HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks

Encyclopedia

Skills Gap Analysis
Are you trying to implement new ideas in your organization and not succeeding? Do you notice that specific initiatives fall flat no matter how hard you try? It’s time for a skills gap analysis! Read on to see how this can fill the gaps in your company and set your organization up for success.

What Is a Skills Gap Analysis?

A skills gap analysis is a little bit of detective work with a touch of doctor thrown in the mix. In a skills gap analysis, you play detective like any good HR professional to evaluate the missing skills in your organization. Perhaps managers aren’t able to push company initiatives through, and you see it boils down to lack of leadership abilities. That’s a skills gap that your organization should work to fill. Once you’ve found a gap, you add a touch of doctor to treat the issue head on. If the problem is a lack of leadership skills, you could invest in leadership training and start developing managers from the top down. Taking the time to evaluate any gaps in employee skills that keep them from being successful in your organization will help you see what changes should be made. 58% of companies say closing skill gaps has become a priority since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and 69% are actively skill-building more
58% of companies say closing skill gaps has become a priority since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and 69% are actively skill-building more
Learning and Development Statistics

Why Is a Skills Gap Analysis Beneficial to HR?

Now that you understand what a skills gap analysis is, let’s look at why it is so beneficial for HR.
  • Change management. The only constant is change, and an effective skills gap analysis can set your organization up for changes appropriately. You’re providing your employees with skills to handle changes as they come and ensuring that organizational challenges do not hinder their success.
  • Individual development. Most employees thrive from continual learning and development in their role. We all want to feel that our organization values us as team members and individuals. Putting time and effort into developing the skills of your employees shows them their value and gives them that extra boost.
  • Strategic planning. As you evaluate the continual success of your organization, you’ll map out who is integral to that success as you move forward. A skills gap analysis can help ensure you retain the right people with the right skills and thoroughly develop those with gaps in the skills they need to succeed.

How to Conduct a Skills Gap Analysis

Conducting a skills gap analysis can be broken down into a few easy steps. Take them one by one and repeat as necessary for departments and industries alike.

Step 1: Consider the Business Goals and Objectives

Whether it’s just you or an entire HR team performing the analysis, the first step is to consider the business goals and objectives. You can do this by looping in senior leadership or executives and picking their brains about the future of the organization. Consider asking questions like, “Where do you want us to be in five years,” “Where do you think we will be in five years,” and “Where do we need to be in five years?” Get a clear picture of the organization’s direction and how you can support them along the way.

Step 2: Analyze the Team

Once the first step is complete, it’s time to start your analysis. You can utilize surveys and self assessments, look through exit interview notes and performance evaluations, or go straight to interviews with staff and managers. Look for the gaps and ask questions like, “What makes you successful in your role, and what do you feel you are missing that would make you succeed?” Employees should feel empowered that you’re coming to them to set them up for success, not pointing out problems. Professionally articulate that the information will be kept confidential in HR and that you’re conducting the skills gap analysis to help them succeed as an effective contributing member of your organization.

Step 3: Create and Implement Your Plan

Once you’ve conducted your interviews or reviewed the information for your skills gap analysis, it’s time to create and implement your plan. This plan will depend on your organization and their process, but be sure your plan clearly presents the skills that are lacking and your plan to fill the gap. If employees are struggling with remote work and aren’t sure how to effectively communicate to stay connected, part of your plan could be ramping up internal messaging efforts and company-wide events to keep the team more united. Ensure your plan is feasible for your organization and is presented or compiled in a way that meets company standards. You don’t want your plan to get hung up on a technicality in your presentation.

Step 4: Track and Store Data

Once you’ve completed your skills gap analysis, keep a record for future analyses. It would be beneficial to create a standard operating procedure document to refer back to when you conduct future skills gap analyses. Ensure you track the data from this analysis for future review. It will be beneficial to pinpoint what worked to push your organization towards success. Knowing that the skills gap analysis went hand in hand with growth and continued development is just what you’re after here.

Tools and Techniques for Conducting a Skills Gap Analysis

There are a number of ways to go about conducting the analysis, as discussed above. Let’s dive into the specifics of both manual and automated processes so you can evaluate which is right for your organization. Remember, you don’t have to pick just one method. You can do a combination of a few, and there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to which method or methods to use to conduct your skills gap analysis.

Surveys

Perhaps one of the easiest and quickest ways to conduct your skills gap analysis is a company survey. You can utilize internal survey capability if you have it, or outsource to an external site like SurveyMonkey. Either way, the process is pretty automated from there. Be sure your questions are strategic and the survey doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes to complete for maximum participation. The questions in the surveys can be the same as in all other techniques, but remember you won’t be able to follow up. You can focus on yes/no questions like: “Do you feel you have the necessary skills in your role to succeed?” or “Do you feel that professional development is up to your standards at our organization?” After the yes/no, include some “Why or why not” fill-in-the-blanks to round out the survey.

Employee Interviews

Interviewing employees will take the most time, but it can be the most effective way to find a gap in organizational skills. Going right to the source can set you up for success. Arm your managers with the appropriate questions to ask and bring back to you, or conduct the interviews yourself. You can do them as one-on-one meetings, with a group, or create employee focus groups to locate the skills gaps. Employees generally enjoy providing the organization with ways to improve, so remember that the hardest part of an interview might be to keep employees on task.

Performance Evaluations

A great way to evaluate the skills gap in your organization is to review performance evaluations. If managers are seeing gaps in skills from some employees, they should be noted on performance evaluations. This is a great way to decide which department to start with. Performance evaluations may show you that you’re really struggling with communication skills in your customer service department, so perhaps that’s where to focus your efforts first. It may seem silly to muddle through performance evaluations, but don’t discount the value and easy starting point this may give your analysis.

Exit Interviews

People are the most honest when they have nothing to lose, so when your employees are on their way out, most won’t mind what they say or how they say it. So while exit interviews can be painful to review, they can be insightful for gaps in your organization. These can also direct you to where to start your analysis

Best Practices for a Skills Gap Analysis

There are some best practices that will set up your skills gap analysis for success. Let’s review them below.

Involve Employees and Stakeholders in the Process

You may be directing your skills gap analysis toward employees and avoiding manager level and above, but best practice proves another route is more effective. When you involve your entire organization from the top down, you’ll be surprised at what you find. This doesn’t mean you need to be interviewing stakeholders for gaps in their skills, but interview them to ask what gaps they see and utilize this information to your advantage. When you have buy-in from managers, the board and executives and stakeholders, you’re more likely to find your analysis going smoothly.

Communicate Results and Implement Action Plans

Open communication is always the best policy, especially in a skills gap analysis. You’re engaging your entire workforce in an initiative that they should see some return value on, so be sure that’s communicated. Let the team know that you were able to find a gap in a few skills and therefore implement a few ideas to improve as an organization. This will not only solidify that your skills gap analysis has worked, but will show your employees they can help in the future because they see a return on their investment.

Identify Future Needs

A skills gap analysis may bring up issues you’re not able to address at the moment. Perhaps you see a major gap in emotional intelligence as a team with middle-level managers; that’s going to take some time to develop, so be sure to consider future needs as well. See if there is anything from the skills gap that would hinder you from achieving long-term goals. Set up some ideas on how to bridge those gaps to achieve the needs of your organization for the future.
Topics
Shalie Reich

Shalie Reich

Shalie has over 4 years of experience working in a variety of HR positions and organizations including: working as an HR department "of one", working with a start-up based in Europe, to working in a fully established robust USA based HR department. Shalie has experience in multiple states and countries with all aspects of the HR spectrum. She has a passion to share her knowledge and experience to benefit the HR profession!
View author page
Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Adult Learning Principles
Career Coach
Career Pathing
Cross Training
E-Learning
Employee Development
Employee Empowerment
Employee Leadership Development
Group Training
Individual Development Plan
Job Shadowing
Learning & Development Statistics
Lunch and Learns
Manager Training
Mentoring
Networking
Reskilling
Rotational Program
Skills Inventory
Soft Skills
Stretch Assignment
Time Management Training
Training Needs Analysis/Assessment
Upskilling
Virtual Team Building
Eddy's HR Newsletter
Sign up for our email newsletter for helpful HR advice and ideas.
HR Mavericks
Simple and accurate payroll from Eddy
Pay your U.S.-based employees on time, every time.