Categories in Progression are used to distinguish between different groups of skills, and help determine who in an organisation is responsible for which skills.

Skills can be grouped in a number of different ways. A frequent description is of 'soft' skills (like Communication) and 'hard' skills. This tends to imply that some skills are easy, and others are hard, so we prefer to talk about core and craft skills.

Some say core (soft) skills, like Communication or Empathy, are defined by being fluid, and likely to change as a role of organisation changes, whereas craft (hard) skills, Writing Code or Software Architecture, are more consistent and transferable outside the business. Another definition is of skills that can be learned in books, versus skills learned by trial and error on the job. Or simply that there are skills requiring left brain, or right brain.

The key decision in categorising, is which skills are going to sit across every team in the business, and which are team specific.

Once this distinction has been made, you can assign responsibility for creating and managing skills. It might be that the engineering team will manage the engineering craft skills, whereas the senior leadership or people team will manage the core skills for the business. Or the team leading the progression framework build will create the whole, but with an eye on ensuring transferability of core skills for the future.

However you choose to approach it, the one thing we'd emphasise, however is:

Having core and leadership skills with the same definitions used across the business is key for internal mobility, for promoting a shared culture, and for managing progression across the business.

Check out more about this in Why core skills are key when building your team's progression framework.

With the template frameworks we've built at Progression we decided to make a further distinction within the transferable skills between those important to every role in the business, and those just relevant to leadership roles. As such, in our templates Progression uses three categories:

  • Core (used by every role in our frameworks)

  • Craft (specific to each team)

  • Leadership (used by all leadership roles across different teams, but not for individual contributors)

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