logo image

Talent Development Leader

The Best Skills Tool in a Leader’s Toolbox

CTDO Next developed the Skills-Based Talent Development Maturity Model to help TD leaders align their department goals with the overarching business’s vision for success.


Mon Jul 01 2024

The Best Skills Tool in a Leader’s Toolbox

More than 50 percent of CEOs say skills shortages and technology disruption will influence profitability over the next decade, and roughly 75 percent of companies are focused on investing in automation, upskilling, and deploying advanced technology, according to PwC. To meet these organizational demands, many talent development leaders are investing, on some level, in a skills-based talent development strategy. Yet many others are left wondering where they stack up, how far along they should be in the development process, and when a skills-based program is ready to be launched. A few may even be asking the question, "What is skills-based talent development?”

For these reasons the leaders in CTDO Next developed the Skills-Based Talent Development Maturity Model. This model helps talent development leaders align their department goals with the overarching business’s vision for success. TD leaders can use it as a guide for assessing the current state of skill-based efforts in their organization and follow steps for strategic improvement in future planning.


The model is broken down into five phases. Each phase is laid out with a description, key signs an organization is in that phase, typical action steps of the phase, useful supporting technology, and the critical focus of that phase.

Download the Skills-Based Talent Development Maturity Model now for the full insight from the CTDO Next leaders. Or start with ATD Research’s assessment to see how your organization’s skill-based strategy compares to others. Here is an overview of each phase:

Phase 1: Awareness

The Awareness Phase marks the beginning of a skills-based strategy, where organizations identify unmet needs. These needs include a more agile workforce, increased productivity, and better employee retention. At this point, organizations might have critical position openings that require the right skills to fill them. Once recognized that a skills-based talent approach is necessary, TD leaders may be asked to track workforce gaps and make the case for investing in upskilling. It is important to leave this step with support from leadership.

Phase 2: Foundation

In this phase, the work begins. The ideal next step is to create a skills inventory, logging gaps, key functions of each role, assessment of the current workforce, and the status of the training already in-place. This is where the core competencies must be identified as they will be the base of further expansion in Phase 3. Everyone should leave this phase with an agreed skill taxonomy and systems in place for employee growth, evaluating efficiency, and methods for self-assessment. This should all be done through a well-maintained database.

Phase 3: Expansion

If the Foundation Phase is seen as a test pilot for a skills-based approach, then the Expansion Phase can be taken as the full program. This phase requires investment from stakeholders in the program and the technology required to support it. The organization should start to see the results from the new approach and fully implement it in the daily work of its employees. Positive improvement should be visible in the ecosystem of the organization. The best way to continue the growth is through a task force that can govern the program's success.


Phase 4: Optimization

Optimization will rely on data collected about the program. Analyzing the data for effectiveness is crucial to continuous improvement. This is where the TD function can focus on details and zoom in deeper into how the program is running. This means the organization will need to establish the metrics in which success will be measured and how employee progress will be tracked. Optimization may also consider compensation structures, testing new recommendations, and anticipating future skill requirements. Optimization is an ongoing process that will keep skill-based programs aligned with business needs.

Phase 5: Leading

When a company is confident in the results of their skills-based strategy, and their organization is adapting quickly to emerging industry trends, they have garnered a competitive edge. The company is now able to demonstrate its impact as a trailblazer and set benchmarks for what effective talent development looks like. This is the phase where an organization might look to new opportunities, such as collaborating externally with experts, universities, and other organizations. At this point, a user-friendly interface should be available and running smoothly, nontraditional career strategies should be in place, and artificial intelligence is being leveraged for predictive workforce planning.

Getting Started

CTDO Next has identified the best ways a talent development leader can use this model and the key components for a skills lifecycle. Whether your goal is establishing a standard or business alignment or road mapping, this maturity model will help you prioritize the most critical actions necessary to overall success.

Explore the model today for more discussion on resource allocation, talent retention, risk mitigation, and more. A skills-based strategy helps a business stay ahead of competition and push the boundaries of talent management. Using this model will allow your organization to be agile in any business environment. Go ahead, make the model your own.

Read more from Talent Development Leader.


You've Reached ATD Member-only Content

Become an ATD member to continue

Already a member?Sign In


Copyright © 2024 ATD

ASTD changed its name to ATD to meet the growing needs of a dynamic, global profession.

Terms of UsePrivacy NoticeCookie Policy