As business continues to rebound from the pandemic, most companies expect people to get back on track—fast—and deliver results. To make that happen, leaders and their teams must establish clear business goals. Yet, with rapid technological advances, the increasing prevalence of remote or hybrid teams, and ongoing changes in workplace systems, procedures, communication, and more, people often fail to achieve those goals because they lack the essential skills needed.
A report from our global affiliate, American Management Association (AMA) on the topic of New Skills for the New Workplace, nearly 80% of respondents reported that the skills required to do their job effectively have changed in the past 2 years. Clearly, developing workers’ skills to keep up with fast-changing workplace realities should be a priority for every company that aims to stay in business.
While under pressure to deliver results, how can leaders know whether their people have the skills it takes to meet the goals they’ve set? To avoid unrealistic expectations that inevitably lead to failure—not to mention the frustration of pushing team members to accomplish the impossible given their current competencies—leaders should make a regular practice of searching for and evaluating gaps in employees’ skills.
Analyzing skills gaps doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Here's a simple and quick three-step process for conducting a skills gap analysis to improve your goal setting at work:
Step One: List the skills needed for future goals. Make a list of all the skills your team needs to achieve a specific future goal. For example, your goal might be to improve customer service. Meeting that goal might call for certain technical skills; sensitivity in dealing with people across a diversity of ages, races, ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds; nimble and creative problem-solving; and outstanding business conversation skills.
Step Two: List your team’s current skills. Next, write down your employees’ current skills that support this goal. Your team might have solid sales skills, for example, or be adept communicators, virtually and verbally.
Step Three: Make an action plan to close skills gaps. Finally, list the specific actions to take in order to close any skills gaps. Action items for your team might include: Attend a diversity and inclusion workshop. Hold a brainstorming session to spark innovative solutions to customer problems. Upgrade CRM software and train employees in how to use it.
Like any goals you set, development goals to close your team’s skills gaps should be SMART.
Your organization expects results—and your team needs the best skills to achieve them. In today’s fast-changing world, doing a skills gap analysis at least twice a year will bring new skills into your workplace and keep your team well equipped and feeling confident. Goal setting at work is not only vital to effective teamwork but also excellent for career growth.
This article first appeared on amanet.org and adapted for CMC. Used with permission. All rights reserved.