Can you think of a common struggle that all CEOs around the globe face? Here’s your answer: the gap between the skills of their workforce and the skills that are necessary to achieve the company’s goals.
The Employment Situation report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is enough for us to identify the skills gap: there are 7 million unemployed people in the USA. Let’s take a look at another number: the Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, published by the same institution, shows that there are 5.7 million job openings in the USA. Needless to say, employers are having a hard time finding the right talent.
Those results are clear: the gap between the employers’ needs and the skills offered on the labor market is serious. What's not clear is how to get ahead of the competition during this critical skill gap.
Conduct a Skills Gap Analysis
Before you start thinking for a strategy, you need to identify and understand where the skills gap lies. This is how your organization will benefit from a skill gap analysis:
- You’ll see how well the company operates on different levels.
- You’ll identify the skills of each employee and realize what would work better: investing in their training or hiring a new one, who would be more suitable for the position.
- You’ll see the priorities - the gaps that need to be bridged ASAP.
With these goals in mind, here are some effective tips on how you can identify the skill gaps within your organization.
Identify the Organization’s Objectives
Analyzing the skills of your employees is important, but you need a standard to compare them with. You’ll need to go back where you first started: identifying the organization’s objectives.
What goals do you want these employees to achieve? What skills do they need for that purpose? When you analyze the objectives and your current status, you might realize you need more skillful workers in the technology department, customer service, or another section of your company.
The goals will be a guideline for the type and level of training you decide to provide for your employees.
Create a List of Roles within the Organization
This will be more than a list of all your employees and their positions. Valentina Moore, a HR manager, explains:
“You’ll want to list all positions, and then group the ones that require similar skillsets. For example, you probably need the same skills for the positions Social Media Marketing Advisor and Social Media Marketing Executive even if they are in charge of different projects or sections within your company. You need to identify the types of roles within your organization.”
Specify the Skills for Each Group of Positions
Now that you have a list of roles and you grouped the similar ones together, it’s time for the next step. You’ll need to specify the skills needed for each position on the list. For example, a social media expert needs advanced computer skills, communication skills, and listening skills.
Pierre Gurdjian, a director at McKinsey & Company’s Brussels office, and Oliver Triebel, an associate principal at the company’s Berlin office, explain: “By rolling out a program that targets competencies to the needs of the group, a company can save money and improve its chances of success.”
At this step of the process, you’ll focus on the needs of the group. Imagine how your ideal employee would be like, and list those skills. Then, you’ll proceed with the competencies you’re currently dealing with.
Specify the Skills of Your Employees
In the Investor Survey 2016, conducted by the PwC Corporate Reporting Blog, 77% of CEOs expressed their concern about skills shortages impairing the growth of their companies. The soft skills, which they value the most, are the hardest to find among employees. How do they know? They test.
That’s what you should do, too: test the skills of your employees. If you’re dealing with a large organization with a huge number of employees, that won’t be an easy thing to do. You can’t exactly supervise each one of them during a test period. You can, however, ask them to fill out a survey or complete simple tests designed for each category of positions.
Compare and Analyze
Now, the real work begins. Analyze the list of skills you identified for a particular group of employees and compare it with the skills you expect them to have. When you compare the reality vs. the expectations, you’ll see a clear gap. That’s what you should overcome.
Make a Plan to Overcome the Gap
This can mean anything from providing training for your current employees, firing the most inefficient ones and hiring new people to take their spots, or hiring extra talent to compensate for the lack of skills of your current employees.
Identify the priorities. What gaps do you need to deal with immediately?
Follow the Plan!
Create goals and a list of milestones to achieve. Remember: this is a process. You can’t close this gap overnight. It’s not possible to dismiss all your employees and hire the perfect ones in their place.
As all other industries, yours is growing by the day, too. New technologies and processes are being invented. That means your company will probably have to provide continuous training and hire new employees to fill in the gap. You can’t avoid the skill gap, but you can always be prepared to fix it. Hopefully, the tips from this article will help you prepare for the future.
About the Author: Sophia Anderson is a blogger and a freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on learning, writing, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development.