Digital transformation among every sector is happening at such a rapid rate that workforces are struggling to keep up. The skills needed to stay ahead within this competitive and ever-shifting market continue to evolve, meaning that there are significant skills gaps springing up in every sector.
Without assessing their skillset, and readdressing any shortcomings, employees are at risk from innovation.
Skills gaps can be problematic in so many ways. For employees, professional growth and careers are stunted. At an organisational level, a team without the relevant skills cannot drive a company forward.
A responsible and supportive organisation will ensure it works hard to identify any skills gaps within its workforce and will want to elevate the skills of its team.
Follow these steps if you are a business leader looking for ways to address skills gaps within your team.
Conduct a skills gap analysis.
The skills your team requires to do their job effectively will differ according to sector, team, and role. Whether you sell a product or provide a service, you must conduct a thorough skills analysis of the skills that are relevant to your industry.
Once this has been determined, you should create benchmarks against which you can measure the skill level of your team. To do this, you could use past performance appraisals, team leader feedback, or even customer reviews.
Once you know where the shortfalls are, you can address them. However, it is worth considering the reasons behind the shortfall.
Be prepared to ask yourself questions, such as
- Are my new employees struggling to grasp our key processes?
- Are established employees able to keep up with new technologies?
- Is each department working in the same way? For example, are we using Machine Learning in one area, and legacy systems in another?
Revisit the hiring process.
Should you identify that there are significant skills gaps within the team, you should have a look at the hiring process and revisit your procedures. It could be that the current strategy doesn’t support the competencies you need.
It is important that the hiring team is aware of the skills you need. This way they can ensure they are focussing on the right things during the screening and interview process.
It is also good practice to screen, interview, and test for a broad scope of competencies. If you wish to broaden the skills profile of your entire team you will need to have multi-faceted employees. Those who go over and above the base Job Description are those who really add value to an organisation.
For more of our thoughts on skills based hiring, read our recent blog here
Train existing talent.
Training and development is an investment that will end up paying dividends. Hiring new talent may be necessary, but it is worth looking to upskill your current team first. Companies that were operating before the digital revolution will have a definite need to tackle skills gaps within existing teams.
Your business and the team will thank you for it. Training and professional development are critical to your people. It keeps them motivated, interested, and invested in their role. Your efforts will be rewarded with a loyal team, driven to work for you. This increased job satisfaction will help build a fantastic employer brand; one that is attractive to new hires.
Click here for more on Employee Loyalty, and how you can foster a loyal workforce.
There are masses of options to consider when looking to establish team training programs. If your teams are working remotely, then keeping a strong engagement is even more important. For this cohort, Business Communication tools, online courses, and video conferencing are all options if you have a distributed workforce.
Setting your team up on an upskilling journey is challenging for them, especially if you have a legacy team needing to adjust to new technologies or ways of working. Despite this, they will thank you for it and welcome the opportunity.
In order to support them, it is good practice to have a support network in place. You could consider having mentors in place to offer feedback and to scaffold any learning.
If you have the budget, you may like to offer an incentive-based scheme that will motivate your team to hit learning targets.
Acknowledgment and recognition are also important in keeping staff focussed. These gaps should not be viewed as shortcomings, but more opportunities for progression and growth. It should be the intention that every team member has a learning goal. Of course, some may be more advanced than others, but no employee is the finished article, and everyone has room to learn something new.
- Digital transformation is forcing organisations to address skills gaps within their teams.
- These skills gaps can have implications for companies and individuals.
- To tackle skills gaps within an organisation, it is up to business leaders to conduct a skills audit of the current team.
- You may need to look at the hiring process to ensure that new recruits are in possession of the skills your business currently needs.
- You upskill your existing team, you will need a combined approach of training and support.
- Motivation is crucial to help employees achieve developmental milestones and banish the skills gap.