Skills Gap Analysis

A skills gap analysis is an assessment tool that is used to identify the skill gaps in an individual or group of people. It is used in pre-employment assessments or in-company assessments for corporate training. It shows the gaps between the individual or group of individuals’ skills and the skills that their position requires. This assessment enables the organizations to fulfill recruitment or corporate training needs. In recruitment, every organization has specific skill expectations. To see if the candidate possesses these skills or not, skills gap analysis is an effective tool. In corporate training, skills gap analysis is used as both a pre-training and post-training tool. Before training your employees, you measure every aspect of your employees’ jobs to see what to work on. After the training process, you measure these aspects again to see if the training process was effective or not. As you see, skills gap analysis is almost crucial for employee development; hence organizational development. Identifying needs and deficiencies, then working on these for development will correspondingly increase employee engagement. According to Udemy Workplace Boredom Study, 80% of employees said learning and development opportunities would help them feel more engaged on the job. Regarding employee engagement, Gallup says that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged employees. This being a really low percentage, you might be willing to work on increasing your employees’ engagement by giving more importance to their training and development. 

Conducting Skills Gap Analysis: What Benefits Does It Provide?

Having Insight into Your Organization 

Through the skills gap analysis, you will conduct, you will be able to identify the specific knowledge and skills your employees possess. Knowing your employees’ strengths and weaknesses will help you through the training process of your employees. You can detect which particular skills to improve and what to target in training. In short, you can be a better leader who knows your team and their abilities well; and you can shape your corporate training accordingly. Then you can provide your employees with an effective training program that will help you grow as an organization and achieve your goals.  

Effective Workforce Planning

Workforce planning is a must for every organization that wants constant development and growth. An effective and successful workforce planning requires knowing the skills and needs of your organization and employees well. For each step of workforce planning, you have to know what specific developments your organization requires. Implementing your workforce planning begins with identifying the demands of your workforce and in order to see these demands and carry out strategic workforce planning, you will have to analyze the gaps of your workforce first. 

Right Recruitment Decisions  

The use of skills gap analysis in pre-employment assessments will give you a better perspective on the skills of the person you are about to hire and the skills you actually need for your organization’s development. With skills gap analysis, you can identify what kind of skills to look for in a candidate and you can match these needs with your candidates’ skills. That way you get rid of the possibility of employee-work incompatibility in the long run. By eliminating that possibility, you eliminate one factor that affects the overall performance of your workforce. 

Steps to an Effective Skills Gap Analysis 

Identifying Company Objectives

The first thing you should do when conducting a skills gap analysis is to determine which objectives you want to achieve. You should list all existing and needed roles in your organization. What do you want to achieve as an organization? Which skills are needed in your industry? Are there enough employees to complete the tasks in your organization effectively? These are the questions you need to answer before identifying the needs of your organization such as job-specific skills. You should know what you will be measuring and what you will be working on. If you want to see your needs, you should know where to look. 

Specifying Organizational Needs

After identifying your company objectives and what roles you need to add and develop, you can start thinking about how to achieve these objectives. What skills should your employees possess to contribute to your organizational development? How should you shape your workforce planning? By answering these questions, you can identify and develop your company’s job profiles and which critical skills these profiles need. Before analyzing your employees’ skills, you need to know which skills they need to acquire to succeed in their current roles. Then you can continue with conducting an inventory of your employees’ current skills. That way you can see their abilities and skill levels in each aspect you measure.

Taking Action

Once you have measured both your organizational needs and your employees’ current skills, you can match these and see if there are any existing gaps. Do your employees’ skills meet your organization’s needs? If not, you can easily determine the aspects that need to be developed after these analyses. Then you can choose a development route. You have to decide what kind of training and development you need. Do you need a training program? Then you can build a corporate training cycle and increase the efficiency of your organization. Do you need a job redesign for your employees? You can consider rearranging the responsibilities and tasks a certain employee has. In case of a gap that you spotted in your workforce which you cannot sort out by rearranging tasks or training your employees, you might consider recruitment of new employees who possess the critical skills to close that gap. 

Closing the Gaps: How to Utilize Skills Gap Analysis Outcomes

Once you have completed the skills gap analysis, you have all the information you need to develop your organization. The path you will choose after that is completely up to your planning. Hire new people, rearrange task distribution, train your employees; whatever you think you need for organizational development. A recent McKinsey survey showed that hiring and building skills are the two most preferred actions to close the skill gaps in organizations. The survey report states that “respondents are much more likely to cite skill building, rather than hiring, as the most effective way to close skill gaps in the next five years”. Apart from the employer’s perspective, according to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report (2020), 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development; which means that you are more likely to retain your employees if you invest in employee training programs. In addition, a long-term project by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning found that “from a 4,300 workers sample, 74% felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities.”

But how do these programs actually work?

Employee Training Programs 

Employee training programs are designed to improve the job-specific knowledge and skills including the soft skills of the employees. If you chose corporate training as a solution to skill gaps in your company, there are several simple steps you can take. First, you identify the specific skills that your employees need to work on, i.e., learning objectives. Then you choose the right training methods and tools for each aspect. You can offer conferences and seminars with workshops; you can make use of effective mentoring and coaching techniques. The most important thing in choosing the right training method is to listen to your employees. You should pay close attention to what they want and which method works best for them. Then you can plan the most suitable training program for each employee. 

Conducting corporate training programs is not the end of organizational development. This is a never-ending process that needs to be regenerated occasionally. In order to keep track of that process, you need constant evaluation. After the end of each program, you should assess the outcomes of the program and evaluate the effectiveness of your corporate training. In short, you should constantly evaluate your employees’ development. 

Bottom Line

We live in an age of constant change and improvement. Our lives are changing rapidly, so is the business world. If you want to keep up with these changes, you should always string along with the changes and constantly renew yourself. If you want to survive, grow, and develop as an organization, you should be self-aware. You should know your weaknesses and strengths, what to pay attention to and what to work on. By simply learning about yourself and your organization, you can take the first steps toward self-development.