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How do you bridge a skill gap in companies? (Part 2)

When a skill gap is found in a company, what are the solutions available to a business leader and its employees to fill it?  Here are the key steps to plan ahead and eventually fill the skill gap in a company if needed.



Conduct a strategic audit


The first step to closing the skill gap is to have a clear picture by analyzing your organization and processes.


Identify low value-added tasks


Conducting an audit of the activities of a company sometimes allows to review the organization of work in the structure. Indeed, it is not uncommon for an activity audit to reveal a poor distribution of activities where a skills deficit was initially suspected. For example, highly skilled employees may perform tasks that could be assigned to less skilled colleagues. A redistribution of tasks to people with the appropriate skills can solve some problems and finally show that there was no skill gap.


Audit corporate training


Corporate training plays a central role in the acquisition of skills necessary for employees to perform their activity within the structure. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the training offer is consistent with the technological developments related to the company’s activity, as well as with the expectations and needs of employees. It is important to question the relevance of the Learning & Development contents and the effectiveness with which they are delivered.


Optimize the recruiting process


Hiring the right candidates means ensuring that the company has the skills necessary for its activity, and therefore for its sustainability. A skills deficit can thus be due to a fallible recruitment process. It is therefore wise to ensure that the recruitment process does not contain any gaps. One way to avoid this is to hire not only on the basis of a degree, but also on the basis of potential. A candidate who, for example, shows an aptitude for learning easily is a candidate with a strong potential to learn new things. He or she is therefore able to evolve and acquire new skills when changes require it.


Related: How to diagnose a skill gap in a company? (Part 1)



Redesign workflow and automating tasks


What if a redesign of the way work is done in the organization allowed the company to focus on the most important tasks? That’s what redefining workflow is all about. From then on, task automation is a tool at its service.


Task automation for better work distribution


Qualified and competent employees who perform repetitive, time-consuming, and low value-added tasks, have a lot of skills and expertise that are not used to their full potential. Tedious tasks (expense management, file sorting, etc.) that prevent employees from devoting themselves to high value-added tasks requiring their expertise, should be automated.


The benefits of task automation


Task automation frees employees from repetitive and simple tasks. Machines and algorithms can perform these tasks for them, allowing employees to focus on their core business. They can then devote themselves to tasks requiring all their knowledge and know-how, with higher added value.


Related: Reskilling: a strategic priority in the face of task automation



Focus on employee training


Training is an essential lever to activate when a skill gap is discovered. What are the steps to follow and the methods to apply?


Highlighting the skills to be strengthened or developed


In order to propose training courses that will close the skill gap, the skills to be acquired must be identified. These are skills that are necessary for the company’s activities to achieve its goals, and which existing employees would likely not meet the requirements of their position.


The identification of skills can be achieved through interviews with the employee(s) concerned by a skills gap, but also with their manager. An observation phase can be extremely helpful, as it allows an external view of each position. Once the skills to be reinforced or acquired have been identified, it is possible to determine whether they can be found internally or not.


→ Training employees


Upskilling or reskilling is when an employee within the company can acquire the skill(s) to be developed through training. Upskilling refers to an increase in skills within the same position. Reskilling, on the other hand, consists of training employees who do not have the necessary skills for the position.


Adaptive learning and its personalized training courses are tools that can be particularly appropriate. This tailor-made learning allows employees to get quickly up to speed.


Related: Skills repository: a must for setting up your own adaptive learning



Outsource or recruit


Outsourcing tasks and recruiting new talent can also be activated when a skill gap appears in the company.


Bringing in new talent


If it is not possible to find the skills needed in-house, calling on new talent(s) with the targeted skills is a sustainable solution. In this case, it’s important to recruit carefully, such as through competency-based recruitment.


Outsourcing: an alternative solution


If the company has an urgent need, which requires a specific skill not held internally, it is possible to outsource the task. Outsourcing is usually a short-term solution, but one that allows an urgent need to be met while waiting to recruit or train employees to meet it in the future.


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Illustration credits: https://www.istockphoto.com/fr/portfolio/claudenakagawa