Tuesday 29 Jun 2021 Article

The Takeaway3 Ways to Plug Your Skills Gaps

Upskilling a Workforce Post-covid

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#FundedTraining #Upskilling #PluggingTheGap #PersonalDevelopment

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3 Ways to Plug Your Skills Gaps

Organisations across the UK are currently spending a record £6.6bn on plugging their staff’s skills gaps.

If left unplugged, skills gaps can have a detrimental impact on individuals, teams and organisations; they can prevent strategies from being executed, goals being met, and ultimately - organisations succeeding.

How Can You Identify Skills Gaps?

There are many different ways of analysing skills gaps and pinpointing areas for improvement, including:

Skills Gap Analysis

One of the best ways to identify skills gaps is to conduct a Skills Gap Analysis. This can either be done internally, or externally by using an organisation like ourselves. As well as providing a multitude of different training programmes, we can also help you conduct a gap analysis of yourself, your team or your entire organisation. Put simply, we do this in 4 steps:

We analyse and list the competencies required of an organisation

Staff members of the organisation each take a competency questionnaire and get a red, amber or green rating for each competency to highlight their skills gaps

Based on the skills gaps highlighted, we identify what workshop would be most suitable for each staff member for each competency.

Below is a simplified example of a competency matrix that shows what workshops could be suitable for each level in each competency (the below information and course names are just an example and not to be taken as recommendations)

For example:

competency grid

360-degree Feedback

Another way to identify skills gaps is through 360-degree feedback. “360 Degree Feedback is a system or process in which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them. This typically includes the employee's manager, peers, and direct reports.” Ultimately, 360-degree feedback aims to give you well rounded feedback from multiple perspectives to provide you with greater insight into your strengths and weaknesses. You can click here to find out more about how to conduct 360-degree feedback in your organisation.

Employee Observation

If you’re looking for a less formal approach, have you considered observation? Taking some time to observe your staff doing their day-to-day job helps you see first-hand what you believe they do well, and where they could improve. One limitation of this approach is that it is perspective-based - it relies on your opinion of what the best way to do something is, meaning that the results aren’t necessarily always accurate. 


So How Can You Plug Skills Gaps?

As with identifying skills gaps, there are also many different ways of plugging skills gap, including:

Internal Coaching/Mentoring

Internal coaching or mentorship programmes can be a great way to take advantage of existing resources and use high performers’ knowledge and expertise to upskill the rest of the workforce. Coaching/mentoring is particularly useful for developing soft skills or plugging specific skills gaps at a beginner or intermediate level. 

However, internal coaching/mentoring does have its limitations. The coach/mentor’s knowledge may be outdated and there is also a risk of them passing on their bad habits to their mentees. Whilst they may be extremely knowledgeable, it’s likely that the mentor won’t have any professional experience or qualification in training or teaching, meaning that their teaching style may not be particularly effective.

External Training

Another way to plug skills gaps is through external, professional training. There are training options available for everyone, whether you’re looking for short term courses to plug a specific skills gap, mid range programmes to develop a wider scope of competencies, or long term programmes to develop a whole new skill set or achieve all round improvement. 

External training is delivered by field experts with a background in training, ensuring that the information is presented in a way that is easily understood and implemented by your staff. As with coaching/mentoring, external training does have its downsides. Most training programmes come at a cost - however, there is funding available from the government to help cover the costs of long term training programmes. 


Recruiting new staff is also a great way of plugging your organisation’s skills gaps. There are two main ways to recruit to fill the gaps you have identified in your organisation - recruiting someone with existing skills, or recruiting somebody to grow into a role. 

Recruiting somebody that already has the skills your organisation is looking for immediately plugs those skills gaps, however, it can be expensive. On the other hand, recruiting somebody who you plan to train so they can grow into a role does take longer to come to fruition but it is inexpensive, especially considering the grants currently available from the government for hiring an apprentice.

At Nine Dots, we have a dedicated team who help organisations everyday place apprentices into leader/manager, sales, hr and customer service roles. At the time of writing this, the UK government provides fantastic incentives to organisations who place people through these types of services. If you want to find out more about recruiting an apprentice, you can request a call with one of our team to discuss this further by clicking here or by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

To find out more about the different types of apprenticeships that we can provide for organisations, please see the associated resource for this article below.


Next on The Daily Dot, we will be exploring Lewin’s Forcefield Analysis model and how you can utilise it to manage change in your organisation...

Until next time…

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Missed an article? More from Upskilling a Workforce Post-covid

Part 1 of 2 Is Your Organisation Experiencing Post-covid Skills Gaps?

Part 2 of 2 3 Ways to Plug Your Skills Gaps

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