Are you finding that your team, productivity, or production is not reaching its full potential? If that’s the case, it’s possible that you’re facing a skills gap.
A skills gap refers to the difference between the skills that employers require and the skills that employees possess. It’s a common enough challenge, but it can be a major obstacle to achieving business goals. According to a 2021 McKinsey survey, 87 percent of respondents reported either having a skills gap or expecting one in the near future.
The good news? There are effective ways to identify and address a skills gap. Keep reading to discover how to assess your organization’s efficiency, take proactive steps to tackle a skills gap, and improve your team’s overall performance!
How to Identify a Skills Gap
Successfully identifying the skills gaps in your organization may require more than one approach. Some gaps can be quantified, while others might relate to factors that are harder to measure, such as management styles, low motivation, or communication.
Using multiple approaches to gather data will help you uncover competency and performance gaps, at least giving you enough information so you know where to investigate further. Here are four strategies to help identify a skills gap.
Key Performance Indicators
While setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for sales staff is fairly straightforward, not all departments have clear and measurable outputs. So, when setting KPIs for your employees, consider which of the following factors are relevant:
- Quality of work (consistency, errors, client feedback)
- Output quantity
- Work speed (time to complete a project or task)
- Generated income
- Employee utilization rate (time spent on billable activities)
- Number of clients covered
- Positive and negative feedback
You also want to align your KPIs with the company’s best interests. Putting too much emphasis on work speed when quality is tantamount may damage overall performance.
If you suspect training and development are needed, employee assessments can effectively identify an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. When using assessments, it’s vital to match the tests to the staff’s actual work demands. That way, you’re getting an accurate depiction of their skills related to their daily work.
Work Alongside Your Team
Observation can provide insights that data might not reveal, including the root cause of a skill gaps. Working alongside your team creates opportunities to uncover factors contributing to competency and performance gaps.
You can use the benchmarks of top performers to create a point of reference. When you combine performance benchmarks with observation, you can identify what top performers are doing well and any strategies or procedures to share with other employees.
Common Skills Gap
The hard skills essential to your team will depend on your industry and department, but here are a few crucial skills that frequently appear as skills gaps. Let’s review them:
- Writing—With the rise of remote work and interoffice communication channels like Slack, writing is even more critical than ever. Simple instructions can be ambiguous or confusing without the benefit of voice tone and non-verbal cues. Clear, precise, and skillful writing facilitates excellence in every area, including teamwork.
- Public Speaking—Whether speaking in front of a group or presenting ideas to a couple of co-workers, presenting well makes employees more effective.
- Data Organization and Analysis—Data on sales, campaign performance, clients, finances, and more are readily available but only useful if it’s organized and analyzed. Employees who effectively utilize relevant data can glean insights to improve efficiency, productivity, and performance.
- Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking—Resourceful employees that can work independently and think critically are an asset to any team. They help find solutions to everyday obstacles.
- Teamwork—By communicating and collaborating effectively, good team members reduce friction, contribute to good morale, and help create better results.
- Attention to Detail—Attention to detail increases accuracy and avoids time-consuming mistakes. Employees with good attention to detail are more likely to get instructions right the first time, making them easier to manage.
- Leadership—Even employees not currently in management positions can benefit from leadership skills. Leaders inspire, notice areas of potential improvement, and help motivate others.
How to Fill a Skills Gap
To better meet business goals and future-proof your workforce, there are a few different ways to bridge skills gaps, including upskilling and reskilling.
Training to Fill a Skills Gap
When you identify employees with solid skills who lack knowledge or are underdeveloped in specific areas, training is a great way to bridge the gap. Three primary categories of training are most often used to increase employee competency and performance. They are:
- Upskilling adds new skills to improve an employee’s ability to meet all the responsibilities of their role
- Reskilling trains employees to transition to a new role
- Digital training (since the digital world ceaselessly expands and evolves, digital training keeps your team up to date with the information and tools they need to excel)
Hiring to Fill a Skills Gap
Your skills gap analysis may reveal a need for new employees. If you are a new or growing company, your analysis will help you expand, filling gaps with each new hire.
If you are finding skills gaps in your staff, particularly at a larger company, it may be time to evolve your hiring practices. Working with a skilled staffing agency that can expertly match each position with a well-rounded candidate is also a great way to bridge skills gaps in any organization.
Find People With Skills to Excel
As a dedicated staffing agency with offices nationwide, we successfully match skilled employees with great companies by putting people first. We tailor our approach to each client, providing effective strategies to help businesses fill their talent gaps and meet goals. Connect with our team to find out how we can help you.
Let us do the hard work for you. Questions? Call us toll-free: 855-485-8853