As businesses rapidly embrace new models and strategies to include updated technology and address changing customer needs, many organizations are witnessing skill and knowledge gaps.
These gaps are expanding, as many employees are now required to do jobs that they weren’t hired or trained to do.
A new survey by McKinsey shows that around 43% of respondents claim that their organization is facing skill and knowledge gaps, while another 44% say they expect such gaps to emerge in the next five years. Over three out of ten survey participants also said that 25% of the jobs in their firms were at risk due to evolving market trends. However, only one-third of the participants admitted that their organizations were prepared to cope with the disruptions that such fast-paced changes can create in their workplace.
This data shows the importance of bridging knowledge and skill gaps and highlights that few organizations are prepared to do so. Addressing these gaps is crucial as they can be the biggest liability for your business. This article will detail how your company can identify these gaps and bridge them before they cost your business.
What are knowledge and skill gaps in the workplace?
Gaps in knowledge or skill usually refer to deficiencies in the performance of your employees. It is the disparity between an employees’ existing set of skills and the qualities they must possess to do their job efficiently. Such gaps either result from hiring employees that are inexperienced or are not suitable for the job.
Companies are often forced to hire employees who do not have the required qualifications due to a staff shortage. These gaps are further exacerbated due to employee ambivalence and lack of proper training. These deficits often arise due to the changing nature of the market, which requires a business to revamp itself and upskill and reskill employees constantly.
It is crucial for a business to quickly identify and bridge these gaps to boost its revenue and sales. A worker that doesn’t have the required knowledge or skills can cost the business a potential client or customer. Such employees bring down the productivity of the entire workplace, make it difficult to achieve targets and goals, and drive business directly to your competitors. Not understanding how to do their job efficiently can also demotivate employees and force them to quit.
According to Human Resources personnel and hiring managers, critical thinking, attention to detail, communication skills, managing others, and advanced data analysis are some of the crucial skills that are missing from their recent hires.
Each workplace is different, and to succeed; you have to determine the specific set of skills and knowledge your employees are lacking.
How to identify the knowledge and skill gaps in your workplace?
Here are a few steps you can take to identify the knowledge and skill gaps impacting your company’s performance.
- Define the objectives of your business: To recognize the gaps in the performance of your employees, you first need to be clear about the goals of your organization. It would be best to have a clear picture of the targets you want to achieve in the future and what new positions need to be created and filled.
- Identify the necessary qualifications required: It would be best to discern what qualifications are required to help you accomplish your future targets. This is especially important if you plan on rebranding or introducing new strategies or technology in your workplace. You need to determine what kind of educational background, proficiency, and work experience an employee will need for a particular position in your company.
- Assess the present situation: You need to assess your employees’ current performance and determine whether it is adequate for you to achieve the goals that you have outlined. This will help you understand the knowledge gaps in your workforce and train and reskill existing employees according to your firm’s needs. It will also help you determine if you need to hire new employees or create new roles.
How to conduct a skill gap analysis
After identifying the knowledge gaps existing in your workplace, you need to do a skills gap analysis. Here are a few steps that can help you do so.
- Identify the Key Performance Indicators: Key Performance Indicators are measurable values that highlight the efficacy of an organization. They can be quantitative, like the amount of revenue incurred or returns on assets, or qualitative, like customer satisfaction scores. Different sets of KPIs are used to measure the performance of different sectors, businesses, and departments. Identifying the vital KPIs for your company or department is the first step towards efficiently gauging your performance. Keeping track of these indicators and metrics will show you areas in which your company is lacking or falling behind.
- Make employee assessment: Along with tracking the performance of your employees through KPIs, you should also evaluate their skills through regular assessments and quizzes. This can help you understand the individual problems each employee is facing to take measures to rectify them.
- Observe the work environment: Assessments alone, however, will not give you the complete picture of your employees’ performance. Therefore, you need to observe them while they are carrying out their duties. This may pinpoint issues that couldn’t be spotted during tests and provide further insight regarding their skill gaps.
- Take reviews from employees and customers: Frequent feedback and reviews should be taken from employees and customers, as this may highlight issues you have previously missed. This is important as it often helps recognize a lack of soft skills like communication skills and teamwork.
- Identify the benchmark top performers: Recognizing employees that are your organization’s top performers provides a point of reference for other workers. By identifying what they are doing right, you can infer the skill gaps in your other employees. Their performance can also serve as a skill template to train other employees.
After successfully identifying the skill and knowledge gaps in your employees, you need to understand how best to bridge these gaps. This could be done through training and reskilling or rehiring. It would help if you also recognized the root cause behind these problems to best address them. To do this, you can utilize AI-based platform, which can efficiently help you map the skills of your employees. These personalized skill maps provide an accurate picture of areas your employees and your business need to improve.
Knowledge and skill gaps exist in every company and business sector. However, identifying and overcoming these gaps is what can help you succeed and boost sales. Identifying skill gaps gives you an insight into your business, allowing you to reevaluate your strategies and reorganize your workforce to eliminate weak spots. It can also improve recruitment efforts and help you employ workers best suited for the organization. This will prevent losses that unsuitable and unqualified employees could cause.
Addressing these gaps through training will help you improve the performance of your workforce, increase employee satisfaction, and boost customer experience. This will ensure client retention and help you grow your customer base, which will directly increase sales. It will also prevent workplace disruptions caused by changing trends. Additionally, it will give your company an edge over your competitors and prevent you from losing business to them.