How To Identify And Resolve Skills Gaps In Your Teams

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Each business seems to have a unique set of skills that differentiate it from its competitors. A company’s ability to perform functions, execute tasks, and achieve goals often depends on developing these skills.

In some cases, employees may come together as a team and complete all the required tasks; in other instances, however, there might be limitations in terms of what can be achieved by a team. One major factor that usually hinders an organization’s growth and success is the presence of skills gaps in one or more employees.

What Is A Skills Gap?

A skills gap is the difference between an employee’s current skill set and the necessary knowledge and abilities required to succeed in their role. There are three different types of skills gaps:

  • Present-Oriented Skills Gap

This occurs when an employee has the required knowledge and abilities for their current job such as passing the aptitude tests but can’t perform the roles and responsibilities associated with it.

  • Future-Oriented Skills Gap

This occurs when an employee has the required knowledge and abilities for their current job but lacks the skills to do future roles or responsibilities expected to be assigned in the near future.

  • Career-Oriented Skills Gap

This occurs when an employee has the required knowledge and abilities to perform roles or responsibilities slightly different from their current job but lacks the skills to do their desired role in the organization.

How To Identify Skills Gaps

Resolving skill gaps should be a high priority for management. Here’s how to identify skills gaps:

1. By Employees Or Managers

Team members or managers can identify the lack of required skills by their employees/collaborators because they’ve noticed that employees struggle to perform specific tasks and complain about the lack of knowledge and skills.

This method may help identify skills gaps, but it shouldn’t be considered the only way to identify them because employees often lack awareness of their limitations. This also requires employees to take the initiative and volunteer information regarding their knowledge, abilities, and areas for improvement.

2. By External Feedback

Sometimes, employees aren’t aware of their limitations because they’ve never received constructive feedback from people outside the team. It requires managers to hire experienced individuals who can provide honest and accurate feedback about strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.

3. By Self-Evaluation

Other times, employees are aware of their limitations but lack the motivation to do something about them. It can be addressed by organizing workshops or seminars to improve their knowledge, abilities, interpersonal skills, and soft skills in a productive environment.

What Tools Can Be Used?

There are many different types of tools that can be used to identify skills gaps in employees:

1. Regular Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are an excellent way for managers to keep track of employee development and how their skills have changed over time. Reviewing tasks, roles, responsibilities, and performance against self-set standards is effective, but it should also include external feedback from employees, supervisors, and clients to ensure that the identified skills gaps are accurate.

2. Competency Models

Competency models are lists of knowledge, abilities, and skills that managers expect their employees to have to be successful. They can help identify areas for improvement by comparing an employee’s competencies with a list of competencies required for a specific role or the organization as a whole. Unfortunately, most companies don’t have competency models, and only a few have them publicly available.

3. Self-Assessment Guides

Self-assessment guides can be helpful when identifying areas for improvement because they help employees perform self-evaluations using the information they already know about their skills, abilities, and knowledge. The majority of employees lack self-awareness. It can be attributed to the fact that they don’t receive enough constructive feedback from managers or that their feedback is rarely accurate.

4. Self-Evaluation Frameworks

Self-evaluation frameworks help employees to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses by providing a list of tools and activities that they can use to get honest feedback from both managers and co-workers. Employees can use this information to identify their areas for improvement or training needs, especially when planning for future projects/assignments.

How To Resolve Skills Gaps

Identifying skills gaps is just the first step towards resolving them. Here are some of the most effective strategies for resolving them:

1. Require An Aptitude Test

The simplest way to resolve a skills gap is by requiring that the employee pass a test. This test should be created by an external party and should contain questions related to everyday tasks associated with the job description. Sometimes, managers neglect to perform this step because they fear that employees will feel offended if their lack of knowledge is identified, but it can also help employees step outside their comfort zone and improve their abilities.

Some employers can require that employees pass a test or complete a course to resolve the skills gap. This method is usually effective because it provides an incentive for employees to improve their knowledge, which can help them level up in their careers.

2. Assign A Training Program

It’s the most straightforward way of dealing with skills gaps because it allows employees to learn skills required for their current or future roles. This method can be effective if the organization can hire an experienced training instructor who knows the required skill set and has experience in training employees.

There are three main types of training courses that can be provided to employees:

  • Self-Paced Training

This type of training allows employees to work at their own pace, which will enable them to set their learning schedules and control the time required for completion. The major disadvantage of self-paced training is it requires a significant amount of discipline, which may be hard for team members to attain.

  • Online Training Courses

Online courses are becoming popular in the digitized world because they can provide training in a self-paced format while allowing employees to work from home. These courses are usually affordable and require little supervision, but they also have some disadvantages such as the lack of qualified instructors, poor quality content, and a lack of interactivity.

  • Classroom Training

This type of training is the least popular because it requires employees to attend scheduled classes, which can be challenging for team members who have limited time or experience attending such courses. On the other hand, classroom training provides face-to-face interactions with instructors and learning opportunities that different approaches can’t replicate.

3. Provide Mentoring

Mentoring is one of the most popular options for resolving skills gaps. It allows employees to get personalized attention from experienced professionals who are willing to share their knowledge and assist in development. This method can be very effective, especially if mentors have a solid professional background and provide real-world examples to help employees relate and apply new skills.

During mentoring sessions, employees should be encouraged to ask questions and employ active listening techniques to ensure they understand the concepts provided by their mentors. This method usually requires a significant amount of time, but filling gaps in knowledge this way is usually more cost-effective than taking formal courses or training programs.

4. Establish A Coaching Culture

Employers who want to resolve skill gaps should consider establishing a coaching culture where team members can provide constructive feedback without the fear of appearing aggressive or confrontational. This approach provides management with an opportunity to address issues before they develop into problems that can affect business performance.

To establish a coaching culture, managers should be trained in interpersonal communication skills, and regular performance reviews should be conducted to identify skill gaps early on. This approach usually requires a significant amount of time and effort. Still, it can be effective if team members are willing to provide constructive criticism or ask for help when needed.

5. Allow Employees To Train Each Other

This approach can be practical if employees are encouraged to teach others about their acquired skills during their careers. It’s usually beneficial because it allows employees with strong knowledge bases to pass on their skills while also helping less experienced team members learn new methods and increase their value.

Management needs to provide regular training sessions where employees can share and discuss new ideas in detail. This approach usually requires a significant amount of time, but it’ll eventually result in the identification of gaps in teams’ knowledge bases, which can then be filled through different options such as mentoring or online courses.

6. Use Technology To Fill The Gaps in Knowledge

Solving skills gaps through technology might be a demanding and challenging option. It requires team members to learn new technological tools and acquire in-depth knowledge about key concepts like social media best practices or web analytics. However, the popularity of this approach is increasing due to the variety of e-learning courses available online.

Although this option requires a significant amount of time, it can help employees improve their knowledge in specific fields and resolve skills gaps effectively. This approach is also popular because it allows teams to overcome geographical limitations and educate employees in different regions.

Conclusion

Resolving skill gaps should be a high priority for management because it can help organizations improve performance and make the most of their workforce. While different options should be considered, none of them are necessarily better than others when solving skills gaps in teams. The best approach is usually determined by specific organization needs and considering all pros and cons associated with each option.

However, a coaching culture where employees can teach others about the skills they’ve acquired throughout their careers while actively listening to constructive criticism is usually considered the best solution. It allows employers to resolve skill gaps while encouraging an open and transparent work environment.

By Juan Salvatore

Bio: Juan Salvatore is a 38-year-old marketing specialist with a love for books about art, literature, psychology, and business. Born in Rome, Italy, Juan has always been fascinated by the way different cultures think and operate. This curiosity led him to pursue a career in marketing, where he could learn about and analyze the inner workings of businesses all over the world.

Juan loves spending time with his wife and two young children and enjoys discovering new restaurants in his hometown of Chicago. He also likes practicing photography in his spare time.

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