Skills Base is a tool that lets us catalog our skills across the team and track who has what skills, interests, and qualifications. This is useful in many ways:
- So individuals can make plans around where they want to grow
- So individuals can figure out who to ask if they have a question
- So practice areas can identify who knows what, as well as identify opportunities to grow as a team
- To support people planning
- To support the sales process
- To support hiring
Time spent on Skills Base can be tracked to PRODEV_COMMPART -> Professional Development.
We use the word "skills" broadly here. This includes both highly specific skills such as PHP programming, as well as broader workplace competencies (e.g. collaboration).
Team members should report the data in good faith and to the best of their knowledge. CivicActions may use this self-reported data in making decisions. CivicActions may ask for documentation or other information the company in its discretion believes is relevant to verifying the information.
To log in to Skills Base, use the Google Apps icon in the header of any CivicActions Google page. Scroll down and click on the Skills Base icon. You can also access this through the Google Workspace dashboard.
When you first log in you will need to go through a short onboarding:
- Select your team - this should be the team you normally work in
- Select your location - where do you normally work from
- Click "Proceed"
- If you have specific additional skills you can add these (after the initial self-assessment) by navigating to your skills tab and clicking "Add a skill".
- If you normally work in more than one of the teams listed then open a support ticket to request those be added to your user.
- If you work in an internal department, select the "CivicActions" team.
- Skills Base does support supervisor assessments, but we are not currently using that functionality.
Next, you will need to take an initial self-assessment. This typically takes around 30 minutes, depending on the number of skills your team tracks.
Taking a self-assessment
In general, you will be following the instructions on screen and clicking the button to proceed to the next stage or step.
We do include some hints as well as specifics here though, so please read this first:
- For each skill, you will be choosing a skill level on a 1-5 scale and an (optional) interest level.
- Before you start, hover over each skill and interest level (on the right) to read the definitions of each.
- Many skills include more detail. Hover over the skill name to read these to ensure you understand the scope of this skill. If it's still not clear, then use your best judgement (we will add more detail over time).
- Be honest: there are huge range of skills listed and even highly senior team members are likely to have a bunch of 1s and 2s. Being able to identify weaknesses makes it possible to grow.
- The interest level is optional. It's fine to leave most skills as "not applicable" if you don't have anything specific to communicate.
- Feel free to note any "Ah-has" in the comments, as well as any skills that you have that are in this category but weren't listed.
- You can use the arrow keys and tab to rate with a keyboard.
- There is a progress bar at the top. Depending on your team, you might have a few pages to go though, so feel free to stop and come back later if needed.
When you are done with your self-assessment, please click on "Review my Qualifications" and add or update your qualifications.
Accurate tracking of our team qualifications is important to meet our contract requirements and to identify if we qualify for upcoming procurements.
There are a few types of qualifications we need to track, some of which are not what people typically think of as qualifications. Please go through and check each category:
- Academic qualifications - prefixed with "Degree:"
- Professional qualifications/certificates - these are prefixed by the name of the issuing organization
- US Federal background check form submissions - these are prefixed with "US Background Check Form". If you aren't sure which form you submitted, check your e-mails or ask your project manager.
- US Federal background check adjudications - these are prefixed with "US Background Check Adjudication:" and the name of the agency that made that adjudication. If you aren't sure if you have received and adjudication, ask your project manager. In many cases we may need to estimate the date.
- Agency-level project trainings (security, privacy etc) - these are prefixed with the country and name of the agency that manages the training (occasionally trainings taken for one agency may be issued by another agency). If you aren't sure which you have taken, you may want to refer to your project onboarding, training system or other tracking ticket/sheet.
You can access the qualifications section by going to "My summary" in the sidebar, then selecting the "Qualifications" tab.
For each qualification:
- Enter the status and start and end dates (if applicable).
- If you already have qualifications listed, take a moment to review each one as well as adding any new ones.
Updating your skills and qualifications
- Add or update qualifications whenever you get new ones (keeping in mind the categories above) or let one lapse.
- Team members will get an e-mail reminder to update their self assessment annually. Please keep them up to date!
- You can update your qualificiations more frequently though, if you want to track progress towards your goals.
Using Skills Base information
- Open "My summary" or navigate to a team member via the "People" menu.
- You can see qualifications, top skill cantegories, and individual skills, top interests, and people with similar skills.
- You can also see "Keen to improve" which lists skills with low skill but high interest.
- Use the tabs to dig deeper, as well as to look at changes in skills over time.
By skill category or skill
- Navigate to the skill category or specific skill of interest using the search function or using the Skills directory and drilling down.
- In the directory, right-click on the skill category or skill and select "View" to open the page.
- On this page you can see who is most skilled, most interested, and most keen to improve (see above).
- On skill category pages, you can also see the skills within the category that have the highest skill and interest levels.
- Navigate to the team of interest by clicking "My team", using the search function or using the Teams directory and drilling down (right click and select "View").
- On this page you can see who is most skilled, most interested, which skills associated with the team that have the highest skill, and interest levels.
- You can also see the top qualifications for this team and which self assessments are due.
Setting team targets
This enables a team to set targets for each skill. Team members can then see how their own skill levels compare to this target and which skills they may want to focus on.
- From the team page, open the "Targets" tab.
- Click the "Set targets now" button.
- Follow the prompts.
It is recommended to use a collaborative process to set targets that includes other members of the team. It is not necessary to set a target for every skill or competency, the team can limit it to only skills they feel are important for everyone to hold.
You can access team reports via the "Reports" dropdown:
- Heat matrix (by skill or interest levels) is a great way of looking at the strengths an opportunities/gaps for the team as a whole.
- Capability matrix shows how many people in the team have reported a specific skill level.
- You can also export data to analyse using external tools.
Finding people with a particular set of skills
The easiest way to do this is using the "People finder" in the sidebar. You can drill down on multiple skills and interests at the same time.
If you have other needs
There is a custom report builder that can be used to answer many other queries we might have. Open a support ticket and describe what you are looking for!
Managing the skills catalog
One person from each team can be designated the Skills manager for that team. It is possible to designate additional managers, but it's recommended that only one person at a time actually update the skills catalog.
Note that changes to the skills catalog should generally be made through a consultative process that includes several people from that team.
The goal is for skills in the catalog to be collectively exhaustive and mutually exclusive.
Note that the categories of skills do not correspond 1-1 with teams, as there are various skills that multiple teams share. Consider the skills categories as a more general taxonomy, bearing in mind that teams can select from multiple categories across the tree.
In some cases, there may be some cross-over or duplication of skills between two teams. In this case, both teams will need to work together to identify how to refactor the catalog to ensure it is logical and avoids duplicate skills or overlap. The IT department can help facilitate these changes as needed.
- Open a support ticket to request access to manage skills.
- Request training from IT if you haven't done this before.
- Spend time becoming familiar with the catalog as a whole and search for similar skills before adding new ones.
- Add descriptions to each skill wherever possible.