No matter how well-oiled your business runs, there will come a time where you find that a key skill needed for your success seemingly isn't possessed by any employee. A skills gap is that gap between what your organization needs and the current capability of your employees. The ability to identify these gaps in your own organization can keep your business on track to grow and succeed. Search out skills gaps in your own company with these four tips.
Conduct Skills Assessments
You can't identify the skills gap in your organization without having a thorough understanding of what skills your employees currently possess. Even those who have been at your company for years may have skill gaps that developed because of their specialization.
Start identifying gaps by taking a baseline skills assessment of every employee. Create individualized competencies for each department that creates a 360 view of their skills. Use the results of this assessment to increase education and training in departmental "weak" areas. By conducting annual skills assessments, you can ensure each employee possesses the skills they need to complete their job.
There are some businesses where skills gaps develop out of fear rather than ignorance. Employees recognize that they don't possess the needed skills to succeed but feel as though management will punish or demoralize them for voicing their lack of education or training. Creating an open environment that encourages employees to self-identify a skills gap can close the gap to little more than a fissure. Use employee input to identify where skills gaps have developed in your business, and quickly address those concerns with education and training.
Don't Rely on Hiring
With large changes to your company mission or values, new positions are often opened to address the skills gaps. Relying on new hires to fill your company's gap is not only short-sighted, but can create production issues when new or old employees leave. Hiring shouldn't be treated as the solution for fulfilling missing skills. Instead, education, training, and cross-training can ensure that a variety of employees have the ability to address the skills gap rather than a single new employee. Think about the need to fill certain skills as an opportunity to enhance the education of your current workforce rather than a reason to expand your workforce.
Look Towards the Future
Growing businesses are constantly evaluating how their business will grow and change in the coming years. Part of that assessment should include what skills will be required to achieve those goals and how to ensure employees acquire those skills prior to implementation. If production will change or there will be business expansion, plan ahead by training and educating employees about new responsibilities and job requirements. By taking company goals a step further when evaluating the future of your company, managers can avoid the formation of skills gaps from business growth.
Taking your business to the next level requires reducing your skills gaps. By understanding which skills your employees currently possess, how you need those skills to be strengthened and evolved, and integrating education into your business growth plan, businesses can begin to find those gaps and close them.