The skills gap prevents your business from growing — what to do about it

Photo by Quino Al via Unsplash

Organisations today are making massive investments in their businesses in order to see growth. The most important thing that an organisation can do to get the development in a company is to manage skills gaps the right way.

It has always been a challenge for employers to spot gaps in skills in their business and manage them accordingly. Due to new challenges and market requirements, it is important for employers to know the right strategies to employ in order to locate skills gaps and manage them accordingly.

1. Develop Your Hiring Culture

Employees are considered the backbone of any organisation and getting employees with right and top skill matters a lot for good business. So, to avoid future skill gaps and to grow your startup into an industry leader, selection of the right employees is very important.

Employees with ‘target abilities’ are needed for the growth of an organisation. For example, you might need a project manager who can work in an Agile setting, or a Governance officer to handle the board. An employer needs to build strategies that ensure the selection of right employees. Consider a hiring manifesto, to be shared with senior management, to clearly declare which people are the desired ‘fit’ for the organisation. Consider your interview process, and the opportunities you offer to encourage diversity in new hires. Consider, even, the wording of your job ads, and where they’re placed — these are all things that impact on a hiring culture.

2. Cultivate Flexibility and Adaptability — But Know When To Nudge

A manager’s selection criteria for employees should not be the same for all posts, however. Although there can be ‘core’ values that you’d wish your employees to embody, some posts may require people with specific expertise and skills — and these may be your ‘Mr. Right Nows’ instead of your eventual ‘Mr. Rights’.

For example, a person hired as a Customer Relations Officer, to provide quick and accurate solutions and management of client queries, solutions and accurate information, is one of the most crucial things for companies to generate more leads online, so it’s a role that needs to be filled early. To prevent from seeing a future skills gap, the organisation should evaluate the ability of individual employees through different angles before hiring to ensure the person is the right fit for said position.

If your early hires turn out to be a bad fit later on, it’s important to be able to anticipate and manage that — which is why 360-degree review process can be useful to ensure that an organisation and an individual are growing in the same direction, rather than away from each other.

3. Pay Attention to Skills Management

Managing skill gaps in an organisation doesn’t mean that employers should kick out all the old guard once they reach the top and start new recruiting. For one thing, it can lead to alienation of those who have helped you bootstrap the business from the group up.

New employees often take time to understand a company’s rules, requirements and culture, and sometimes find it difficult to handle challenges and access the resources available in their teams. So why not encourage your team to mentor new members to meet their challenges?

Keeping a detailed account of the abilities of your employees (education, learning ability, cultural similarity, languages,ability to work with new challenges, etc.) will also make clear which position is a good fit for a certain employee. If one team member, for example, has experience in leadership, you could work with them to set goals to fast-track them into a project manager role.

4. Set Training Goals

Most of the organisations do not prosper because they don’t provide skills learning workshops to their employees. The main reasons are:

i. Employers are afraid of spending on training and even don’t know about its utility

ii. They don’t want their employees leave the company and join more flourishing after getting advance training from them.

Learning workshops and evaluation meetings will not only help employers to manage the skill gaps, but it will also automatically build a standard according to which new recruitment will come with exact skills.

One-to-one mentoring, as discussed above, while it used to be a requisite of any workplace — or its HR department — can often go unimplemented or unconsidered in the frenetic startup environment.

Most companies now provide e-learning facilities to their employees. This practice, while cheap and easy, can fulful an organisation’s obligation towards training and development. However, for rapid progress and development of leadership abilities in employees, a combination of the above works best.

There are a lot of other strategies to overcome skills gaps in a team, but it is not always easy to get right employees with managerial, IT and other technical skills and talent for each specific kind of job post. No doubt today we have ever more talented graduates and skilled persons in the workforce — ‘full stack employees — but the importance of an employer’s management of the skills gaps in their organisations cannot be denied.