Today we have a friend of ours on, Yvette Cameron from Oracle. Yvette is here to tell us all about a brand new release they have coming up and we’ll be discussing how their new release enables Oracle to help organizations build a more agile workforce with skills insights.

We’ll get into the details of the product, which was designed to help organizations continuously detect, manage and grow the skills that fuel their talent supply chain. As I told Yvette, this is a game-changer and is really going to help a lot of people.

Listening time: 27 minutes


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William 0:34
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup. You are listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today we have a friend of ours on, Yvette Cameron from Oracle. And we’re gonna be talking about a release that they have coming up. And I can’t wait actually, because it’s actually something that people care deeply about. And it’s around skills.

I want to get Yvette to kind of take us into the release, and the research that kind of came up to that and how they got to this place. But Yvette, everybody in the industry knows you of course, but introduce if you would for the audience, introduce yourself. And if possible, give an overview of Oracle in like 30 seconds or less.

Yvette 1:16
Yeah, great. So William, great to be talking with you again, thanks for having me on this podcast and love it. So yeah, Yvette Cameron, I’ve been in the HCM market for over 25 years, largely working in the technology vendor space. Although I did spend some time in the analyst world. Sure, I’ve spent some, some questionable, but we won’t go there on this topic here. I run the strategy, the product strategy organization for Oracle’s HC, cloud HCM division.

For those who live under a rock and don’t know who Oracle is, we are a global leader in not only cloud HCM, but enterprise applications. We have a broad comprehensive suite of capabilities and across HCM and finance and customer support marketing etc. So really excited to to be, you know, representing Oracle and talking with you again, William, on a topic that I am super excited about. And one that I’ve been working on for many years.

I just joined Oracle six months ago, but I’ve been working on this topic of skills and what are we doing with them in the future? And how are we going to change the world? So super excited to be talking to you today.

William 2:35
100% and for the audience, the actual title of the show, and it really is about the release. But it’s also to Yvette’s point, this has been a long time coming. And it’s also something that people practitioners, both HR and TA, care deeply about. The title of the show is Oracle helps build helps organizations build a more agile workforce with skills insights. And so let’s just start with skills insights, because, you know, I’m one of those people that that, you know, I know that folks struggle with having an idea of just the team that they have, and what skills they currently have.

And, and and and to then do kind of workforce planning if, if done well, what skills they would need in the future? And what is that gap? So why don’t you? First of all, why don’t you just take us through the release? What does the product look like? What’s the intention of the release? And then we’ll just we’ll kind of talk a little bit more about skills.

Yvette 3:38
Sure, sure, so, so thank you. So yes, we are announcing the availability of Oracle’s Dynamic Skills. Dynamic Skills essentially helps organizations continuously detect, manage and grow the skills that fuel their talent supply chain. At its core, we are bringing together AI-powered capabilities of machine learning to create and help organizations understand and detect the skills of their organization to create an ever-current view of those skills.

And to leverage that new insight on skills across their talent management processes across the entire HCM suite. Really transforming talent processes, making them much more effective and efficient, with new understanding new insights into the skills of the organization. Very briefly, the major components of our Dynamic Skills offering first and foremost is we’re delivering what we call our Skills Nexus.

And this is a deep learning engine that curates and relates and normalizes skills data, skills, and job data that’s been pulled from across the global labor market. Millions and millions of records, and understands and relates all of that information so that we understand skills and job titles, their relationships, we understand that the relations between one skill and another the adjacent skills etc. And this, this skills Nexus becomes the basis of how we are going to help organizations make better matching opportunities. Really removing the friction between people and opportunities in the organization.

The next component of our offering is that that matching capability, we call it our Skills Advisor. And again, machine learning natural language processing, super-powerful artificial intelligence that comes together and leverages the data from the skills Nexus, that deep understanding of global skills information, and helps connect people to opportunities like helps candidates match to better job opportunities with now a much richer understanding of skills and adjacencies, and is able to recommend opportunities to candidates in careers and jobs that they might not even have thought of.

But because we understand their skills, we understand what’s related to them and, and other adjacent capabilities, that there are new opportunities perhaps for them. For employees, we’re able to connect them faster to learning, to new gig and work opportunities, and even bring them, career mentors and coaches, that again, are matched to them based on a much richer understanding of their skills of interests of skills gaps, and again, opportunities that they may not even be aware of. We bring this all together in a really exciting experience called the Skill Center, one-stop one location where individuals can get their recommendations for skills that they might want to enrich their profiles with opportunities for learning a new career and gig opportunities, one single location to manage all aspects of my professional, personal and professional growth in the organization.

The Skill Center is also intended for managers to review and understand the investment of their team and what they’re working on overtime, certainly HR administrator capabilities. But fundamentally, this is about ensuring that organizations understand the skills of their people, and that their employees and their candidates have the tools and insights necessary to take control, to have agency over their futures, and drive their development the way that they choose to. So we’re really excited about this offering.

William 7:38
You should be. It’s fantastic. And you and I grew up kind of in a world of competency models that no one used. And I think that one of the reasons that they weren’t used as much as they probably should have been is they weren’t broken down into the way that your brain is, the way that you’ve rethought skills. And so I want to go into the skills that are just a little bit and you know, if I’m an employee, you know, I work for Oracle, I’m in Demand Gen, let’s just make it real specific.

You know, I could do, I’m sure there’s, there’s some type of audit or assessment of what my skills are. How do you envision either currently or or in the future, kind of the transferable skills, the contiguous skills, and also you mentioned it, which I thought was wonderful, is Lead, you know, this leading towards internal mobility or mobility in general skills that lead to the next gig, like having some type of recommendation or have Okay, by the way, have you thought of, you know Python?

Have you? Have you thought about learning X, Y, and Z that would help you be more marketable for these other gigs, etc. So, with that in mind, take us take us a little bit deeper into the skill center without, you know, proprietary, or are secret sauce stuff? I mean, just more.

Yvette 8:58
Absolutely. And, you know what? We are the technology driving these capabilities is, is truly rocket science, right? It’s a super deep learning engines, it’s multiple iterations of, of machine learning and the use of natural language processing. So that as people are articulating their skills, like you said, you know, let’s say I work in demand Gen. Well, you know, I may call it demand generation, and somebody else may call it lead generation, and what’s the relation between those words, so that understanding of language and you know, all the deep side that that is rocket science, but from the surface from the user’s perspective, it needs to be super easy.

What I want to know is, what can the organization do to help me better present myself for opportunities? So in the Skill Center, the very first thing I’m going to see is the Skills Nexus this this this deep, you know, it’s essentially it’s a global skills ontology with the taxonomies, and the understanding of the industries and the business functions, capabilities, etc, that that skills Nexus is going to first and foremost, be looking at me and all of my various relations and positions and information in the system and surfacing recommendations that it believes I should be adding to my profile or taking duration of.

So it sees that I’ve got demand gen in my job title, it sees that I maybe perhaps maybe I have no skills in my profile, maybe my profiles empty, right. And which is common, right? Because most of us have been, we’re not keeping our employers profiles up to date. So it will start to recommend information for me, Hey, I see you’re in demand gen, we expect you probably have these skills. Is this right? And I can click those and say yes, and I can raite myself, but it says, you know, we also know that people who have this skill or this job title, also probably have these similar skills.

And we’ve also found that even though they’re not, you wouldn’t think them directly related, we find a correlation that those who are working in demand gen with these particular skills also seem to have language fluency in Spanish, you know, or customer service. So with the excitement here of the Intel artificial intelligence, is that these connections are not obvious. They’re not always just the obvious connections you would expect, as we’ve been working and developing this Skills Nexus engine now for several years, culling information from across, as I said, the global labor market, from all different industries. So that and, and also using humans as part of the annotation and the training. As a data scientist, it’s not just machine so that these really creative intelligent connections can be made.

And you can delight me as an individual with new opportunities and new recommendations that I hadn’t even considered. And but if I select those, I’m effect effectively training the engine too, right? I get a ton of people like me actually are interested in artwork or whatever. And it’s just a virtuous cycle that that brings more value to the individuals. Because as I’m, as I’m improving my profile, as I’m bringing those skills into my profile, or as I’m indicating that, yeah, these are things that I want to develop, then the matching capabilities of our skills advisors culling the enterprise in various applications that say, Great, what learning can we bring forward that would help her in this in this event, and what jobs and gigs through our opportunity marketplace might help?

So that experience for an individual, you said, I come into the Skill Center, what do I get? I get the richness of all of this intelligence that is really tailored and fine-tune to me to give me a delightful experience and create this powerful motivation loop that’s going to help me invest. And again, take control of my career and development.

William 12:57
So the skills. Okay, so I know that you’ve studied this, and for a long time. The breadth and depth of a skill. So how do we know the dimensionality of a particular skill? Like what is what does one have? And you know, again, this is probably, it might not be current. But down the road? How do we evaluate that? Because you know, I might say I’m fantastic at demand generation. How does anyone else know that that’s true? If not for training, testing, certification, etc? How do we know the breadth and the depth or the levels of my knowledge around a particular skill? Like what does that look like conceptually for you?

Yvette 13:45
So imagine a plate of spaghetti that’s—

William 13:50
I like spaghetti

Yvette 13:54
Yes William, and there is though there is no easy button right for validating the veracity of those skills levels, right. And so in today’s environment, we have to take a broad approach, and really look at all of the different data points that give us an indication of that level of skills. Now, those data points might be very, very direct and obvious, right? I’ve received certification. I’ve tested out, I’ve demonstrated that. Or my manager has observed and indicated Yes, I’ve got this level of proficiency in this skill.

You know, most common today is self-reported skills. Again, through LinkedIn and social media. I put my skill in there, you, you know, endorsed me, I endorsed you. So we don’t generally trust those self-reported skills. But the reality is, that is a starting point. And if we don’t capture those self-reported skills, we’re missing the first level of understanding the people in our organization. So there is that as a level.

We, when, at Oracle, we have this veracity spectrum, right and at the low end is self-reported. And as you as you move further down the spectrum, you get more and more trust and confidence in the way that that competency level has been validated. Now, it’s one thing for me just to put it on my resume, it’s okay. It’s self-reported, you know, it’s one, like a score of zero or one, I’m confident.

Now, if you come along and see it that has a skill, we’re a little bit more confident. And as more people crowdsource, and validate that you gain confidence. You also want to start looking at, you know, are people who understand product strategy, saying that Yvette self-reported a skill of product strategy is valid? Because if, if, if my friend who is a chef says that I’m excellent in product strategy that doesn’t have the same level of spectrum then if he or somebody else did so. So there’s this whole spectrum.

So the answer here, William, is we’re looking, and certainly taking all of those things into consideration. Now, you started the conversation with competency models, yet con, they still have a place in today’s environment they don’t. Skills are changing so quickly, right? The shelf life of skills is less than four years, and I was looking at a report that said over a third of the skills on job descriptions four years ago, were irrelevant today. So it’s a super short shelf life. Which is why you know, a part of the reason we’re investing in this area.

But competency models, and they’re very tight on focus on those levels of proficiency, and all the behavioral attributes, etc. They’re still important, and our dynamic skills approach will ingest and understand and work right alongside those. But we are also supplementing with a much richer, more dynamic approach to gathering and curating and inferring skills. And, and, and trying to keep those much more flexible and dynamic. So that on a regular basis, we can shift to the new language that’s being used. I mean, the companies don’t change their competency libraries every month, every quarter, but topology can change every single day.

William 17:15
So three questions left. One is is what we learned through, going through COVID and work from home and remote. And the way that companies might be thinking about skills differently now, than maybe pre COVID. In the skill center itself, as people go through this process, are you thinking? Are you know, you want your customers to? Do you want them to be thinking about skills that are more apt to to to work remote, or from home or from anywhere in the world? etc? Like, is there some intersection between skills, and those that work from anywhere in the world?

Yvette 18:01
So I think that’s a great question. And you teed me up for, I think, a really important aspect that I want to bring forward of, of our approach here. The skills that companies need today, as a result of COVID, and the pandemic versus what they were looking for five years ago are different. But it’s not just different because of COVID. The skills that we need today are changing because of the increasing use of artificial intelligence and the changing technologies and the need to you know, be able to run these new drones and various things that are happening.

So the skills needs are changing every day, and for each organization, they’re different. If my workforce is largely remote, I probably do want to be ensuring that I’ve got people who are self-sufficient and have the skills that characterize them as being good remote isolated workers. Versus those who you know, who are not and need more face and direction and are well suited for certain positions. But the point here is that nobody can say what is the correct skill to look for.

For a particular organization, only the organizations themselves know what they’re looking for. And that’s going to change over time and probably pretty rapidly. I talked about the Skills Nexus and how we bring these insights from across the world together. We have just massive numbers of skills and understanding of how they relate to jobs and titles and adjacency all of that.

But if I were to put that generic massive Skills Nexus in place at one of our customers Kaiser Hospital, and then say again, put it in place at you know, DHL or something. That the recommendations that that engine is going to surface for Kaiser versus another customer you know, health care, transportation services. We can’t tolerate generic recommendations. I need those to be tailored to me. I need if I’m working in healthcare, they need to be tailored to that patient care and the culture, etc, of that organization versus another.

And so an important aspect of our launch is that, in addition to bringing the Skills Nexus forward, we custom tailor it for each and every customer. So that we fine tune the recommendations. We ingest information over the course of about a week during the implementation process, or, you know, whatever information you want to bring in your competency libraries, job requisitions, resume, people information, it could be your financial, you know, SEC forms, company profile information. We train the engine to learn the skills language, the skills DNA of each of our customers so that from day one those recommendations are highly tailored.

William 20:55
And so it just gets smarter over time.

Yvette 20:58
Yes, and it gets smarter over time. But without that tailoring, it could take six months or a year to get to that level of efficiency. So whether I’m looking for work at home skills, or I’m working looking for engineering, etc. They need to be tailored for the company. And that’s I think, one of our most unique differentiators in how we’re approaching this market. We don’t see it as a one size fits all, Even if that size is massively large, right, a huge nexus of information, it still needs to be relevant for our customers.

William 21:26
Well, and for the individual. So that when they get value out of the Skill Center, it’s got to be highly personalized to them as well. So it’s personalized to the company, to the industry, size of the company, Maturity Model. Like there’s gonna be so many different things. But you had mentioned and it was just in passing, because we focus a lot on the profession or the individual’s skills that work in the profession. Do you foresee that some of your customers will also use this to develop personal skills?

Yvette 21:59
Absolutely. So, you know, this is the first step in a longer vision toward providing giving individuals agency over their careers. Right, I before I joined Oracle, I spent time focused on self-sovereign digital identity and driving an industry consortium. Bringing, you know, major vendors together to kind of look and think about how do we let individuals take their skills with them. But I came to realize we haven’t solved the skills problem in organizations first.

I’m excited to be helping to do that here at Oracle, that this idea of growing and, and having these, you know, enriched profiles and learning, etc, is just the first stage. As individuals are, they’re able to develop their own personal interests, we strongly believe and the research backs it up that, you know, people being successful at work, are lifelong learners, but they’re not lifelong, just lifelong learners around their own profession.

It’s in those areas that are also passions for them outside of work. Whether it’s art or writing or other activities. So there’s no limit here on what you can learn. And our vision here is that individuals, you know, ultimately will be able to take these very highly enriched profiles, that where they’ve aggregated skills and recommendations, sometimes in areas they hadn’t considered, and take those with them as they move up within our, our employment, global, you know, our employment community, our global labor market, and just be enriched by this experience.

William 23:33
So last thing. First of all, I love that, by the way. Last thing is because you’re going to be with part of the launch, you know, and because you’ve been steeped in this, you’re going to get the opportunity to sit in front of a lot of CHROs and global heads of talent. How do you reformat their thinking around skills? In short form or shortest form that you can get it? They thought about skills a certain way, in December of ’19. We’re now here. How do you want them to, you know, wave a wand — how do you want them to think about skills going forward?

Yvette 24:11
Yeah, great question. I would say that fundamentally, fundamentally, CHROs need to shift their mindset and think about their business objectives. From the perspective of putting employees at the center of how they’re going to meet those objectives, how they’re going to meet their new goals, whatever those goals and objectives may be, they need to do so with their employees.

And the only way to be successful is by putting themselves in the shoes of their employees and saying how am I going to feel motivated? How will I feel connected to the strategies and the objectives of this organization? How am I to keep that communication open on what I’m interested in and what I’m capable of. And and and this is exactly the kind of connection and trust-building that our dynamic skills initiative is actually going to engender by making it very personalized by thinking about how do we empower individuals to, to invest in themselves and, and make it frictionless, completely frictionless. This kind of thinking is what we’re asking CHROs. To shift your mindset to employee-centered processes.

And fundamentally what’s more employee-centric than the skills and capabilities of an individual? So the hierarchical top-down approach, there’s still a place for that, compliance, and other reasons. But we also need to really empower the individual. And that’s what we’re doing here with dynamic skills.

William 25:58
Oh, I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. And I would tell, I would say to the audience, so one of the things that we learned through COVID is most of us already kind of had an idea of what supply chain was. But it was a term that went mainstream. And when you think about skills. Skills, and you said it, I think at the very beginning of this goes, there’s agility, to skills and skill agility. It’s like, you’ve got to think of these things. And think of these as the building blocks of your company.

And you don’t want to be blindsided, as we were blindsided by different parts of supply chain, you don’t want to be blindsided by these things. So some of it you got to know you have to have insight as to what you have. You got to be, create something really engaging so that people want to develop their skills. And so I, first of all, I just think it’s a great release. I mean, I really do is. It’s game-changing, it’s going to help a lot of people.

Employees, and managers, it’s going to help the entire organization. So I’m glad that you’re doing this really, really happy for you.

Yvette 27:08
Thank you. Yeah, we are excited too. And, you know, again, you’ve you just summarized it perfectly right. As we look forward, it’s it’s about ensuring agility. And we need agility and understanding the skills of our people and agility and retraining and reskilling and, and helping businesses just, you know, move forward. So, we’re super excited. Thank you, William, for the chance to talk about this today. I love it.

William 27:32
100%. Thank you, and thanks again to everyone that listens to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Until next time.


The RecruitingDaily Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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