To succeed in life, we all need knowledge in various forms, and when looking at business, even more knowledge is required. Unfortunately for us, there is rarely a single source for this knowledge. Instead, we are forced to go with the flow, learn on the job, and make many mistakes as we do. As Bill Nye once pointed out, everyone you meet will know something you do not know, but how do you gather this knowledge for later use and personal gain?
What is a knowledge gap?
A knowledge gap occurs when there is a significant disparity between what an employee knows and what the company needs them to know. Gaps in knowledge are a barrier to company success. These gaps can hinder progress, decrease performance, and affect productivity.
Identifying knowledge gaps and finding ways to eliminate them is essential to organizational success.
Bridging the Knowledge Gaps: Identifying issues and creating strategies.
In the business world, knowledge is critical, and gaining knowledge is often encouraged. Companies want their employees to know as much as possible, and they sometimes test to see where the company and employees currently stand.
It is in a company’s best interest to identify knowledge gaps and close them through training, development, and organization.
Identifying knowledge gaps is imperative to future success and requires the company to do a knowledge gap (sometimes called a skills gap) analysis.
How to analyze knowledge gaps within your business:
Analyzing the knowledge base within your business requires a two-step approach. You need to understand where you are now and where you aim to be in the future. This is done through an analysis of employee skills and an understanding of your companies future needs.
What is a gap analysis?
A gap analysis is a tool used in business to tell companies what gaps exist between an employee’s current skills and those required of the organization. Gap assessments are used to help companies achieve their future goals and get on track to success. This tool can help your company establish training programs, increase productivity, and enhance employee experience.
The skills gap in business is apparent, both within organizations and the market itself. In fact, 43% of employers say that while there are more than enough applicants available, the number of applicants with the required skills is exceedingly low.
Gap assessments help you predict problems and catch them before they impact your business.
How to conduct a gap analysis:
Conducting a gap analysis requires you to look at where your employees are currently and consider where you want them to be in the future. This future-focused approach will allow you to plan your strategy and ensure that you are staying up-to-date with changing trends in the market.
A gap analysis has several basic steps that you should follow to ensure success.
Define the objective and industry needs:
Begin by recording your company objective. Your objective should be time-sensitive. For example, where do you want the company to be in one year? Five years? To answer these questions, you must consider what changes are on the horizon in your industry and what the market is currently projecting for the future.
Understand the required skills:
Once you have created a plan for the future, you will need to know what skills are required to achieve this plan. Do you require new technology? What training will be required to implement this change? As you look ahead, you will undoubtedly begin to consider the current state of your business to understand what is needed to reach your predicted future goals. Take note of all the gaps in skill development and start thinking of ways to lessen these gaps.
Consider where you are currently:
Looking to the future requires you to analyze the current landscape. Planning a vacation means that you need to know when you will be leaving, but you must consider what you need to do right now to prepare for your departure. Understanding where you are currently will help you outline the steps required to reach your future goals. You must understand where your company and employees are today if you hope to improve tomorrow. Look closely at your current performance trends and seek out areas for improvement.
Identify gaps in knowledge:
When assessing your current state, you are sure to find some gaps in knowledge. For example, if your goal is to move to a more automated system, you must consider your employees’ current skills and determine which skills need to be upgraded to achieve this mission. Do your employees currently have the ability to run and maintain the technology required to make this transition? If not, how can you improve those skills?
Once you have worked through the steps above, you will have a solid idea of what is required to achieve your business goals. Acting on a skills analysis is not something that is done on a whim. You must analyze all the data that you can find to ensure that your plan is in line with market trends and make decisions that enhance your company. Moving forward requires in-depth planning and preparation. Armed with the information you have gathered, you can outline and oversee each move according to your projected goals.
A well-rounded plan takes into account not only the required training but also the projected problems. It accounts for employee ability and prepares for hiring as needed in the future.
If you manage to reach your goal and everything goes well, can your current staff maintain production, or will you need to hire more staff? If so, how many new members do you predict you will need? Will they require training as well, or are these skills currently available in the market?
Currently, 70% of employers that are seeking new employees report a skill shortage in hiring. You must ensure that you have a solid training plan in place if you cannot find an employee with your required abilities.
The Future is Brighter:
A gap assessment should look at where you stand currently, where you aim to be in the future, and all the barriers between these two places.
By identifying knowledge gaps within your company, you can eliminate these gaps and begin working towards a more productive (and lucrative) future. Gap assessments allow you to do strategic workforce planning, get an overview of your organization, look for areas of improvement, and implement needed changes.
Completing an organizational gap assessment can aid you in optimizing your business and move you towards a brighter future that is beneficial to your company and its employees. Gap assessments also assist in enhancing productivity and help you to get ahead of competitors. They are helpful to all levels of an organization and can significantly improve employee satisfaction in the long run.
While gap assessments require precise planning and in-depth analysis, they are guaranteed to enhance the function of your business and are well worth the effort.