out our FREE eBook “Sitting On a Goldmine: Uncovering the Hidden Experts and Skills in Your Organization” here and discover your internal experts.  

By Jasmine Long

Jasmine is passionate about harnessing the power of digital marketing to drive social impact. She previously was the Communications Assistant at Jumpstart Refugee Talent, a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating employment opportunities for refugees in Canada. She is currently the Marketing Coordinator for Intranet Connections!