Businesses all over the world are witnessing something completely unprecedented.

For the first time, they may be confronted with an uncertain economic landscape, as well as record low unemployment and record high vacancy rates.

Knowledge is important. Companies that conduct a skills gap analysis to determine what resources are available within their teams have an advantage when dealing with change. Skills gap analyses can also help you predict various possible scenarios and close skills gaps quickly—before they have an impact on your productivity or achievement of strategic goals.

How do you identify and close skills gaps?

Step one: Identify your needs

The first step in skills-focused workforce planning is to assess the company’s current programs, strategies, and projects. This allows you to identify the high-level and day-to-day requirements of each department and team, as well as how these align with your overall strategy and goals.

This skills gap analysis will reveal what each team requires to achieve their objectives and will put you on the right track for identifying and meeting those requirements.

Step two: Conduct a thorough skills assessment

In general, HR teams underutilize skills assessments. While assessing the skills of incoming talent is fairly common practice (SHRM found that 56 percent of employers now perform such assessments), it is far less common to do so for current team members.

Identifying skill gaps in the workplace will assist you in identifying people’s abilities and knowledge that you are not currently utilizing or could make better use of. Using those skills can effectively boost efficiency and accelerate your efforts without the need for an expensive new hire.

Step three: Rethink your hiring strategy

Traditional methods of hiring are rapidly becoming obsolete. Traditional practices centered on a college education may no longer be the best way to find the best talent in today’s rapidly changing workplace, against a competitive recruitment backdrop.

Consider revising your job descriptions: Many employers now consider a “spectrum of competencies” that includes core, cross-functional, and functional skills, rather than defining a required checklist of skills and experiences. This strategy reflects the trend toward “liquid teams” and project-based work. It also entails focusing on key characteristics of recruits rather than a specific skill set that they can learn.

Fundamentally, today’s recruiting environment necessitates HR leaders analyzing traditional hiring practices to identify biases and thinking outside the box when it comes to attracting talent. What worked in the past may no longer be effective, and changing your approach can help you attract professionals you might have overlooked otherwise.

Step four: Enhance your professional development

On-the-job training can improve your employees’ skills and is a very affordable way to create a more supportive workplace culture for career advancement.

Ideal integration of a comprehensive learning and development program into your business strategy. Regular sessions can identify internal candidates who might fit your needs, such as those with transferrable skills or those who could learn new skills to boost your company’s performance.

You can find people interested in moving up in your company or changing roles by gathering information through surveys and one-on-one meetings. Additionally, it can strengthen your workforce, increase satisfaction, and reduce the expense of hiring new employees and onboarding them.

Step five: Keep track

The final step in effective skill analysis is to form a knowledge management team, which provides you with everything you need to keep track of your changing capacity and needs on a regular basis. Consider designating people throughout the organization to assist in gathering skills data from their teams in order to have a consistent source of accurate information to turn to when gaps appear.

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