Adrian Zettl, co-founder and Chief People and Growth Officer, tells how TheVentury uses skills matrices and career paths to improve employee experience. And how Ace AI helps them implement this strategy.
TheVentury is an Austrian-based innovation agency supporting startups & corporates along their entire innovation journey from idea to scale.
DACH talent market
The global tech market is experiencing a serious talent shortage, and the DACH region is no exception. One of the biggest challenges the market faces is finding and hiring tech talent. That’s why TheVentury has been focusing on a great employee experience from the beginning.
We’re happy to have very high employee retention and see the agency’s emphasis on people growth as our main strength and advantage in the market.
And we’re proud to be leaders in this area since we have been prioritizing people’s development from the inception of the company with dedicated time budgets for education efforts and knowledge-sharing initiatives, which translate to career growth.
At TheVentury, we use skills matrices that help us with multiple people operations tasks like:
This had some advantages in terms of having a full picture and accommodating a wide range of skills, but also a few disadvantages as we learned that not all skills can be weighted equally and different teams have different priorities.
From Excel to skill graphs
In order to overcome these challenges, we turned to Ace AI, which has successfully helped us to bring existing skills matrices out of Excel sheets and connect them to clearly visualized career paths and development goals to improve the employee experience and help team members reach their career goals.
These skills matrices, or skill graphs, contain the full list of skills for 50+ tech roles with descriptions and level requirements. Skills graphs are updated in real-time, so you always have the list of relevant skills.
Career path framework
Having a team of 45 people with services in innovation consulting, growth marketing, and software/data engineering, we wanted to provide clear career paths for employees based on skill development and a framework that can connect well to operations planning and sales.
The main goal of building transparent career paths was to maintain the culture of continuous learning and give our employees opportunities for professional development. This is where Ace AI, co-pilot for engineering leadership, came in handy and offered a framework for building transparent career progression for the whole team.
The whole process of building a career progression is simple and fully automated and gives recommendations on the development of the required skills:
Step 1. Identify career path levels
At this stage, a manager assesses employees’ current level of skills, finds potential skill gaps, and identifies their career path level (or a grade).
Ace AI automatically identifies carer path levels of each team member when you connect Git:
Step 2. Build PDP
After you identified the career path level of each team member, it’s time to build a professional development plan (or PDP) to help them reach their career goals and develop the necessary skills.
Ace AI identifies skills gaps of every developer based on their working activity in Git and gives personalized recommendations on mentors and learning activities such as courses, books, etc. based on their skill gaps:
Step 3. Monitor progress
In order to make the process of professional growth effective and implement continuous learning in your tech team’s workflow, we provide feedback and hold regular 1-on-1 meetings.
It can also be managed in Ace AI with its automatic feedback and agenda for meetings:
Benefits of Ace AI
With the help of Ace AI, we cover main people operations tasks such as managing employees’ professional growth and holding effective source planning.
We have automated the following processes:
Manage professional growth
Ace AI allowed us to build a transparent career progression and create professional development goals for each team member connected to the team’s goals and skill gaps. Personalized recommendations on learning activities made the process of professional development easier and faster.
Gather a team for a project
When staffing a project, we can now take a closer look at which skills are available at any given moment. Ace AI provides us with automatic team skill reports and analytics where we can see the strengths and weaknesses of the team members. This team skill analysis allows us to staff our projects faster and with better-suited skills for the tasks at hand.
Making decisions based on skills analysis allows us to fill the existing skill gaps and be “accurate” in choosing the right people.
Make decisions on promotions
After building clear career paths, we discuss the progress of each team member and make decisions on grade and pay raise.
Each grade on the career path has skill requirements so employees and their managers understand what they need to do in order to get a promotion and build a growth plan to meet their goals. For employees, it’s become much clearer what they need to do to get to the next level, and they can argue their case based on clear numbers.
Compared to traditional performance reviews, we have seen the conversations going in a much more specific and concrete direction, which seems to increase objectivity and clarity for everybody involved.