iCollective helps you share your skills with your colleagues

iCollective helps you share your skills with your colleagues

by Startup Montréal
2 October 2022

This article was originally published on infobref.com

Beyond compensation and working conditions, motivation to take on challenges that allow each employee to progress is an important factor in keeping talent in the company. Montreal-based startup iCollective helps employees share their skills with each other, so that each employee progresses in his or her work, and no longer has any of the company’s key skills concentrated in one individual.  

The problem the company is addressing is the difficulty of retaining employees in a talent shortage environment. “Today, most new employees don’t stay in the same organization for several years,” notes Kamel Dinar, co-founder and president of iCollective. “They multiply their professional experiences by changing jobs often. Yet an employee who leaves with his or her expertise causes a significant problem for his or her former employer, who loses skills along with an employee.”

The solution that iCollective offers is a service that identifies the company’s key skills and facilitates their sharing among employees.

The service takes the form of online software. “First, it does a lightning map, in less than an hour, of the key competencies held by employees,” explains Kamel Dinar. A manager first defines which skills are strategic for the company.

Then, employees fill out a skills assessment and a self-assessment form on their computer. The software then performs an analysis of the keywords used, comparing the list of strategic competencies with the information provided by the employees. The result is a map that shows the distribution of key competencies among employees.

“Our system classifies the skills into 3 categories,” explains Kamel Dinar, “those that the company lacks. It is then necessary to either recruit or organize training; those that exist in a single employee, without back-up. We then promote knowledge sharing, so that it can be passed on to other employees; the key skills that can be shared: some employees have them, others would like to have them.” In this third case, the software matches employees who have these skills with other employees who are interested in acquiring them.

The business model is a license, paid for by client companies, of $5 per user per month.

Currently, iCollective is conducting a second round of pilots, with about 10 companies – mostly Quebec-based SMEs.

Founded in late 2019, the company employs its 2 co-founders and a web developer. It has established partnerships with other companies that offer complementary services that can be useful to its clients from recruitment firms; and organizations specialized in training.

iCollective is one of the 20 young SMEs selected this year in the Bourse+ program of  Startup Montréal.

Next steps for the company

To confirm, through current pilot projects, the good results already observed with the first tests, with a view to starting soon a commercialization of the service on a larger scale; to propose a sharing of skills not only within the same company, but also between companies.

“There may be times when the skills of certain employees are less in demand,” says Kamel Dinar. But you never want your employees to get bored, because the motivation of good employees comes a lot from the new challenges they face – to keep them, you have to give them interesting assignments. So, an SME could, for a while, put the talents of one of its employees to work for another company that temporarily needs his or her skills.”