How to complete a skills gap analysis

Published by:
Joe Caccavale
April 22, 2021
4
 min read

Whether you’re a team leader, manager or director - we’re sure you know how important it is to invest in people. This means not only getting the right people through the door but nurturing your current employees’ potential. After all, your team should be growing and developing alongside your business.

When was the last time you took stock of what your team’s strengths and weaknesses are? As industries, markets and demographics change, people need to expand on their skills and knowledge. Therefore, by identifying skills gaps across your team, you can increase productivity and adaptability whilst also helping make your team as a whole more valuable. 

What is a skills gap analysis?

A skills gap analysis is an assessment of what specific areas are lacking in terms of support and development. For instance, while members of your team may be subject matter experts, their project management skills could need improving.

A skills gap analysis is a tool that can be used across all levels and departments within an organisation. For example, it can help you create a training programme for new junior staff or assess leadership abilities in your board of executives. A skills gap analysis can be a company-wide initiative or be used to assess a single candidate’s suitability for promotion.

Tips for conducting a skills gap analysis

While, generally speaking, it is good practice to conduct regular skills analyses, they don’t come without their challenges. For example, how do you decide which skills to look out for? After all, every person will offer a unique combination of hard and soft skills. These tips will help you get started:

Define what skills matter most to your organisation

Start from the beginning - what is your overall objective as an organisation? Are you looking to increase revenue, grow your market share or be more innovative than your competitors? While these may overlap, one of them should be your main measure of success.

Focusing on a single overall goal will help you narrow down exactly what skills are required for your organisation to succeed. For instance, increasing revenue often requires hard sales abilities, but if you’re looking to ‘disrupt’ your industry then you’ll want to prioritise creative thinking. Once you’ve settled on what skills to look out for, you should put them in order of importance and assign each skill a numerical value. Quantifying your chosen skills will create a clear benchmark for overall performance, and this will help your ongoing analysis.

Try to understand the impact of skills gaps

Collectively, skills gaps can have a drastic impact on a business’s bottom line. This includes not only ‘hard costs’ such as recruitment or hiring temporary staff, but also the long-term effects of decreased productivity, staff turnover and losing business opportunities to competitors. Smaller businesses tend to bear the brunt of collective skills gaps, with a 2020 study finding that skill shortages cost SMEs an average of £145,000 per year.

Therefore, to help you prioritise certain skills over others, you should try to determine the long-term effects of continued skills gaps. This will help you create a strong business case for any training or development you decide to initiate as a result of your skills gap analysis.

Use multiple methods for a well-rounded analysis

While a skills gap analysis will help you identify areas of improvement, it will also show what your team’s strengths are. This will help you build on them further, so your team becomes even more valuable, whilst also allowing you to hone in on gaps in skills and knowledge.

There are many simple yet effective methods to help you find out what skills your employees already possess. These range from employee and team surveys, to feedback from performance reviews, tests and assessments. By using a combination of methods, you can have greater faith in the accuracy of your results.

Focusing on strengths will also ensure that you are sending the right message to your team. Your skills gap analysis shouldn’t be a rod to beat your team with. Instead, it should aid you in your efforts to make great people even better at what they do.

Filling the skills gap with blind hiring

Once you’ve successfully spotted any missing or underdeveloped skills, you can create a project or process for addressing skills gaps. This can include setting up a mentoring program or investing in extra training. However, it may be that you need to step up your talent acquisition efforts to ensure that your organisation continues to grow in a competitive marketplace.

That’s where Applied comes in. 

With our anonymous recruitment platform, you can make fair hiring decisions based on the skills you deem to be most valuable. Our software uses blind hiring - randomising and anonymising applications - giving you peace of mind that the person you hire will have all the right skills for the job. 

Want to learn more about our hiring software? Request a demo of the Applied platform today.