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Skill Gap Analysis for Employees - The What, How and Why

You are rolling out a new product launch, but does your current team have the skills needed to pull it off? Or do you need to hire more or different team members? Or do you need to add additional team member training before this new project is initiated? These are just some of the many scenarios where a skill gap analysis for employees makes sense. Other examples may include changing job roles, requiring an employee to take on new responsibilities or shifts in required skills due to new company technologies.

So what exactly is skill gap analysis? It can be defined as comparing the necessary skills and knowledge required to complete a task with an employee’s current skill level to meet the task requirements. After analyzing the gap between the two, team leaders can work with employees to create a plan to fill the gap in skills.

Benefits of initiating skill gap analysis

Now that you know what skill gap analysis for employees is what are some of the benefits to managers and organizations?

  • Identifies employee weak spots

People have strengths and weaknesses. While you may have a marketing department equipped with communication skills, one team member may be a better editor while another may excel in design skills. By performing a skill gap analysis, you can identify where employees may need additional training to bring everyone up to the same skill level.

  • Offers professional development

If an employee feels they are lacking a certain skill, they may not always speak up about needing additional training. Or, an employee may know or want additional training on certain skills and feel their company is not offering this training. They then become disgruntled and even mentally “check out." Then, they start looking for a company who cares more about their career path.

So it’s important to perform a skills gap analysis for employees. This will determine a personalized development plan for each employee. It will show your employees you value training and development. Plus, that you want to equip each of your employees with the right skills in order to be successful.

  • Helps human resources

By performing a skill gap analysis, it will help your human resources department. Why? Because they will understand what skills are needed for a certain role. This helps HR write well-crafted job descriptions leading to better candidates and ultimately stronger new team members.

  • Path for promotion

Managers will also benefit from a skill gap analysis. Because it will show what skills are needed for each level within their team. If a senior member leaves the company, it will be apparent as to what skills more junior team members will need to gain in order to move into these advanced positions.

  • Increased productivity

Probably the most important benefit of skill gap analysis is productivity will increase. When you identify the skills needed within training, your company will become better at time management, work planning, and stay on project budgets more effectively. All these factors make the company stronger as a whole and better at achieving goals.

How do you begin the skill review process?

Skill gap analysis for employees is beneficial to any organization. That’s why it’s important to have a thorough review of the skills your employees have versus what skills are needed. Here are some steps to take when performing a skill gap analysis.

1. List company objectives

Before you begin your analysis, you’ll want to list the company and/or department objectives. Your objectives will determine what skills you are looking to gain from your employees. Plus, it will help prioritize what skills are most important to the company. It will be easier to plan your training and get employee buy-in by identifying why a skill gap analysis needs to be done.

2. Skills needed

Once you review your objectives, determine what skills are needed to meet these objectives. This should be broken down by job role. In other words, what specific skills are needed for every job description within your company. You may say communication in the workplace is a top skill across your company. However, this may be vital for a role like customer service, but maybe not as important as learning how to use a new CRM database for your sales team members.

One way to simplify this step is to group similar job roles together. For example, even though your marketing team may specialize in various roles on the team, writing is important for the entire team. So by grouping like job roles within your organization this will help identify what strengths you would like each department or team to possess.

3. Measure skills

Next, you'll need to measure the skill level of your current employees with the skills you have identified as being most important. One way to do this is to rate either on a numerical scale, one to 10. One being the employee does not have much knowledge of the needed skills and 10 meaning this employee is already proficient. Or another way to measure is using high, moderate, and low to indicate how strong a person is in a particular skill.

4. Learn needed skills

Once you have identified the skills needed, it’s time to look at your current employees. You can take two different approaches. You either choose to train and develop your current employees. Or, you look to hire employees with the needed skills you have identified.

  • Train current employees

With this option, you will not be adding the time and expense of hiring new team members. However, you will need to devote thought and energy into how to train your existing employees. A great way to do this is using a learning management system provider. They can craft training materials and form a method to roll out company training. This provider can incorporate blended learning, peer to peer learning, and gamification in training to motivate and develop your team successfully.

  • Hire new employees

If you choose to hire new team members, just remember to incorporate what you’ve learned during your skill gap analysis for future employees. This should include things like:

  • crafting detailed job descriptions
  • incorporating the needed skills identified
  • asking for examples during the interview process of how a candidate has demonstrated these skills on past jobs.

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Tips to measure effective skill gap analysis

Now that you know the process of skill gap analysis for employees, how do you ensure your analysis is effective? There are a few approaches you can take that may help guide the process and lead to better results. Here are some ways you can go about measuring the skills needed for your employees.

  • Use KPIs

KPI or Key Performance Indicators offer measurable values that demonstrate how effective a company is at achieving key business objectives. However, KPIs can be applied to employees to judge how effective their job skills are at contributing to the company. For example, you can measure career path with the company, compensation, bonuses, benefits, and retention rates.

Once you compare employees with similar job roles, you will see trends. This will help you identify skills gaps with some employees. And once these are identified, you can begin to correct these with training.

  • Assessments

Another way to help determine skill gaps is with assessments. Using a learning management system provider, they can set up assessments and with these quizzes. You’ll learn where skills need to be added per employee and to an entire team. For example, you can measure on topics like sales enablement, performance management, and customer service.

Just remember to use real-life scenarios when asking questions. That way, it’s easy to judge how an employee may react in real-time. Plus, this will give you a better snapshot of what skills are lacking and can then be corrected with additional training.

  • Observations

No one likes to feel watched or like they are being micromanaged. But sometimes viewing how employees react within a given situation will help you determine what skills are missing. Observations are a great way to determine skill gaps for employees because you can see what problems your team members are facing first-hand.

Just make sure you explain to your employees that you are not judging them. But you are gathering feedback on how to better support them on the job. Plus, you may observe behaviors or reactions that team members themselves don’t realize they are doing. By explaining all of this to your employees, everyone receives positive feedback and additional training that is necessary.

  • Ranking employees

In order to compare apples to apples, instead of ranking the skills needed per job, rank your top performers across all teams and take note of the skills these team members possess. Make sure to not only note job skills but soft skills like communication or leadership. That way you will have a benchmark of what skills and level these skills need to be in order to complete a skill gap analysis for employees.

This process can also help when hiring new team members to know what the candidate profile should look like. It can also be useful with career advancement within your company. More junior members will have a template of the skills needed in order to move up within the company.

  • Review process

Employee review time is another great way to gather feedback for skills analysis. Instead of a one-sided review, make sure you gather feedback from any direct reports, their managers, and also their team member peers. This will give you a better snapshot of strengths and weaknesses for each employee in terms of skills. You may even consider outside contacts like customers or vendors if employees interact regularly with them.

It’s also important to involve the employees themselves. This is a chance to talk openly and honestly about each employee career path, what skills each employee feels they need to strengthen, and any stumbling blocks interfering with working up to their full potential.

Templates and case studies

Besides best practices for skill gap analysis for employees, it’s helpful to have templates to work from. These templates can be adapted to your specifications but will provide a nice starting point to build from.

And if you are in a certain industry like the medical field, certain areas of business, or the sciences, you’ll want a more detailed template called a critical skill gap analysis. This is formed when management wants to observe employees on how they handle a very serious project. Plus, this is usually reserved for more seniored employees where they need to improve certain skill sets in order to do their job more effectively.

If you are curious how other companies have carried out a skill gap analysis for employees successfully, Training Magazine gives a few case studies. They highlight companies such as KPMG, Deloitte Consulting, Verizon, and more. You’ll learn what issues these companies were facing and how they are going out solving their skill gap issues. Although your company situation may differ, it may help to see what other businesses are doing in terms of skill gap analysis.

For example, Training Magazine points out that KPMG has learned through skill gap analysis that with the continued emergence of new technologies and new business needs, it recognizes that the skills required to succeed tomorrow are not the same as the skills required to succeed today. Where once it sought to establish skill benchmarks based on the success of the past, it now seeks to anticipate the benchmarks of the future, and plan development proactively.

Why skill gap analysis for employees?

Skill gap analysis is an important process to take in order to judge which skills you currently have in your employee arsenal and which skills you need to obtain. By going through this detailed process, it will reveal areas of skill weaknesses and areas of strengths with your employees. Once you identify the areas for improvement, by using a learning management system provider, you can train and develop each of your valuable team members. As a result, your employees will become more marketable, engaged, and more proficient at doing their jobs. And your company will improve processes making necessary projects run smoother with fewer issues unforeseen issues.

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