The Made In Saskatchewan Technology (MIST) Program connects the Provincial Government to startup technology companies here at home who are innovating products that could improve the delivery of a Government service. Companies who are successful in the program are awarded a contract of up to $10,000 to have their technology piloted by provincial government partners who use the innovation and provide feedback on the experience to help grow the technology.
SkillShark has been one of the companies successful in the program and has been working with the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure (MHI) and the Public Service Commission (PSC) to assist in the government’s Management and Executive Talent Inventory process.
“The SkillShark application was utilized to initiate a meaningful discussion around talent inventory and management within the ministry,” said Fred Antunes, Deputy Minister of MHI. “It provided our managers a tool to evaluate staff against core skills and competencies, as well as their readiness to be promoted.”
Designed as an athlete evaluation software, SkillShark is a solution that streamlines assessment and reporting for virtually any sport imaginable. Rather than using the traditional pen and paper approach to analyze athletes, the software allows coaches and officials to take the evaluation experience digital and customize everything about it. Most people only average numbers and stats, but this leads to skewed results with no weight on different importance levels or categories.
SkillShark has been doing quite well in the sports software market—even recently signing a contract with the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA)—so SkillShark founder, Neil Anderson, considered different ways to apply it to areas outside of the sports industry.
Through the MIST program, SkillShark partnered with MHI and PSC and positioned their software to be used as an HR tool for talent evaluation. Starting as a trial with their executive team, SkillShark built custom employee evaluation templates to measure anything that the MHI wanted: engagement, performance, development, or recruitment. The use of their digital software provided a user-friendly and simple interface to streamline reports, cutting back the amount of paperwork and manual data entry.
After receiving great feedback from the initial pilot, SkillShark was then used to evaluate hundreds of the next employees and received a strong response again. From there, it’s been continually improving, with automatic prompts and reminders rolling out. Although the software’s foundation is sports-related and includes references to players and teams that don’t equate to employees, the transition to using the software for HR evaluation has been smooth.
“SkillShark’s user-friendly experience is our top advantage which is easily transferable from the athlete side to the employee side,” shares Anderson. “By using SkillShark’s intuitive athlete evaluations for employees, users can bring up an employee’s profile and see their performance records and make intelligent decisions. Instead of spending time transferring data from paper or spreadsheets, users have actionable data that’s intelligently reported.”
“This information will be used to support staff training and prioritize learning and development opportunities,” adds Antunes. “The ability to track the information over multiple years will allow our Executive and Senior Management teams to monitor the development of individual staff members along with the effectiveness of our training and development programs. Feedback from the Skillshark application can be combined with our ministry’s career laddering initiative to help staff develop their own career path.”
“This opportunity opened up a brand new market that we would not have walked through without MIST,” Anderson said about the program.
Thanks to MIST, Anderson was able to take SkillShark into a much more competitive space where there are opportunities to see 10 to 20 times more of a return than if they were to stay solely in the athlete market, as well as seeing increased margins to build on sales.
“I was so close to not even going to the meeting, but I’m so happy I crossed that bridge!” Anderson smiles.