Tag Archives: skill

Is Your Organization Moving Towards a Skills Gap Crisis?

Skills Gap pictureSkills gap can be defined as the difference between an organization’s current competency, skills and the required skills it needs to achieve a goal. With rapid changes in technology, consumer market, business process, it is very important for organizations to have the right skills set among their workforce. The skills gap is widening across many industries and organizations are struggling to find people with right skills set despite the availability of a large pool of candidates.

A report by Deloitte Consulting LLP & Manufacturing Institute Skills indicates that “Over the next decade nearly 3 ½ million manufacturing jobs likely need to be filled. The skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled”. One more industry, where skills gap is widening to a warning rate is nuclear industry. Retiring employees, lack of right training programs are two major contributing factors behind the growing skills gap in nuclear industry. Another report from American Society for Training & Development indicates that 84 % of people think there is a skills gap in their organization, 6.4 % think there is no gap while 9.6% are unaware whether they have the skills gap or not. Organizations across industries are failing to bridge the gap and train their existing workforce while constantly focusing on finding new employees from outside. And, even when a new workforce is hired, it is critical to provide training and guidance, for them to be as productive as the previous workforce.

Such situations can only be controlled if organizations take charge of their current workforce’s skills gap and find a medium to develop and engage them for their future needs. Let’s look at ways through which organizations can manage the skills gap crisis and create better sustainability for their business as well as workforce.

Start Identifying the Required Skills: The Human Resources (HR) or the Talent Development team should identify the current and future needs of the organization and see how closely it matches to the skills set of their workforce. They can start determining the required skills in each area of the business by consulting the leadership team, taking insights from industry reports or by taking help from a consulting organization. It is important to keep organization’s vison, objectives and strategies in mind when you are doing a skills gap analysis.

Start Building Skills Framework: Once you have identified the skills, it is important to see how they fit in to your company’s workforce structure. Are they needed on an individual level, job level, team level or at an organization level? Do two jobs have the same skills set requirements? The skills framework should promote balance development for employees by combining business, technical and leadership skills. A skills framework would help you to understand, assign and target right skills set for the right employees on a timely basis.

Make a skills development plan: Once you have identified the required skills and its framework, the last and most important step is to develop skills development plan. See whether your current training program can incorporate skills based learning. Think about all the in-house resources you can use. For example, see if managers can plan a training program for their sub-ordinates based on their experience and knowledge. A learning management system, which enables skills centric learning can be very useful to plan, execute and track skills based learning.

While skills gap is more dominant in manufacturing, technology, healthcare, energy industries, other industries and sectors of work are also witnessing this phenomenon. Organization across industries must gain a complete understanding of their skills supply, shortage, availability, which will enable them to make right workforce planning and learning & development measures. Skills gap crisis will soon become a threat to the economy, if organizations don’t foresee the situation and invest the right budget, technology, processes in to their training strategies and methods.

Skills Management Features in the GyrusAim LMS

gyrusaim - skills smallI’ve recently discussed skills, skills management, and the benefits of a skill-centric Learning Management System (LMS).  Remember that skills allow people to succeed at their job, not training, hence my focus on this subject over the past several weeks.  As previously discussed, successful skills management ultimately results in: Confirmation that a company’s staff has the skills to meet current business needs; Comprehensive and real-time insight of the organization’s capabilities to enable informed strategic decision making; and Proof that the organization complies with regulatory requirements to avoid penalties and other undesirable results.  Today I’ll review the GyrusAim features that companies can utilize to realize these benefits by successfully managing skills in their organization.

Skill-Centricity – The GyrusAim LMS is built around a skill-centric core, from which all other skill-centric features are derived.  If an LMS does is not designed for skill-centricity from its genesis, it’s challenging to change it after-the-fact.

Skill associations – Also essential for skill-management is GyrusAim’s ability to link skill requirements and people to organizations, jobs, and certifications, which enables Individual Development Plans (IDPs), Skill Gap Analysis, Enrollment of personnel in classes, and more.

Individual Development Plans (IDPs) – A single location where personnel review their skill requirements based on organization, job, certification, or directly assigned skills.  Skills recommended by managers are also displayed here.  From this single screen learners find details about instructor-led training and can enroll in it, launch eLearning, sign-up for Webinars, download training documents, and take assessments.  It is the best single location where students manage their progress in obtaining company required skills.

Course Catalog – A list of all training offered by the company, searchable by skill, type of training and other criteria.  Allows learners to easily find training to fulfill skill requirements.

Skill Gap Analysis – Shows the delta between a learner’s existing skillset and the skill requirements for other organizations, jobs, and certifications.  Allows learner’s to sign up for training for needed skills to enable them to become qualified for other positions or departments within the company.

Skill Transcript – Shows skill acquisition progress by learner.  Allows them to easily view their completed skills, when they were acquired, when (or if) they expire, notes, and other information.

My Profile Summary Screen – Shows all relevant skill-based training statistics for student on a single interactive screen.  Data provided: IDP Summary (# of skills obtained, # of skills required), Course Catalog and Training Event counts, Skill & Training Transcripts that show all historical training activity, Self-Reported training statuses (Enrolled, Pending Approval, Denied), Current Enrollments, Certification Statuses (Certified, Pending Approval, Attempting, Expired), Assessment Statuses (Completed, Partially Completed, Uncompleted), and Evaluation Statuses (Completed and Uncompleted).

Manage My People – Where managers go to review and update all aspects of their learner’s skill development.  Shown are a list of manager’s employees selectable by organization that shows learner skill requirements by organization, job, and certification.  Access to pending approvals, exhibited assessments, transcripts, IDPs is also provided as well as the ability to send users a list of their required skills via eMail.

These features all leverage the skill-centric nature of GyrusAim and provide real advantages to companies that don’t use a skill-centric LMS.  If in the market for an LMS these advantages should be highly considered.

Why is Skills Management Important?

skills small - whyLast week I defined skills management by referencing and summarizing an existing Wikipedia article.  This week I’ll explain why skills management is important and I’ll begin by repeating Wiki’s definition of Skills Management: “The practice of understanding, developing, and deploying people and their skills.”  Perhaps last week I put the cart before the horse though because I didn’t define “skill.”  Again going to Wikipedia, here’s how it defines skill.  The article’s first two sentences are: “A skill is the learned ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both.  In other words the abilities that one possesses.

So the bottom line is that a skill is an ability, and of course we know that companies hire people based upon their abilities and whether they match the abilities required for the job.  The hiring process gets the new employee in the door for a specific job, however the corporate work environment is a very dynamic place.  People and jobs come and go, job requirements change, and people’s abilities also change.  The reason for skills management is to apply some order to this environment both for the benefit of the employees and for the company.  So skills management has both a human component: managing the abilities of employees, and a corporate component: managing the abilities required for positions (jobs).

Thus, when skill management protocols are developed and implemented successfully, employee skillsets are expanded via training to not only more fully match their current job requirements but also to match the skill requirements of other job's within the company.  When an employee's skillset matches their job's skill requirements, it’s a “win-win” situation benefiting both the employee and the organization.  Employees are happier because they have the skills to perform their job, and the organization becomes more efficient and productive which helps the bottom line.

Other benefits of implementing skills management processes are:

1. Enhanced execution of business strategy by developing skills that support business objectives.
2. Improved competitiveness by producing superior products and services because of a better trained workforce.
3. Reduced costs by identifying true training needs that eliminates wasteful spending on unnecessary training.
4. Maximized workforce ROI by more efficiently aligning employee skills with job skill requirements. 
5. Mitigated operational risks and costs by identifying & eliminating skill gaps to reduce risk of non-compliance.
6. Increased employee retention and job satisfaction by improving employee development and utilization.

A computer system is not a requirement for this successful management of skills, however it will help, especially for organizations larger than a few employees.  Some Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are skill-centric, which means they manage training through skills, other LMSs are not skill-centric and manage training only.  If in the market for an LMS, evaluate the benefits of a true skill-centric LMS and strongly consider the advantages versus a non-skill-centric LMS.

What is Skills Management?

skills small

In several recent postings I’ve blogged (a lot) about skills and skill management.  So what IS skills management?  It being 2015 the first place I looked is Wikipedia (of course) and found this: Skills Management. Terrific, a Wiki about skills management! This means other people are interested in the subject as well.  The Wiki really does sum up many important elements of skills management:

  1. Definition: The practice of understanding, developing, and deploying people and their skills.
  2. Well-implemented skills management should identify the skills that job roles require, the skills of individual employees, and any gap between the two.
  3. Skills are usually defined in a skills matrix consisting of a list of skills, a grading system, and what it means to be at a particular level for a skill.
  4. To be useful, skills management must be an ongoing process where skills are regularly assessed.
  5. Benefits

    1. Employees

      1. The ability to review the list of skills they require, the skills they have obtained, and ultimately their skill gaps.
      2. A development plan may be provided to bridge skill gaps over a period of time.
      3. Employees gain from improved identification and understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses, from being able to set personal goals, and to understand the value they bring to the organization, which in turn can boost morale.
    2. Managers

      1. Enables knowledge of employee skill strengths and weaknesses.
      2. Allows them to search for employees with specific skills.
    3. Executives – A rolled up view of skills and skill gaps across an organization can enable its executives to see areas of skill strength and weakness. This enables them to plan for the future against the current and future abilities of staff, as well as to prioritize areas for skills development.


These benefits actually closely match with the points I made in my last posting about the “Benefits of a Skill-Centric Learning Management System.”  I guess that’s not too surprising though since the whole point of a Skill-Centric management system is to manage employee skills!

Benefits of a Skill-Centric Learning Management System (LMS)

earth smallIn the 10/23/15 blog I mentioned, “Skills allow people to succeed at their job, not training.” Expanding on that thought, employees can attend training class after training class after training class, and even pass tests that show they’ve “learned,” however that does not truly mean that they can leverage the information presented in the class in the real world as skills.  As an example, a wannabe rocket scientist could take many rocket science classes, however until they build a rocket and put it into orbit, they don’t have rocket science skills.

A skill-centric learning management system (LMS) uses skills as the fundamental building block of training.  The individual’s development plan, the manager’s dashboard, and all other aspects of the LMS focus on learner skills, not just the training classes attended.  I would much rather be an astronaut in the rocket built by the person using a skill-centric LMS that gained actual rocket science skills rather than a person just attending rocket science classes.

An important tool within skill-centric LMSs is the exhibited assessment where a learner actually shows somebody how to build the rocket.  The exhibited assessment combines all of the classroom training and proves synergy: that the sum of the training is greater than the individual bits of training and results in a skill.  The benefit is that the student that passes an exhibited assessment really knows how to put an astronaut into orbit and bring them back safely.

Some other benefits of using a skill-centric LMS include:

Employees provided with

  • A better understanding of quality proficiency related to their jobs.
  • A clear view of current skills and skill gaps.
  • A learning and development plan comprised of job, organizational, and/or certification based skill requirements.
  • An inventory of skill records proving their competency.
  • Recognition of their skills and opportunities to use them in other areas of the company.


Managers benefit with

  • A clear picture of the skill requirements of their employees.
  • An understanding of their employees’ skills strengths and weaknesses.
  • An informed basis for career development planning discussions.
  • Ability to develop individualized learning and development plans.
  • Identification of subject matter experts.


Executives benefit by

  • Confirmation that their staff has the skills to meet current business needs.
  • Comprehensive and real-time insight of the organization’s capabilities to enable informed strategic decision making.
  • Proof the organization complies with regulatory requirements to avoid penalties and other undesirable results.