skills gap

You might have heard that the skills gap is growing and needs to be addressed. According to McKinsey, around 90% of companies worldwide experience skills gaps today. But what is it really? And what can you do to close the gap and prevent it from becoming an issue in your organization?

In this blog post, we'll go through what the skills gap is and have a look at what you can do about. Let's get rolling!


What is a Skills Gap? 

Skills gaps are the critical missing pieces in an organization's workforce puzzle. They are the difference between the skills needed to do a job and the skills a person or group of people actually have.

These gaps can manifest in various forms, ranging from a lack of technical expertise to deficiencies in soft skills like communication and collaboration. And this, in turn, can make it hard for the company to be productive and successful.

Pinpointing your workers' skills gap is essential to make sure they have the know-how to achieve your company's goals. 

By understanding these gaps within your organization, you can make informed decisions and take action to close them and boost the company's overall performance. 

Knowing your workers' skills gap will help guide your organization in all areas, from hiring, training, and deployment to promotions and retention. 

How to Identify Skills Gaps in Your Organization

To effectively address the skills gaps in your organization, you obviously first need to identify them. So how do you do that? Well, first, you need to figure out what existing skill sets your workers hold.

1. Uncover Current Skills

There are several methods you can use to identify the current skill levels in the organization, such as:

  • Skills assessments: Conducting formal assessments to evaluate workers' proficiency in specific skills.
  • Performance data analysis: Analyzing performance metrics to identify areas where your workers may be struggling due to skills gaps.
  • Employee and manager feedback: Gathering insights from workers and managers through surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one conversations.
  • Learning platform data: Utilizing data from a learning management system (LMS) to track your workers learning progress and identify skill gaps.
Use the technology you already have. For example, can you use your learning platform to make the skills assessments? Often we do not use or even know about all the potential our current platforms and programs have. But often, your learning platform have ways to send out surveys and do skills assessments.

The platform should also provide you with a lot of insights that will help you evaluate the current skill levels of your employees and identify areas where additional training or development is needed.

If your learning platform allows you to connect your learning paths with skills, it is a big help to map out your employees' skills. 

2. Remember the Future

By 2025, 1 in 2 workers will need reskilling. Is this the case in your organization, too?  Ask yourself, what is it that your organization needs to succeed? Look at predictions on what will be needed in the market in the future. Do your workers have the skills to get you there? 

Compare the skills of your workforce to those of competitors or industry benchmarks to identify any areas where you may be falling behind.

Also, consider industry trends and future needs. This means you also need to analyze technological advancements and emerging skill needs in your specific industry and which roles you will be able to automate to understand the anticipated changes in the workforce landscape.

Looking at this will help you identify the skills that will be required in the future and assess whether the current workforce already possesses those skills.

A Few Guiding Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Which skills are most important for your business today?
  • Which skills are your biggest priority for tomorrow?
  • What skills do your workers need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently?
  • What skills are currently on the rise in your industry?

Once you have identified the skills needed and compared them to the skills your workers possess, then you have found your skills gap.

And this is when you finally can start addressing them. No big surprise here, but learning and development is the way to go.  Having this base will help set goals for upskilling and reskilling your workers.

Tackle the Skills Gap

1. Develop Reskilling & Upskilling Training

53% of executives say that building skills is the most useful action to close the gap. So, to get started with that, once you have defined the skills that need to be developed, you have to determine the desired outcomes of your training programs. This will help you create specific learning objectives and design relevant training materials.

Remember that your
upskilling & reskilling training programs should:

  • Align with business goals: Ensure the training aligns with the organization's strategic objectives and skill requirements.
  • Incorporate diverse learning methods: Utilize various training methods, such as instructor-led training, e-learning modules, workshops, and on-the-job training, to cater to different learning styles and preferences.
  • Provide opportunities for practice and reinforcement: Incorporate hands-on activities, case studies, and simulations to reinforce newly acquired skills. Digital microlearning is a great way to build a base and refresh skills. 

Although creating training programs is great, it should all be part of the bigger picture of creating a learning culture. Because, to be honest, having a training session here and there a few times a year is great, but it is not gonna crack the nut for you.

2. Create a Learning Culture

Organizations that cultivate a strong learning culture are better equipped to address skills gap and empower their employees for lifelong learning. A learning culture is one where learning is seen as an integral part of the organization and where employees are encouraged to embrace continuous development. 

To foster a learning culture:

  • Start with your leaders & managers. Equip your leaders with leadership training so they can lead with success. Leaders have a profound ability to impact your culture, employees, and the entire organization. 
  • Provide access to training and development resources: Make it easy for your workers to access training opportunities, both formal and informal.
  • Encourage peer-to-peer learning: Create opportunities for your workers to share knowledge and expertise with each other.
  • Recognize and reward learning achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate workers' learning accomplishments, reinforcing the importance of continuous learning.
  • Integrate learning into daily work: Provide opportunities for your workers to apply their newly acquired skills in their daily work routines.

By connecting learning initiatives to the organization's skill landscape, you can create a system that continuously builds a talented workforce equipped to thrive in a changing world. 

This investment in employee development not only addresses the current skills gap but also prepares the workforce for future challenges, ensuring the organization's long-term agility and competitiveness.

3. Monitor and Evaluate the Effectiveness of Skills Gap Solutions

Now, let's not forget the importance of monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of your employee training and skills gap solutions.  It's absolutely crucial to ensure that all your hard work is actually paying off.

  • Gather feedback from workers and managers: Regularly solicit feedback on the effectiveness of training programs and identify areas for improvement.
  • Conduct post-training assessments: Evaluate employee proficiency in the skills addressed by the training programs.
  • Monitor performance metrics: Track employee performance metrics to assess the impact of training on productivity, efficiency, and overall performance.
  • Conducting follow-up assessments: Measure the long-term impact of training programs and identify any recurring skills gaps.

By continuously monitoring and evaluating, you'll be able to make data-driven decisions and fine-tune your skills gap solutions for maximum impact and success. So, keep your finger on the pulse and watch those skills gaps disappear!

Want inspiration on how to make a bigger business impact with your L&D efforts? Sneak some inspiration from Specsavers - Click the image below👇