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You can fix internal skills gaps — but you have to find them first

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From customer complaints to repeated injuries, the difference between a well-trained employee and one who isn’t can cost your business dearly. Bridging these training gaps is critical to employee and employer success, and identifying them correctly is the first step.

Are tools or equipment at fault? Are processes the problem? Are new products or platforms being used incorrectly? When learning professionals identify whether and where knowledge is lacking, they can not only fill any gaps but also help employees understand how and why training works. And when training works, employees seek it out — good news for both upskilling and engagement.

Talent wants training

Top talent is looking for training to advance their careers. If you don’t provide it, your competition will. “Our latest research found 65% of all employees expect to receive career guidance from their managers and other leaders,” says Stacey Force, vice president of ManpowerGroup Global Marketing.

For many companies, training and upskilling existing employees is a better option than trying to hire externally. Manpower’s 2016-2017 Talent Shortage Survey found that 53% of businesses surveyed employ this practice. Current staff may not have the particular skills required for an opening, but they understand the company’s culture and practices. There, the training path is easily identified. However, gaps aren’t always that clear-cut.

Assessing performance gaps

A performance gap analysis that identifies where knowledge and skills are lacking can be an important part of your larger learning initiatives. Gather as much data as possible, the experts say. Consider employee surveys, customer complaints, and return or refund data. From here, you may be able to identify whether it’s a team issue, or an individual or a category of employees who aren’t performing at their best.

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