Identifying your skills gaps

The third in a series of articles on retaining your employees to grow their careers within your organisation.

We’ve already made a compelling case for focusing on internal mobility. And it’s widely accepted that up-skilling and reskilling will enable you to do it successfully. But how can you effectively identify your workforce’s current skills and your company’s future skills requirements? 

For many businesses, moving people through the organisation at a greater pace than before means increasing investment in development resources. But where are the best places to invest your budget and your efforts? Some important questions will be: 

  • Where are your skills gaps now? 
  • What skills will your business need in the future? 
  • How do you know that you don’t have people with transferable skills in other parts of the business?

For example, you’re set to expand your digital team next year. You’ve done your external benchmarking so you know it’s a hugely competitive talent market. How do you know that a digital product owner of the future isn’t sitting in your call centre solving customer problems? 

Employee aspirations to fuel L&D planning

The CIPD Resourcing and Talent Planning survey 2021 says that two thirds of organisations don’t collect data to identify skills gaps. A common barrier to this is the absence of a central mechanism for measuring people’s skills and ability. 

Career development planning is often part of an annual personal development review, where the individual commits to seeking out opportunities to grow their skills – and it’s all recorded on their personal HR file. 

Meanwhile, L&D teams work tirelessly to offer a range of courses and learning resources, but most companies are missing a massive trick. If the learning isn’t synced with personal development records, how can they know where to focus training budgets? Or to identify other ways to improve skills, such as mentoring programmes or peer to peer networks? 

And when it comes to promoting internal mobility, if skills and competencies aren’t logged centrally, how can you spot and pipeline potential talent for future roles?

The solution for bridging the skills gap

The solution: enabling employees to assess their skills right now and compare them to the skills they need to achieve their career goals. All done on a central system that provides the resources to help them develop the skills they need.    

Having this system accessible to managers, L&D and internal recruiters allows everyone to understand the skills within the business, where there needs to be more investment and where the next internal hire might be hiding.

It would create a rich source of data that you can analyse to identify the learning and development resources you need. It also allows you to see which skills are underperforming and where you have huge strengths in your people. 

At Electric Circus, we’ve created digital technology that enables companies to capture and analyse their people’s skills – giving them valuable insights that can reduce recruitment and training costs, and focus learning and development spend exactly where it needs to be. 

Creating development resources shouldn’t be all the L&D team’s responsibility though. What resources do you have in your own people to improve others’ skills? Do you have departments that have strong people in different skills? How did they get so good? What resources can they share?  

Your employees are a valuable source of learning for others in the business and should complement more formal training resources. This can take the form of skills sessions, mentoring, podcasts or sharing advice. It also promotes a culture of internal mobility and demonstrates how your people can benefit from it too. 

Making development equal for all

For true inclusivity, learning pathways and training opportunities should be available to ALL employees. They’re not just for those rolling off the graduate programmes or the ‘high potential’ superstars tipped for future exec jobs.  

It’s an outdated view that only those tipped for great things should benefit from all the investment in their development. Consider how they were originally earmarked. Did it come from a place of privilege to begin with?

Companies with volume workforces such as call centres or distribution centres will have people hidden away in entry roles who have degrees, or life stories that fuel their motivation, drive their ambition and make them hungry to learn and develop. Just give them a chance.  

This is why giving all employees the opportunity to assess and develop themselves in the same way as everyone else is important in levelling the playing field. 

 

Next week: How skills self-assessment can be the catalyst for internal mobility.