• Fraser Harper

Improving Corporate Employability and Trainability Using Common Data and Language

At Blue Mirror Insights, we talk to many corporations that have many overlapping or duplicated roles. For example, multinationals may find that each country operates its own qualification and standards systems with relatively low levels of direct comparability and little or no common language. Roles may be defined weakly, not relating well to the actual tasks being done. BMI can help corporations to improve this situation by using existing occupational-content data together with simple matching and mapping tools. In this blog post we’ll describe how we do this.

We start with the work being done. This is usually captured in the form of work instructions or standard operating procedures. These work-based data sources can be searched and reduced using a proprietary algorithm to a set of skills, knowledge and behaviour (SKB) statements and/or #competencies statements built around what the role holder must be able to achieve.

This is an important first step as it provides an output which can be used to both underpin recruitment and also initial training and development. The output can also be used to help potential candidates identify which elements of their prior learning and experience equips them (at least in part) to undertake the role.

Also identified are the areas where candidates have development needs (gaps) and so starts to provide an initial education and training plan.

Specific skills, knowledge and behaviour statements for a role also provide valuable input to developing and evaluating curriculum relevance. The learning outcome statements can be matched to the SKB statements to do an initial relevance check on the curriculum i.e. does it offer the opportunity to students to acquire the relevant SKBs for the role.

We can also apply this analytical approach to individual work roles. Almost any work role can be matched to the US O*NET (#onet) database of occupations and this provides a wealth of detailed work-content information in addition to the SKBs. O*NET brings a common language which is highly structured, precise and accurate. The exact words used can be directly informed by the work instructions or standard operating procedures and tailored to the specific context. Having a common language immediately aids comparability between roles at the same and different sites.

O*NET also brings with it a set of tasks which work from the very specific task (there are 20,000+ listed in O*NET) which are then grouped through a series of 3 hierarchies (detailed work activities, intermediate work activities, and work activities) – see note below.

The table below shows how the initial analysis of the O*NET data can be taken further.


  1. Exploring the Value of an O*NET Resource for the UK. Report from a Workshop held in London, June 2015. Jim Hillage and Michael Cross. IES, Brighton. Available from The Gatsby Charitable Foundation website: www.gatsby.org.uk or view the full report here: http://bit.ly/2DlyqEZ

#competences #onet

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