5 Ways to Fill the Skills Gap in Your Organization

November 14, 2019 at 8:00 am
Group of colleagues sitting around a conference table.

Companies need to train workers if they want to close the skills gap.

The skills gap is real; 40 percent of employers say they can’t find workers they need, and 60 percent say college graduates are unprepared for the workforce. However, there are ways for organizations to work toward filling their skills gaps by making small changes that can yield big results.

Here are some of the best ways to fill skills gaps in your organization.

1. Plan for upskilling.

Change is a constant in every organization, but too many organizations have underfunded their training programs even while they struggle to find qualified talent for open positions. While there may be limitations to how much money organizations can spend on training, just having a plan in place will be more effective than ignoring training needs, even if the money spent doesn’t change much.

2. Hire for potential.

High-potential candidates can learn new skills faster and even teach themselves what they need to know without a lot of employer-directed training, making them valuable hires when you’re trying to close a skills gap. In many cases, new hires that show potential even end up outperforming lower-potential hires with more skills at the time of hire. A skill set that includes adaptability and analytical skills is crucial not only for jobs now but for jobs as they will be in the years to come.

3. Update technology.

It may seem counterintuitive to make more changes when your employees aren’t even caught up on the ones you’ve already made, but keeping up with the latest technological advances can actually help with your upskilling efforts in some cases. If you choose your updates carefully, they may be more user-friendly for your employees or come with technical support that can help train employees in their use. Updated technology could also streamline costs for some organizations and free up funding for training efforts.

Group of colleagues cheering.

Upskilling is one way to deal with constant workplace change.

4. Look at data.

Whether planning to upskill workers or upgrade technology, looking at pertinent data on your employees can help you make decisions by giving you a clear picture of your employees’ current skills and needs. Data also helps with personalized training, which enables you to match training for each employee to the skills he or she actually needs. This helps you keep training costs down. Employee assessments can be used to identify and help close skills gaps by providing needed data that helps you target your efforts more effectively.

5. Change the culture.

An organizational culture that truly values continuing education and learning will attract talent with similar values and make it easier for upskilling and training to happen. These changes could include adjusting requirements on continuing education, offering more educational reimbursement benefits, and giving paid time off to take courses that improve job-related skills. Be sure to be intentional about changes and include goals in your planning for the best results.

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