If making your workforce more competitive in the marketplace is part of your training objectives this year, that means it’s time to identify the skills gap in your employees. As the name implies, it’s a significant gap between the skills needed by an organization and the current skills of its workforce. It is the moment when a company realizes that it cannot move forward, maintain its previously defined objectives, or be competitive with respect to other companies unless those skills are learned or improved. Aaron Rodriguez, a business optimization expert, provides a detailed explanation of how business owners can more easily identify if there are skills gaps.
Identifying this gap is crucial to designing effective and focused eLearning training programs. Often, companies implement new programs without a clear understanding of the existing gaps in their workforce. This only leads to poor results. There are several benefits of analyzing and identifying the skills gap in your company since it analyzes the organization as a whole. It analyzes existing skills and lets you know if employees can learn new skills through training, or if you need to hire different workers, and also gives you an idea of what kind of training is required first, and where you need to invest more money and time.
In order to know the skills gap in your company, start by identifying your company’s goals. While it sounds good to have well-rounded employees, in the end, your business probably needs one skill more than the other. “By identifying your company’s goals before you make any decisions, you’ll be able to identify what training your employees need, now and in the future. That’s how you’ll know whether it’s more important to focus on technology training, customer service skills, even both, or something else,” Rodriguez explains.
It’s important to keep in mind what skills are required to achieve those objectives. To make sure you’re not training your employees in the wrong areas, you first need to identify the skills most needed for each job in the company.
Start by grouping jobs together. In other words, if you have Technical Support Representatives and Customer Service Representatives, they are likely to require similar training. Rank your skill priorities. After you have determined how to categorize and group jobs, you now need to prioritize skills based on job level. For example, a senior team member or supervisor would require expert-level skills, while others may require only basic knowledge. Next, create a list of these skills and make sure managers are aware of the knowledge expected of their team members, and how competent they should be.
Identifying the skills your people already have is a key point. Now that you have a clear idea of your business priorities and the skills required for each position, you will need to determine if the people filling those positions are well prepared to perform their jobs. Gather the data, analyze and compare. A Skills Gap Analysis is a comparison of the skills the company needs and the skills that employees have. The difference between the two is the skill gap. In simpler words, Skills Required – Skills Known = Skills Gap.
Once you have found the skill gaps, consider several aspects in your review process. Start by making a list of the skills your workforce is lacking and the training they need to fill these gaps. Consider wat skills are needed for new hires, as well as the training required for different groups or teams. Employees who have demonstrated exceptional or leadership skills and could be promoted. Remember to always keep in mind what skills are needed in the future and what can be done to prepare.
Rodriguez says, “Once you know what the gaps are and where they are, it’s time to start closing them. At this point, you can begin to design an action plan for training and hiring. Because of the time and expense associated with training, it’s best to start by closing the most crucial gaps, so it’s definitely important to have your priorities in order before developing your training program.”
Each plan should include reasons why employees should improve these skills, the best ways to address the gaps, the support required to complete them, and a date by which the training should be completed. You have a wide variety of options for closing the gaps, including coaching, mentoring, online learning programs and others.