Your company has big plans and goals — but does your staff have the experience, capability and know-how to get there? That's where a job skills gap analysis comes in handy. It not only gives you the answer, but also provides valuable insights into your workforce's strengths and weaknesses.

Here is a quick run-down of how to use a skills gap analysis to help employees be more productive and fulfilled in their work by uncovering training, development, and hiring opportunities to help your organization become more efficient and competitive.

What is a skills gap analysis?
Organizations conduct a skills gap analysis to determine the difference, or gap, between the skills employees need to perform their work well, and the actual skill sets they possess. This process is sometimes called a staffing plan gap analysis, because it identifies the skills that are lacking among employees, which can then be addressed either by training or hiring additional staff.

How do you do a skills gap analysis?

Organizations have different methods for carrying out a skills gap analysis, but the process can be divided into four basic steps. 

1. Plan company goals

First, be clear about the reasons for conducting the analysis. Is your organization implementing new technologies or a shift in strategy that requires new skills? Is it having trouble meeting business objectives? Knowing your purpose for doing the assessment will help you determine and prioritize the skills you’re looking for. Which leads to step two.

2. Identify skills needed 

Determine the skills you need to meet your objectives by considering individual job descriptions. Take into account both the skills your employees need to do their jobs now, as well as in the future. To simplify this process, you may want to group similar job roles together to identify the strengths you’d like entire teams or departments to possess. Or you might survey team members on the skills they think are missing. 

3. Assess current skills

Use performance reviews, surveys, interviews or even skills assessment software to measure the skill sets of your employees. To help you qualify as well as quantify their capabilities, you may want to rate skill levels on a scale of one to five, with one meaning an employee has little to no knowledge of the required skill, and five being complete proficiency.  

4. Acquire needed skills

You’ve gathered all the data, now it’s time to act on it. At this point, you have two options. You can train, up-skill and/or re-skill current employees to equip them with the capabilities your organization needs, or you can hire to bring new skills and knowledge into your company. 

How you can use a skills gap analysis to benefit your organization 

A good skills gap analysis goes a long way in uncovering opportunities in your organization to improve overall performance and productivity. Knowing which skills you need to grow as a company will help you attract, develop and retain the staff you need to succeed in your objectives. 

1. Understand staff strengths and weaknesses

Performing a skills gap analysis will help you identify the employees with the capabilities your organization needs, as well as those who may require more knowledge. With this information, you can allocate your resources in training and personnel where they are most effective.

2. Increase workforce education programs

Skills gap analyses can be just as important to employees as employers when it affords them the opportunity to develop and improve. If they feel they are lacking a certain skill or knowledge base required to perform their jobs well, they can seek out certification programs that help them advance, or intensive training such as instructor-led bootcamps to quickly get them up to speed with current job skills.

3. Improve HR

When human resources have a clear understanding of the skills needed for different roles, they can write more accurate job descriptions, identify better-qualified candidates, and recruit the right number of people with the right skill sets in the right places where their abilities are needed. 
4. Enhance competitiveness and productivity
This almost goes without saying. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your workforce—and how best to deploy and develop them—is the key to optimizing the performance of any organization, making it more efficient, productive and capable of achieving its goals. 

Partner with ASU CareerCatalyst to close skills gaps in your company

Specializing in workforce development solutions through ASU Career Catalyst, Arizona State University will often partner with employers to upskill, reskill, and educate employees to meet the skills demands of today and the future. ASU offers a wide variety of available courses that empower individuals and organizations to reach their business and professional goals.

As a top-tier university for innovation, ASU applies its unparalleled core of knowledge to partner with organizations and learners in critical areas ranging from foundational professional skills, to immersive leadership experiences, to advanced technical education in emerging fields. Through CareerCatalyst, ASU develops world-class continuing education solutions that align with business priorities and strategies and empower all learners to thrive in the future of work at every stage of their careers. Connect with CareerCatalyst to learn how your organization can close skills gaps and help employees become more accomplished, productive, engaged and proficient in their work.