Skill maps and skill gaps: Improved transparency for workforce talent
Without a systematic approach to tracking talent within workforces, enterprises risk wasting precious time and resources duplicating efforts and recruiting skills without taking advantage of the assets they already have on board.
Skills are becoming outdated faster than ever as technology drives unprecedented change across industries. Having a clear idea of what talent already exists on a team and what skills are missing is essential to staying competitive and relevant in every industry marketplace.
Enterprises must know the state of play in their workforces well so that they can provide employees with the appropriate training and upskilling opportunities to continuously succeed in their jobs.
Skill maps are an essential tool for organizations to better understand the skill level of employees. At the enterprise level, mapping out the skills each department has can help provide a big-picture idea of what talent exists within the company, which departments may need additional training, and why some units may be underperforming.
Maps can also be used at the worker level to create a visual representation of the key elements needed to upskill an employee: They can list the skills and knowledge needed to complete a job, information about the individual’s learning style and their professional goals. These maps can provide valuable clues on how to efficiently upskill an individual, answering questions such as:
- What kind of learning style best suits them?
- What are their professional goals?
- What barriers do they face in learning?
- How does the job function/role progress?
- When do they need to acquire additional skills?
Skill maps should also identify the lesser known or hidden talents of employees, such as hobbies that may not tie directly to their day jobs. By pre-assessing workers through training apps or modules as part of the onboarding process, a manager can identify if someone on their team has a passion for stand-up comedy, for example, and thus might be able to improve client pitches.
When businesses have clear skill maps of their workforce, they are also more positioned to identify what is missing and address it. A skill gap is the space between a worker’s abilities and those needed to complete their job.
Skill gaps exist for a variety of reasons, not just because an employee simply lacks experience or knowledge. While an employee may have possessed all the right training when they first took on a position, that role may have shifted such that it now requires additional skills to keep up. Many fields, from marketing to manufacturing, face repeated disruptions from technology or evolving business practices.
Because of these frequent changes, it’s imperative that companies test for skills gaps on an ongoing basis. They can do this through surveys and self-assessments of employees, as well as simulations and inspections of department-level skills.
Once a company has skill maps in place and a clear idea of the skill gaps that exist for individuals, the work involved in providing the right training becomes much easier.
Digital learning in particular offers a flexible and affordable way to meet the needs of a variety of workers. Learning modules can be broken up and presented in ways that make sense for the individual learner, and each employee can train on the gaps that they face. It can even facilitate self-learning modules that let workers upskill on their own when they notice a gap between what they know and what they need to know to excel at their jobs.
The result is a win-win: Employees remain at the top of their fields and enjoy greater success in their careers, and the companies they work for ensure that they have the skillsets and talent needed to stay ahead of the curve.
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