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How to tackle the skills gap with measurement tools

By 24/04/2023April 25th, 2023Personal Development, Talent Management
How to tackle the skills gap with measurement tools

The upshot of the pandemic gave rise to terms such as the ‘Great Resignation’ or even ‘quiet quitting’, but there is one phenomenon which may have been overlooked by employers: the Skills Gap. In Natural HR’s latest guide, the top 10 HR stats to bring to the board, we discuss the Skills Gap and the measurement tools we can use to address it.

What is the skills gap?

The Skills Gap refers to the disparity between the skills expected by the employer and the capabilities an employee has. In the current climate, the Skills Gap is at an all-time high:

  • Cost-cutting in recruitment means businesses have less access to skilled staff
  • Inaccurate or misleading job descriptions are causing unsuitable candidates to apply
  • Pandemic-induced cuts have led remaining employees to take on tasks outside of their skillset
  • A global skills shortage for in-demand areas such as software development is putting more pressure on companies

How can we address the skills gap?

Rather than relying on recruitment alone, employers should look to invest in learning and development in-house. Not only will this improve your value offering as a company; it will also motivate staff and increase retention.

A further benefit to this is a reduction in costs. The average cost for recruiting a new staff member comes to more than £6,000, according to the Chartered Institute for Personal Development. For senior roles such as managers, this can be as much as £19,000.

What’s more, staff who feel that employers have a keen interest in their learning and development are happier. A study by Udemy revealed that eight in 10 employees would feel more engaged with learning and development opportunities. Better still, engaged employees are 22% more productive overall – so it all adds up.

Measurement tools to tackle the skills gap

While the numbers speak for themselves, there is more we can do to track the impacts of learning and development. Measuring skills and competencies coverage will identify weaknesses in both individuals and the company as a whole.

At Natural HR, we recommend a scoring matrix within HR software. This involves mapping the skills required for each role and measuring how individual staff members rank against them.

As an example, we might create a spider diagram with ratings from 1 to 5. An employee would be scored for their:

  • Organisation
  • Accountability
  • IT literacy
  • Business acumen
  • Data management
  • Flexibility

We would plot their score out of 5 against the core competencies required. At scale, we can then plug all employees’ scores into one dataset and identify where the company is lacking on the whole. This is especially pertinent for ‘soft skills’ such as organisation, which may be required across the whole business, as opposed to department-only competencies.

The outcomes of measuring skills and competencies

With this data in hand comes a huge range of opportunities. Not only can we tackle the crisis that is the Skills Gap; we can invest in long-term pursuits such as better employee engagement. This may also impact other business decisions such as potential job roles we have yet to fill.

Likewise, it may lead us to pursue training programmes which would benefit the whole workforce. Investing in employees’ skills should not be a reactive crisis management procedure. It should be a long-term mission for the wellbeing of staff and the resilience of the company.

Find out more in Natural HR’s latest report

Featuring key insights from Natural HR COO Sarah Dowzell and Claire Watt FCIPD, our latest report examines the stats you should be taking to the boardroom. Put your employees front and centre with these actionable steps and strategies for 2023 and beyond.