A typical skill gap analysis will measure the performance of an employee against a set group of abilities. The purpose of the exercise is to determine areas where performance needs to be improved. Results typically are used to ensure that each employee gets the specific training required to perform up to organizational expectations.
The overall goal of skill gap analysis is to examine in detail how well the employees measure against benchmarks set for their positions. Each skill analyzed is a portion of that overall picture. There are different types of skills attached to each position, from the critical to the desirable.
To complete a thorough skill gap analysis, it first must be determined which skills are needed. This can include currently known needs, but the process might also reveal new skills that could increase the employee's impact on the organization. Overall, it must be determined which skills would advance the organization and help it achieve its goals.
The most important kinds of abilities to determine are critical skills. These are the elements of performance that must be completed satisfactorily for the employee to make a meaningful contribution. Without these skills, the organization cannot function properly.
After the necessary skills have been determined, a job description is developed for each position. These descriptions are then measured against the performance of all employees. A skill gap analysis involves not only determining and measuring these skills but also developing new profiles for anticipated changes in the business. Employees also are evaluated for their ability to handle these adjustments. It is for this area in particular that an individually tailored training plan might be needed.
There are several ways that information for a skill gap analysis can be collected. Some of the most common include individual performance reviews, interviews with supervisors and focus group meetings. By gathering information in a variety of ways and from diverse sources, it is more likely that the results of the analysis will be accurate.
After an organization has completed a skill gap analysis, there are multiple ways in which the information can be used. The primary benefit is that employees can be trained or have duties reassessed. Analysis results also can help executives better allocate employees throughout the organization by matching skill sets to the best positions. This can be especially useful when hiring for a new position that would be best filled by a current employee.