How to Conduct a Skills Gap Analysis
Is it time to change your business strategy? Are you afraid your employees may not have the skills to make it happen?
As your organization grows and expands, the skills required to execute your business strategy will change. When this happens, a skills gap analysis can help you identify ways to support your team members so that they can grow alongside your business.
To best equip your team and meet the future demands of your business, you need to learn more about their current skills. By doing so, you can better assist them in successfully executing your new business strategy.
Keep reading to learn how a skills gap analysis can benefit your organization and how to conduct one in the most efficient way possible.
What Is a Skills Gap Analysis?
This assessment carried out by human resources evaluates an employee’s skills. Learning where the employee excels and areas where they could use improvement help HR teams determine if the individual is still a good fit for the company. Often, this information supplements efforts to train the employee and help them develop missing skills.
Skill gap analysis yields the following:
- A list of the skills the employee currently has
- A list of the skills the employee needs to improve upon
- A list of the skills the employee needs to develop
From here, businesses can assist employees by providing them with online courses, training, or workshops to help build and develop these areas.
How to Carry Out a Skills Gap Analysis
For a successful execution of a gap analysis, follow these steps.
1. Explain What These Assessments Are
Your team will be keener to conduct or undergo a gap analysis if they understand its reason.
Transparency is key here. Explain how the evaluation will benefit the individual and the business.
It may be a good idea to hire qualified external consultants to review the skill levels of the company. Outsourcing will save the employer time and ensures the assessments are as objective as possible.
2. Identify the Skills Needed
Make a list of both hard and soft skills worth measuring. If the business is undergoing some changes, you might also include any skills that the organization may need in the next 3-5 years. Once you’ve made your list, narrow it down to the most critical ones.
For example, if you want to maximize productivity in the workplace, focus on skills that will help your business achieve that goal. These can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Bilingualism or multilingualism
- Project management
- Result oriented
Also, keep in mind any trends that will affect the future of the workplace. For instance, if there is a technology that your business may eventually need to adapt to, include skills like ‘willingness to learn’ or ‘database knowledge.’
This list is going to serve as a guide when conducting the analysis.
3. Conduct an Accurate Analysis
Once you have your list, it’s time to start conducting the assessments. To do so, gather data from any of the following methods:
- Previous surveys and assessments
- Interviews with employees
- Feedback from performance reviews
Go through each team member and score them using this list. You can use a 1-5 scale, with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent. The more accurate data you have on the employee, the easier and quicker the process will be.
4. Address Areas for Improvement
Now it’s time to address skills gaps. How? Well, you have a few options. You could hire new personnel, train current team members, or outsource.
The method you choose will depend on how fast you need the skill; how quickly the skills gap can be closed; and your budget for training, learning, and development.
Hiring a professional training firm to help employees develop the necessary skills is probably the best way to close skills gaps. Your team will enjoy learning from seasoned experts and being able to ask questions.
You also can train your team yourself by creating an internal training program. It will take more time, but you’ll be able to train your employees over time and work on essential areas like leadership, management, communication, and more.
Microlearning is often applied to corporate training programs as its becoming the future of professional development. If you choose to create an internal program, microlearning may be the way to go.
Another way to fill a skills gap is by hiring new personnel. If you opt for this route, you want to be sure to outline the hiring requirements in the job description and during the interview.
List the soft and hard skills needed and discuss any technical requirements the position requires.
If the necessary skills are only temporary, consider outsourcing. This option offers employers a way to get the skills they need without hiring an additional employee.
Outsourcing is a great way to fill a gap during a busy period or temporary project. It’s also suitable if the gap pertains to a skill that your company typically doesn’t handle, such as software development.
When Should You Conduct a Skills Gap Analysis?
There are three main signs it’s time to conduct a gap analysis:
- Whenever you change or develop your business strategy
- When your teams continuously fail to meet business objectives
- When introducing new technologies
Why Is Conducting a Skills Gap Analysis Important?
Skills gap analysis is vital to learn how an employee develops within your company. It’s an informative assessment for both the employer and the employee.
Here are three reasons why every business should be conducting a gap analysis annually.
Adapting to Digital Transformation
Technology is continuously evolving, forcing businesses to evolve alongside it. With time, companies will need to adopt new digital skills to keep up with changes in the workplace.
Skills gap analysis helps employees stay on top of trends and learn new things.
Giving HR Teams a Better Understanding of Employees
When you evaluate each of your employees using gap analysis, you learn about their strengths and weaknesses. You learn which team members are the most productive and where a specific employee excels best. An assessment also offers guidance on the areas where additional support is needed.
Understanding employee skills gaps allows HR teams to provide practical support.
Providing Direction and Opportunities for Growth
Instead of spending time, money, and energy on a workshop covering information your employees already know, use these assessments to learn where your staff is struggling.
As an employer or HR team, you need to be proactive and help employees grow their weaker skills. A gap analysis offers direction on what these weak points are so that you can provide proper training.
For example, the assessment may reveal that a few employees have trouble adjusting to new software recently installed onto their computers. Having this information in mind allows HR teams to train those employees and adjust job descriptions to bring in applicants with previous experience using such software.
Skills gap analysis may be frowned upon by your team, so explaining the benefits of this assessment to your HR team is essential. This analysis will provide insight into the workforce, boost individual growth, improve recruitment efforts, and create a competitive advantage.
If you opt to hire new team members to address a skills gap, you’ll want to vet them. Background checks are the first stage of screening new hires for necessary skills. Get in touch with ScoutLogic for the logical, efficient way to manage background screenings.
Download this free guide to go into the searching process prepared. This guide includes actionable steps to:
- Gather your requirements
- Determine vendors
- Check references
- Determine success metrics