Identifying skill gaps in your business plays a huge role in your ability to hire confidently. By combining your hiring goals (i.e. where you want to go – see our previous blog here) with your skill gaps (i.e. what you’ve got now), you’re left with the difference: the talent you need to get you there.
Then you can go and hire the talent to fill those gaps. Simples, right? Here’s how to get started:
Where are you heading? 🧭
Look at the direction your business is heading and consider the skills you’ll need to get there. Consider this from a technical and human perspective; are you about to move into international markets and need someone with knowledge of a certain language, market or geography? Perhaps your business is lacking the necessary leadership to galvanise and develop the team in a particular area?
Where are you now? 📍
Look at the skills and experience of your current employees and identify areas where there may be a lack of expertise vs. the levels necessary to move your business forward. As above, this assessment should cover both measurable competence (e.g. technical knowledge/skill) and ‘human’ skills such as leadership and influence. This way, you can ascertain what the knowledge gaps are, not just where the empty seats are.
Speak to your team 💬
To support a skills assessment, consider asking your team to complete a short survey to self-assess their skills and identify any areas where they may need additional training or development. Self-assessment not only empowers your team to be honest about where they feel they’re at, but will also help highlight opportunities for upskilling and internal mobility, avoiding the need to hire altogether.
Don’t ignore the bigger picture 🖼
Take the time to view performance at a team level – not just individuals – to help highlight skill gaps. Performance metrics such as lead generation, sales, customer satisfaction, and employee retention will all offer clues as to where one function might be slowing your business down. At that point, you can hone in on where individual gaps in a team exist, i.e. technical or human shortfalls.
Speak to your customers 🤝
Similarly, customers and partners can be a valuable source of feedback. Ask them about their experience working with your team. This can help you identify areas where your team may be lacking knowledge of experience and where you could see the biggest impact with new hire(s).
By working through the points above, you should come out the other side with a clear picture of where you’re going, what skills are missing and why they’re important.
It’s just as important to know how to get the talent you need, as it is to know what the talent looks like! Speaking with your existing team and customers will provide the added insight as to how you can fill those skill gaps – is a new hire required? Can an existing employee be trained or redeployed?
Now you’re ready to get it all down on paper – away you go!