The evolution of technology and changes in the employment landscape in recent years has led to a growing disparity between the skills companies need to succeed and the skills that workers have, known as the skills gap.
While many external factors can contribute to such gaps, they often appear when companies focus on attracting new and specialized talent rather than investing in training, tools, or strategies to improve the skills of their current staff.
Regardless of the cause or how big or small your company’s skills gap is, in this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to identify, address and resolve it.
What is the skills gap?
A skills gap is the difference between the skills a company needs from its employees and the skills workers have. In other words, a skills gap exists when an employee must perform a task and does not have the necessary skills to carry it out.
Why do skills gaps happen?
Today’s job market is more competitive than ever, and due to changes driven by the advancement of technology and work automation, more and more skills have become necessary in addition to those already in demand.
Gartner’s Leadership Vision for 2023 report points out that the total number of skills required for a single job is increasing by 5.4% every year and that 33% of the necessary skills in 2019 will not be needed by 2024.
But this lack of skills is not only motivated by technological advances but also by a lack of understanding on the part of companies that these changes go faster than workers’ skills development, and it is necessary to implement continuous training to be updated.
In this sense, some of the leading causes of these skills gaps are the lack of training, professional support, and tools for workers to acquire the skills required in today’s job market.
Types of gaps
The skills gap is just one of the significant gaps that today’s companies are experiencing. There are three major types of gaps:
- Knowledge gap
These gaps appear when workers cannot do their jobs because they don’t have the necessary information to perform their duties. A good example is a vendor unfamiliar with all the products in their shop.
- Skills gap
When there is a skills gap, the worker may have some knowledge of how to perform the assigned duties but doesn’t have the skills required to complete them. Continuing with the same example, the seller might be familiar with the products in the shop but needs to learn how to use the sales and invoicing program.
- Performance gap
The performance gap has more to do with the employee’s performance of their duties. For example, the salesperson has a quota to meet but doesn’t reach their targets.
How to identify skills gaps in your company
The most effective remedy for closing the skills gap is continuous employee training, but before doing a training program, you must identify the gaps.
The first step is to be clear about your company’s objectives because knowing this will make it much easier to identify the skills your employees need.
However, it is also necessary to identify the skills they already have, which is why the two most crucial actions to identify skill gaps are pre and post-training assessments.
A previous assessment will give you a starting point to determine which employees have the skills required by the company and which don’t, and there are several ways to carry this out. For example, employees can complete a professional profile indicating their certifications, competencies, and skills.
Based on these profiles, companies can conduct assessments or questionnaires to determine employees’ knowledge and skills and which ones need to be strengthened. These evaluations can be questionnaires with multiple-choice questions, personal interviews, group discussions, or surveys.
Online and in-person assessments are useful tools for detecting skills gaps, but observation is also a way to see what employees are capable of.
In sum, compared with the skills your company requires to increase productivity, the data obtained from the previous assessments will identify possible gaps.
Post-training assessment also indicates the potential skills gaps that may have slipped through the cracks. After employee training, you should do a new assessment to determine which level of skills are acquired, if they know how to apply them correctly, or if they need more reinforcement.
Doing assessments just after the training help identifies the level of learning comprehension and determine whether employees have learned the skills they will be able to use. But it is also essential to assess these skills later to see how well the employees learned in the long term.
Again, comparing the skills required by companies and employees’ current skills will tell you if skills gaps still need to be closed.
#3 keys to closing the skills gap in your company
When you can identify the existing gaps, you can work on closing them. And although organizations must decide which actions to take to close these gaps, we want to give you some tips to help you achieve it:
- Determine which strategy to use to close your company’s skills gap
McKinsey’s report ‘The Skillful Corporation’ points out that reskilling is the best way to close the skills gap. But you must consider what works for your business before choosing a specific approach.
For example, in frontline workers’ training, the strategy must be developed around the few moments the employee can devote to learning, so a long or intensive course would not work.
In this case, a training app such as isEazy Engage could facilitate access to all the knowledge that employees need, with multimedia, gamified training, and effective communication tools.
- Use technology to help identify and close individual skill gaps
The same McKinsey report notes that companies must evolve and improve the digital literacy of their skills development programs. Improving employees’ training using e-learning, mobile learning, and microlearning tools.
When trying to close the skills gaps in your company, the needs will vary between the different departments or job profiles. The best way to offer a personalized solution is to use an adaptive learning management system, where training managers oversee the content and planning, and professionals choose the lessons or courses that suit their training needs.
IsEazy LMS is the learning management system that allows you to manage your team’s training from start to finish, identify your employees’ needs, develop a program, and evaluate training in one place. isEazy LMS offers users content based on their interactions, which fosters collaborative spaces.
- Conduct ongoing assessments or measurements to obtain an updated training needs analysis.
As you identify and close the skills gap in your company, it is necessary to continue measuring or assessing these skills. Learning management systems and training apps have metrics that allow you to see each professional’s progress individually, in groups, and in real-time. This will make it possible to address any gaps that may appear to solve them quickly and ensure that the company does not experience performance and productivity problems.
Closing the skills gap? Check out IsEazy
To close the skills gap, you must detect them on time, rely on e-learning tools to recognize them quickly, and fight them with an effective training program. Do you want to know the best e-learning solutions for employee training? Discover isEazy.
isEazy offers all the tools you need to develop and execute any training project. From software to create courses easily to an LMS, training app, gamification app, and more. Know all our tools, use them together or individually, and fight the skills gap in your company before it appears.