The skills gap has become more disruptive to the workforce than ever before. This growing divide continues to leave many necessary jobs unfilled and an increasing number of employees struggling to hold on to their existing jobs. The skills gap will continue to impact employers in 2019 creating a need for gap analysis and continuing education.
Three Steps for a Gap Analysis
Employers will have to introduce a skill monitoring policy to remain proactive in identifying skills gaps. As companies take on new technology to improve their operations, they often overlook the proper training for the employees who are expected to use these new tools. Although there tends to be a shortage of skills in science, technology, education, and math, changing technology has also impacted communication and leadership.
A gap analysis provides valuable insight into the weaknesses across all departments, allowing employers to set the groundwork for future monitoring and training. In general, a gap analysis takes three steps:
- Identifying the skills that are important to the company now and into the future.
- Measuring staff and departments to ascertain skill levels based on the skills identified.
- Developing a training plan to help close the gaps identified.
If the budget allows, hiring a professional consultant to handle the analysis can be more effective. It removes any biases that might exist, allowing for a completely objective approach to the analysis. Consultants also take the pressure off managers and HR professionals who are often tasked with conducting the required evaluations.
A Continuing Education Plan
With the information collected through a gap analysis, employers can prepare a continuing education plan. Even the smallest of businesses can remain aware of the growing demands in their industry and enroll their staff in suitable seminars and conferences. There are many training options available including:
- Creating an internal training department with customized courses.
- Introducing mandatory training for existing staff and new hires.
- Seeking out training firms offering workshops, training sessions, and seminars.
- Investigating online courses and educational material.
- Developing employee mentorship programs.
- Attending industry events and conferences on a regular basis.
- Acquiring a list of suitable certifications available to introduce into your training plan.
Adapt Your Talent Search
A gap analysis will often expose gaps that cannot be filled by internal talent. So, employers will have to be willing to hire new staff to help tighten the gap. Even if new hires are not required, skills gaps are often caused by old or outdated hiring methods. Employers should review their current hiring criteria and procedures to look for ways to improve. A new approach to hiring might include:
- Candidate skills assessments with formal testing to identify specific needs.
- Newly structured interviews with set criteria that all candidates must meet.
- Improved sourcing techniques, including online resources such as LinkedIn.
- Using professional industry recruitment companies.
A gap analysis is an important first step in identifying opportunities for improvement. The year ahead will require a more robust approach to employee training to avoid the adverse effects of a widening skills gap.
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