Equipping your company with the right people to get the work done is the most basic and essential function of any HR team. It’s important not only to have the right people in the right positions, but also to continually analyze whether or not your company is keeping up with the latest advances in technology and knowledge. Going a step further, your HR team needs to work with company managers to determine if and when market demands are not being met by current staff members and more knowledge or experience is needed. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle, so a skills gap analysis is necessary to get a true picture. That’s why it’s vital that your team considers how, when, and why an analysis should be conducted.
While there are many factors involved that will shape your analysis, the fact is that every organization—no matter how big or small and no matter the industry—should have a plan in place for skills gap analyses. To get started with developing and implementing a gap analysis, take a look at the three steps below.
The first step in developing an HR gap analysis is to identify what the current and future needs of the organization are. This is critical because one of the ways that companies often fall behind is by not even being aware that the rest of the world has moved forward without them. To launch your analysis, collaborate with executives and managers to determine what skills are most important in each area of the business. Create a ranked list of skills that are currently being utilized in each company domain. Additionally, ask managers to think critically about what skills are not currently in place but should be. Managers may need to do a little research and talk to their peers in the industry in order to know what skills the organization may be lacking, but identifying these key skills is vital to the success of your analysis.
Now that you have a clear picture of what skills your company needs, it’s time to see whether or not the positions you’ve established cover those needs adequately, and secondly, whether or not the people in those positions have the skills they need to do their jobs. As you complete this part of the process, be sure to keep your findings separate from those of the strategizing and prioritizing phase, so that you have a clear understanding of where you are and where you need to be. For this phase, simply gather current duties and job descriptions and catalog the skills that each employee holds.
After you know what skills are necessary for the business and what the current state of your positions and people are, it’s time to compare the two to determine the breadth and depth of your company’s skills gap. From there, you’ll need to evaluate three separate issues: what skills your workforce is lacking, which skills your employees can be trained on, and which skills need to be hired for. Develop a plan of action for both training and hiring. Remember to consider timing and cost when developing your plan. Follow up with managers and executives to ensure that there is buy-in and that the plan truly reflects what your company needs. Lastly, follow through and track your organization’s progress, and remember to reevaluate and perform subsequent analyses at least annually.
What do you find to be the most challenging thing about managing the skills gap in your company? Let us know in the comments section below.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS. Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.