University of South Florida - Focusing on Skills

University of South Florida IT (USF IT) focuses on employees' strengths and skills to align with the growing and changing needs of the University.

In addition to growing the talent needed to meet the IT needs of the University of South Florida, the USF IT Department must compete with the IT industry to recruit and retain IT employees.

  • One way they aim to keep up with industry while retaining and engaging the best talent is to focus less on roles and more on skills.
  • Focusing on skills helps the department to pivot and leverage internal resources to accomplish the University’s IT goals.
  • The SFIA framework lends itself well to the Agile methodologies that the department follows as it identifies the IT skills needed to perform various jobs in the IT industry.

Key learning points

  • Be intentional- what is the problem you are trying to solve
    • Take stock- review your current status
    • Dig deep- talk to your employees
  • Think with the end in mind- identify your future state
  • Make changes that align with fixing your problem
  • Gather your information rather than fixating on a tool
  • Create your minimum viable product (MVP)- example - using simple Excel to get started
  • Don’t stop at mapping skills

Why Skills not Roles?

  • Aligns recruitment processes
    • Interview questions are designed to address the skill
  • Aligns periodical check-ins, performance evaluations and assessments with the skills
  • Aligns Learning to specific skills which can better assess effectiveness of the Learning
  • Allows us to pivot and align resources to new and/or different task
    • Allows the organization to quickly identify the employees that have the skill for the jobs as well as the skill gaps

What have we achieved so far?

  • We have mapped out a number of roles using SFIA
  • We identified a tool to use to document our employee’s skills
  • We have mapped out Skills to the following:
    • Employee Goals
    • To the recruitment process
    • To performance evaluation
    • To Learning
  • Created transparent career paths
  • We are starting to create a repository of skills

Webinar recording

Slides available here (pdf attached)

Questions & Answers

We had a large number of questions over the 2 webinar sessions. Lani was able to answer most of these on the webinar. 

One of the advantages of attending the webinars live is the opportunity to ask questions directly to our speakers. 

Here's some of the questions Lani discussed/answered on the webinar...

  • using a skills maturity matrix / what tool did you use to assess skills maturity
  • do you utilize RACI in any fashion?
  • how you involved all IT leaders involved and being transparent to staff about the process
  • role of resource managers and how many resource managers do you have compared to your technical managers
  • working with line managers to prioritize and spend time working on this
  • how did you identify the gaps
  • When interviewing your staff, how did you position measuring skills/capabilities versus measuring performance?
  • When mapping skills to job roles in your minimum viable product (MVP). How long per role did it take? how many people re in your team working on this?
  • Can we make use of SFIA for smaller team size?
  • How did you find mapping your roles to the 7 Levels if you didn't have 7 Levels before using SFIA? Was this a challenge for the University?
  • Does this work for non-IT roles, like sales, marketing etc
  • What type of training in SFIA do you suggest
  • How does your work align with USF HR methods for performance evaluation, recruiting, etc.

USF Information Technology (USF IT) provides technology services and support for USF, including campuses in Tampa (including USF Health), St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee. The IT team, led by Sidney Fernandes, Vice President and CIO, provides services in Client Support, Cyber Security, administrative systems, analytics and reporting, web, teaching and learning, communication as well as consulting. https://www.usf.edu/it/
USF 2021 winner of Gartner Eye on Innovation Award for Higher Education: https://www.usf.edu/news/2021/usf-wins-prestigious-award-for-innovation-excellence-in-response-to-covid-19.aspx