Understanding Must-Have, Should-Have, and Must-Not-Have Skills

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2016 02:42PM EDT
Skills are an essential part of matching the right substitutes with the right jobs. Without them, the absence management system would not know a teacher from a custodian! That’s why it’s so important to add skills to the system and assign them to employees and substitutes. Understanding how to properly use "Should-Have", "Must-Have", and "Must-Not-Have" skills is essential for skill-matching. 


Skill-matching is how absence management decides which substitutes should be allowed to replace a specific employee. When an employee is absent, the system checks to see if there are any characteristics or skills that a substitute must have, should have, or must not have in order to replace the absent employee. Because it is skill-matching, certain characteristics or skills must be assigned to both employees and substitutes. Skills can also be used as a tool to track certification expiration, and management of other data attached to an employee or substitute.

Things to Consider

  • Do you have different types of employees (i.e. teachers, aides)?
  • Do these different types of employees require a specific kind of substitute? In other words, do Aides require Aide substitutes and do Teachers require Teacher substitutes?
  • Do you have gender-specific positions (i.e. locker room duty)?
  • Would you like to allow subs with specific skills (i.e. Speaks Spanish, has a Math degree) to be able to see jobs further in advance than other substitutes

How Must-Have Skills Work

When an employee with a must-have skills creates an absence, the system will only show the job to substitutes with that skill. Let's look at at example:

Joe Smith, an employee, has the "Teacher" skill assigned as "must-have" to him. When he creates an absence, only subs with the same "Teacher" skill will be able to see his absence as an available job. One substitute, Nancy, has the "Teacher" skill, so she will see the absence as an available job. John, on the other hand, will not see the job because he does not have the “Teacher” skill. Amy has 2 skills: "Aide" and "Teacher." Since one of her skills is the "Teacher" skill, Amy will be able to see Joe's absence. Amy’s “Aide” skill will not prevent her from seeing “Teacher” jobs.

Please note that if you assign a "must have" skill to an employee, but do not give the same skill to any substitutes, the system will not be able to fill the job.

How Should-Have Skills Work

“Should-Have” skills allows you to be more specific about which substitutes can see certain absences. Consider them to be the items on your wish list. You can use should-have skills to find subs with specific skills like Math, English, or Spanish.

In the example below, "Certified Teacher" is the must-have skill. So, absence management will only show the job to substitutes with the "Certified Teacher" must-have skills. But in addition to that, the should-have skill of "Spanish" is assigned. This means that the system will show the absence to only substitutes with both the "Certified Teacher" and "Spanish" skills for a certain amount of time. If the absence doesn't get filled after a set amount of time, absence management will drop the should-have skill of "Spanish" and broaden the visibility of the absence to substitutes with only the "Certified Teacher" skill.

The amount of time that the system will spend finding a "Certified Teacher" substitute that also has a skill of "Spanish" is determined by the “Lead Time” settings for the skill.  These settings are located on each skill at Reference Data >Skills. Click here to learn more about Lead Time
Please note that the following “Lead Time” and “Boundary” settings only affect skills when selected as “Should Have”. “Must Have” and “Must Not Have” skills do not ever use these values.

"Must Not Have" Skills

"Must Not Have" skills are similar to "Must Have" skills in that they are absolute, but just the other way around. Any substitute who wants to replace this employee must not have the skill assigned to his/her record. For instance, if you use skills of “male” and “female” for gender-specific positions, you may assign a “Must Not Have” skill of “Male” to a female employee, so that no substitutes with the “Male” skill will ever see this employee’s absences.
Now that you understand how skills work, you can now add skills to the absence management system! Click here to learn how.