Firstly, if you haven’t already read my posts linked below then do so now.
‘Identify trends and developments that influence the need for professional development’ and ‘Evaluate your own current and future personal and professional development needs relating to the role , the team and the organisation.’
Conducting a skills gap analysis on current skills, knowledge and experience is fairly straight forward as you can use job descriptions, appraisals on performance and your current development plan (if you have one) although I will explain development plans in my next post. I want to show you here however, how to use a template as this will document your findings and be a useful point of reference for monitoring progress in the future. For ‘future’ likely skills you will read later in the post about using skills gaps for promotions and redeployment but they can also be used to look at role progression such as known up and coming changes affecting a role.
You can complete an analysis on yourself or you could be doing this for a member of your team as you prepare for an appraisal meeting but if it’s the latter then its useful to ask your team to complete one too so you can compare. This should be a positive exercise to look for areas that need developing.
The template I’m using can be downloaded below. It is however just a template, you need to consider what skills, knowledge and experience is actually needed otherwise the exercise is irrelevant. Whats the point in evaluating a skill that has nothing to do with the role! The point of the template is to make it your own and this is useful because different roles need different skills. If you are a manager then you would need to adapt the skills gap analysis for all the different roles that report to you. You wouldn’t use the same template of skills to analyse a role in bookkeeping that you used for customer relations. The 2 would have differences in requirements. You’ll see the template has been completed to give you an example of what to do so you can delete and amend to suit.
Lets look a little more at a Managers point of view and why a Skills Gap Analysis is useful.
Consider your targets and KPIs and maybe youre just not hitting them. One mistake many Managers make is that they don’t want to point the finger to single someone out and so take a view that the team as a whole isn’t working and they are failing as a Manager. This is not a good approach. You have to know your team and realise that identifying weak spots is a positive thing. It means you can seek them out and ‘help’ those that need it to succeed. That’s a good thing! Providing you keep that positive attitude of ‘Hey, I can help you progress and do really well’ then you’ll have an eager team who want to learn. Engage your team in the same way and they will support each other rather than moan on a tea break. This isn’t about creating a culture of no blame, its about being really supportive of each other and wanting to do well as a team.
There will be a later post on how to encourage learning and development and I’ll go into a lot more detail on this there. Ill also update this post so it links.
Back to performance. You can use a skills gap analysis to identify all of your teams needs individually and as a team. Now theres another point to take into consideration here. If you manage a team that all do the same role say a team of Sales Advisors then your skills gap analysis is going to be the same for each one meaning you can create a team analysis.
But if you have various roles reporting to you then different roles need different skills. Say you are Manager of Customer Services and you have a Sales Team, a Customer Complaints Assistant and a Marketing Officer. Just as an example here you would have 3 different roles with varied different skills and knowledge requirements.
There will always be some skills that are fairly generic across an organisation, usually soft skills that involve communication but when you are dealing with different roles its best to keep them separate. You will find templates that merge different roles by looking at soft skills and technical skills but you can lose sight of the importance of different skill sets. If you look at generic soft skills and rate someone in sales as having excellent verbal communication skills and someone in Marketing as poor well this isn’t quite fair. For Marketing most of the work can be done in the background and may never need to even speak to a customer but their written communication could be strong.
Place the skills against the role and consider ‘importance’ of that skill.
Training and development
Your Skills Gap Analysis will allow you to assess the basis of your teams development plans when you undertake appraisals. Being prepared is important and although you may think you ‘know’ your team well and already have all the information in your head, it is good practice to be able to justify your findings during an appraisal. You can either go in to the one to one meeting saying ‘ I think ‘ or ‘ I feel ‘ these are areas to develop on OR you can go in with a thorough analysis that gives your discussion more meaning. You must justify your decisions. If someone made a mistake once and that is stuck in memory, it is likely to taint a discussion. If a thorough analysis has been undertaken then as a Manager you can feel confident you are giving an unbiased overall performance review.
Budget wise, as this sets the scene for development needs you will be able to give your Seniors a heads up on what development actions might be needed in terms of potential costs and time. This is important because if you leave it till the point of meeting with a team member to agree on training needs and THEN find out you don’t have the budget or authority for it you will be left with a disappointed team. If you have done your homework first and have an idea of what might be needed for your team, you can at least know what you can offer in terms of development actions.
Job Matching and delegation
As a Manager when considering promotions or redeployment Its useful to be able to look at the skill requirements of a new or different role and match team skills. If you prepare your template to fit the new role you can then transfer skills across from team members skills gaps templates and see who fits and where, if any the new gaps will be. This means you are prepared to discuss training needs with your employee.
You can imagine this is also a useful exercise across different roles in your team so that in the event of someone suddenly leaving or being on sick, holiday, maternity… you are already prepared for delegation of tasks to the right team member with the right skill set. If you find during this exercise you are going to be left short on areas of importance than you can be proactive in making sure your team develop adaptable skills and cover the tasks needed.
Learners, if you are undertaking a Level 3 or 4 Diploma in Management, this post helps guide you through the following criteria:
2.3 Identify current and future likely skills, knowledge and experience needs using skills gap analysis