As our world advances, it becomes increasingly difficult for employers to fill necessary skill gaps in their dynamic workforces. In fact, a phone interview of 500 top executives found that 92% believe there is a skill gap in the US workforce today. Another scary statistic is that 44% of executives believe that the gap is in soft skills such as communication, creativity, and cooperation… not exactly rocket science. These numbers should serve as a warning to executives that training and education is vital to a well rounded workplace skills palette.

Identifying the Gap:

Have you been noticing diminishing returns on typical company operations? Did one of your best and brightest employees recently decide to take a job offer at another company? Skill gaps manifest themselves in various ways, and identifying where the gap came from is key to solving it effectively. Firstly, decide whether your gap is due to the lack of a brand new skill needed for success, or due to the absence of a skill that was once filled. A great way to investigate your company’s current skill set is to ask each employee to take a short strengths finder test. The system is efficient, targeted, and you will be presented with all of the results in a manner that can be easily understood. Once you have a specific idea of what you have, it will be easier to decide what you need. Develop a list of two or three specific traits you would like to add to the company’s set and hire or train accordingly.

Addressing the Gap:

Workplace Skill GapsThe most important rule to remember in addressing a skill gap is that training current employees can be just as effective, and even less expensive, than hiring externally every time you notice a desired trait is missing. KPMG has installed an efficient system of predicting what skills the company will require in the future. In fact, they emphasize the importance in allowing employees to learn from fellow employees, and training potential leaders for positions in advance. For instance, if there is an employee that seems like a good candidate for a manager’s position in the future, the company should begin training them in managerial skills before they are even being officially considered for the position.

Unfortunately, sometimes a skill normally present in the company becomes strangely absent. If this is because of a key employee leaving the company, it is time to invest in recruiting top talent to fill the gap. Hiring an elite recruiting firm like Search Solution Group guarantees a targeted pool of candidates without the headache of finding them. On the other hand, if the gap is due to a lack of effort from current employees, it is time to decide whether to increase internal training, or let go of uninspired workers. The harsh reality is that in order to move forward as a successful business, every single employee must have a specific purpose; anyone without one is merely wasting space and capital.

Skill gaps are normal realities of any company’s lifetime. Set yourself up for success by identifying skills you would like more coverage on, and developing innovative methods of training. Do your part as an executive to keep employees excited, but also be ready to make tough decisions when someone isn’t meeting you halfway. The statistics certainly argue that there is a concerning skill gap in the US workforce; stay ahead of the issue by tightening up your company with these tips!