Identifying And Closing Skill Gaps In The Workplace

In any workforce, it is essential to maintain a good awareness of your employees across the board. This means that you need to develop an understanding of their skillset, including their strengths, weaknesses and capacity, so that you can easily identify any knowledge or skill gaps. It will then help you to identify and close these across the wider organisation, through training or hiring – or both.

To do all of this properly and efficiently, it’s important to have a proper process in place. Within each department there should be someone in a managerial position with the tools and insight needed to conduct a regular skill gap analysis, and to take the appropriate action afterwards. Perhaps the most important tool in your arsenal, whether you’re in the logistics, trucking and warehousing industry or the food and beverages industry, is a learning management system.

In this blog post we have created a clear guide to identifying and closing skill gaps in the workplace. Condensed into just 6 steps, we have created a clear process that you can follow which will allow you to conduct a skill gap analysis and implement the logical next steps in the aftermath.

Identify Roles Within The Company

Before conducting a skill gap analysis, you need a complete overview of your company structure. This means that you need to understand: the hierarchy, the different departments, the different roles and responsibilities within each department and any crossover between departments. This should be examined in conjunction with your understanding of the services that the business provides.

By doing this, you can begin to develop a sense of the standards that you need to meet. It is an opportunity to evaluate your current structure against your plans for the future, and against those of your competitors. This will shape your approach going forward as you will be able to determine areas of importance and conduct a skill gap analysis according to a list of priorities. 

If you have held your current position for some time, some of this information will be redundant – you’ll already have a good knowledge of everything to do with the company. However, an opportunity to compare your current trajectory with your business goals, and with the current state of your competitors, can never go amiss. It is this kind of keen analysis, and consequential strategizing, that allows businesses to remain at the forefront of their industry.

Inventory Current Staff And Capability

Now that you have selected areas of priority, you can approach them each in turn. You will complete the remainder of the steps for each department or group in turn, moving down your list accordingly.

Within each department, you need to take inventory of the current staff:

  • How many workers are there?
  • What are their roles?
  • Are their roles accompanied by comprehensive job descriptions?
  • What do they do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis?
  • Is the department, as a whole, performing as it should?
  • How does the performance of the department compare with the previous period?
  • How does the performance of the department compare with your top three competitors?

Asking yourself these questions will immediately demonstrate whether or not there are any red flags. This is yet another way that you can refine and prioritise your approach. Using these questions to break down the departments, and to gain an insight into each person within the workforce, will prepare you for conducting a skill gap analysis.

This is also an opportunity to collect data, listen to peer and managerial feedback and perform observations. All of these things will feed into your understanding of the employees, and make your judgements that much more astute.

The most important thing to take note of here is the comprehensive job descriptions. The more details that you have about the individual roles, and the requirements that must be met, the easier it will be to deduce whether or not there are any skill gaps which need to be addressed.

Conduct A Skill Gap Analysis

The most important aspect of identifying and closing skill gaps in the workplace is the skill gap analysis itself. Already, you have: examined your business strategy and structure, identified your employees and their roles and ensured that there are comprehensive job descriptions outlining key skills. Now, you will use all of this information to compare the skills of your existing staff with the skills that you need to really thrive as a business.

While you could complete your analysis on a spreadsheet, the most efficient means of doing so is by using a learning management system. You can use a platform to oversee all of your learning and development processes in one place – which means that you can use it to compare the current skill level of your employees with the skills that they should have.

There are many reasons for skill gaps in the UK, including: being new to the role, training being incomplete, lack of motivation and the introduction of new processes. A skill gap analysis will bring to light what is missing, and so it is what you do next that matters most.

Prioritise Training And Development

Once you have completed a skill gap analysis, you have successfully identified skill gaps. Now, you can work on closing them.

If these gaps are large, and have a negative impact on your business, then you may need to look at your hiring processes. You need watertight hiring processes to make sure that you are only bringing the highest quality workers into the business. Evaluating these processes will ensure that none of your future hires are poor choices. You can then use these processes to bring new people into the business, to fill your identified skill gaps.

However, our preferred means of closing skill gaps is to prioritise training and development. This is because it allows you to prioritise worker retention and worker satisfaction, by investing in their abilities. This is good on both an individual and organisational level.

To close your skill gaps through training and development, you can:

  • Ensure that employees have time to complete training during working hours.
  • Schedule training courses ahead of time.
  • Implement a mixture of mandatory and optional training programmes.
  • Offer blended learning opportunities, both online and in person.
  • Recognise and reward achievements.
  • Introduce regular one to ones between employees and managers.
  • Encourage career progression.

Even by doing just a few of these things, you are demonstrating the importance of having a skilled workforce, and showing your staff that you value them and wish for them to grow and succeed. While this may seem like a lot of things to be doing at once, that is the beauty of a learning management system. You can control and oversee everything on a single platform, making it easy to close skill gaps and futureproof your workforce.

Conduct Annual Analysis

One skill gap analysis isn’t enough. These should be conducted regularly, throughout the lifecycle of your business. We would recommend that you conduct at least one a year as this ensures that you remain on top of employee performance and business profitability. In turn, this means that your business is able to adapt and evolve with the demands of the market.

Skill Gap Analysis And More With Nvolve

If you choose to use this guide when identifying and closing skill gaps in the workplace, then please do let us know. A skill gap analysis is a vital process within any and every business, and so it is important that managers and leaders are equipped with the knowledge to execute them seamlessly.

We would always recommend investing in the best possible tools in order to set up a clearly defined process that requires little change or intervention. Our learning management system was designed to meet the needs of a deskless workforce, and can be used to painlessly implement the training that staff need to close skill gaps and remain at the very top of their game.

If you have any questions about the contents of this blog post, or about our learning management system, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You may also find some of our other articles useful.