9 Challenges to Address while Solving Skill Gaps in Tech Teams
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Skill gaps in the workplace are a constant threat with evolving technology and enterprise growing demands for upskilling the workforce. As an L&D professional, you must be wondering how to identify skill gaps in the workplace. Or rather how to close IT skill gaps and level up your talent. As the company scales, projects ramp up, and the team expands, it gets challenging for the L&D team to align labour skills with employer expectations. To top it all is the rapid digitization in the tech industry. The threat of skill gaps posed by automation keeps L&D managers up at night, trying to keep their tech teams competitive.
How to Identify Skill Gaps in Tech Teams
To start, it’s helpful to learn what are the common skill gaps in the workplace and how to identify skill gaps in tech teams. As an L&D Manager, you need to uncover the ever-widening IT skill gap to ensure that your tech team meets the organizational demands and adapts to the ever-changing needs of the tech industry. Here are 5 key steps to perform a skill gap analysis and identifying your employees’ skill gaps in the workplace.
Identify the company goal – Before you start analyzing performance gaps, it’s crucial to first identify the company goal. Start with the goals or company objectives that the business wants to achieve. For example, if the company objective is set as developing critical applications for the business. To achieve this, specific project goals are to be set such as networking skills and writing and maintaining codes by a Java Developer.
Define the skills needed for a specific role – Determine which skills are on-demand that aligns with the current job role. Set a clear picture of the targets set against the necessary competencies. Based on that, you can formulate a tentative plan of action i.e., listing out business objectives and key results (OKRs) and core technical skills that define what the organization wants to achieve and key results to meet the goals.
Measure current skills
After you have identified core competencies and business objectives, it’s time for employee assessments to measure the core technical skills. You can measure the contribution of an employee towards business objectives by setting key performance indicators (KPIs). One practical way to assess skill gaps is role-based assessments through which you can review employee skill and productivity levels based on specific technical roles, and map jobs-current skills and proven competencies. By employing role-based assessments, you can understand if they need further reskilling.
Review and feedback
Another effective approach to identifying skill gaps is incorporating an appraisal method where you can collect performance data and generate individual responses in the form of surveys. Frequent feedback and reviews will help you highlight issues and skill gaps that you have previously missed.
Track key market trends to identify future skills
To identify relevant target skills in the current market, keep an eye on trends such as:
- Which skill sets will go obsolete?
- Which skills and competencies are currently on the rise?
- Which new skill sets will the company need in the future?
- Are in-demand skill sets in sync with company requirements?
Ranking your target skill sets by the level of importance and level of proficiency and skills set as (1-10) will help you benchmark your skill ratings while measuring and identifying skill gaps.
The ever-widening skill gap is real. But how big is the tech skill gap? Let’s dig into the actual stats.
Technology skill gap – Stats
The above stats are an eye-opener, indicating that the current challenge isn’t unemployment, but unemployability. Recruiting the right new talent is a huge challenge as rapid changes in technology are fast exceeding current skill levels.
All you need to solve this problem is a strategic L&D initiative combined with persistent efforts to prepare your organization for the future. An intelligent approach to closing workforce skill gaps is upskilling internal talent through on-the-job training and development. But, before plugging those gaps, you must first identify the looming challenges that you might encounter while you plan for upskilling and reskilling the enterprise workforce.
In this blog, we will identify nine key challenges that organizations face while addressing skill gaps in their tech teams.
Challenges to Address while Solving Skill Gaps in Tech Teams
Here are some practical challenges coupled with some great tips to help you crush your biggest fears of bridging the skill gap without stretching planned budgets.
Inadequate Knowledge of technology/infrastructure skills – To cater to the demands of new skills, you must first understand and assess the tech skills you are looking to upskill. Sometimes, the technology is simple, but figuring out supporting resources, budgets, or the operational environment in which your staff will practice the technology or product is a huge challenge.
Navigate through the possible metrics that can bolster learning value, platform usage, mode of course delivery, and technical requirements. The solution lies in integrating the training program with the right mix of course delivery technology (virtual and offline learning). For example, if regular Zoom sessions are tiresome for learners, then blended learning or a mix of blended and virtual learning methodologies works best.
Training effectiveness – So you have figured out the right eLearning methodology for delivery. But how would you ensure that your employees’ competency levels are making a measurable impact? Also, do the employee training initiatives have tangible outputs? The challenge of how to measure effectiveness of our training program is a common challenge to the L&D managers to solve.
Solution: Through knowledge-based technical assessment tools, you can evaluate and monitor the existing and developing skill levels of employees. Make sure that quantitative assessments link training initiatives such as competency levels, platform usage, course completion, etc., that maximizes organizational outcomes.
Learner Engagement – Another prominent challenge for L&D managers is embedding applicable skills within a flexible bite-sized learning module while engaging the learner. If you are serving only stand-alone sessions that include skimming through informative texts or simply ticking rigid boxes with thinly spread attention, you are making a mistake. Maintaining and improving learner engagement through innovative ways is one of the most prominent challenges for L&D managers.
Solution: Ditch the obsolete learning techniques. The journey of learning and development is an adventure. To ensure what is learned is retained, build skill-application activities in real-time scenarios to spark curiosity and encourage employee engagement. Quantify training effectiveness by setting up engagement scores and fixing training deadlines that will be linked to the organization’s KPIs, if possible. This will not only increase job satisfaction scores but will also motivate the trainee to complete the assignment while making learning a more enjoyable activity.
Identifying which learning solutions will cater to a diversified tech workforce– In a workplace, there’s a diverse workforce belonging to different backgrounds, varied experiences, skills, and perspectives that contribute to achieving the organization’s goals. Unless the quality and methodology of training meets their interests and learning styles, the curriculum might seem insufficient. Besides, due to different time zones and geographical boundaries, bringing everyone together might prove difficult.
Solution: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone learns differently. Keeping this in mind, you must customize trainings or design curated learning journeys for a global audience as per the learner’s interest, skills, and geographical location. In addition, rich educational media such as video, animation, and interactivity can prove impactful in cultivating technical skills and widening the talent pool.
Making Learning resources accessible – Are your training materials, courses, or technologies inclusive and quickly accessible to your workforce? This is a universal concern that most L&D managers face. If your employees are not granted easy access to training programs, your L&D programs are likely to suffer from low completion rates. For example, if the course is less responsive or limited by bandwidth constraints, your employees are likely to get discouraged and abandon the course mid–way.
Solution: Check if the technology is difficult to use or if the learning method is outdated. Designing user experience journeys with an optimal experience necessitates an effective learning delivery medium and adequate user control. Whether it’s self-paced learning or instructor-led, L&D experts should maximize the accessibility of learning tools through LMS/LXP– gamification, badges, mixed technology delivery mediums, social learning, forums, and micro-learning to achieve organizational value.
Finding the right LMS – One sheer challenge is selecting the right LMS amidst a myriad of fancy e-learning tools posing to be easy-to-use platforms. Remember, learners are generally a mix of different generations- millennials, Gen X, baby boomers, and Gen Z. How do you ensure the ‘must-have features’ support your training objectives for each learner type? How would you track their learning progress on the training course that’s assigned? Another puzzle is to develop and store multiple learning modules in megabytes and integrate existing training data to fit into the new system. The question that arises is – How?
To cater to a universal audience, transform your LMS/LXP into a buffet of a well-designed user interface in tandem with the right mix of functionalities (easy navigation, gamification, interactivity, online assessments, surveys, forum) that offer easy-to-consume courses. However, the real test for the L&D team is only after the LMS goes live. All you need is the ‘round-the-clock’ support from technical teams to initiate a smooth sail. Also, a platform that generates user completion reports or engagement reports and allows you to filter results is a great add-on.
Tracking the learning progress – According to studies, 70% of the educational information is forgotten within the first 24 hours of the learning session. How would you cope with this? What gets even more challenging is tracking learning metrics when multiple training programs are deployed at the same time. Well, tracking the learning progress and the learning metrics in real-time and downloading reports is crucial to figure out if your employees are meeting their learning objectives or not.
Solution: The cornerstone is the right learning management system (LMS) which makes it easier to track the completion/active learning progress, monitor engagement scores, and figure out where the learner is positioned within the learning curve. With the right LMS/LXP, assigning a course or a cluster of courses and tracking their progress is just at your fingertips!
Narrowing skill gap – Narrowing the tech skill gap is not easy as you need to balance quantity learning and quality training. In workplace learning, if you are not personalizing employees’ experience as per their learning needs, job roles, and interests, your training is not making an impact at a personal level. Forget retention, if employees cannot utilize the learning resources in their day-to-day work life, your entire training initiative fails.
Solution: Personalize, personalize, and personalize. One way to do this is by generating feedback and surveys that reflect training gaps. Next, customize learning modules to develop individual goals rather than group goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Personalized learning experiences will help you identify where the learner needs to stay focused and how he/she is performing. This will also impact your future learning budgets and business outcomes.
Identify problem-solving cases – A new challenge to the L&D pros is spotting on-the-job problem-solving skills through corporate training programs. Did you know that most conflict resolution courses either have little or no impact on the staff? The reason? Well, trainings aren’t related to current challenges that employees are facing. Why would they want to engage in the course if they feel it’s not solving a problem?
Solution: One way to solve this workforce skill gap puzzle is to collect feedback from your learners periodically at each stage of the learning cycle. This will provide you with valuable insights that include information on desired areas of improvement. Also, it will serve as an eye-opener on how learners are interacting with the course and what they expect to gain. Such improvement areas work as hints that you can utilize to improve future learning programs.
L&D professionals are responsible for delivering a comprehensive learning and development strategy for their businesses. Employee retention, upskilling, reskilling programs for the workforce – there’s a continuous added pressure to navigate through the emerging technologies, budgets, and staffing and drive the business forward.
Investing in a integrated LXP/LMS for enterprise learning and training can solve all the above learning challenges. Experiential learning goes beyond just a library of content and creates customized learning experiences wherein employees want to engage in a real-time innovative and interactive learning environment.
In the current talent market, there’s a talent shortage and a widening skill gap. To win the war, L&D decision-makers must future-proof the business by investing in the right learning platform that support engagement, upskilling, reskilling, and retention.
A Skill Based Assessment Platform to Find the Right Fit to Tech roles
Yaksha’s skill assessment platform is specifically designed to test, evaluate, and monitor skill growth across multiple technologies via a single-file assessment across multiple tech roles. With 100+ stack-based assessments, yaksha’s tech assessment engine lets you customize the platform for any difficulty level of assessments. For example, you can conduct in-person coding interviews based on the evolving needs of your organization for tech hiring. Not only that. By employing such an integrated assessment framework, you can map skill gaps and identify the right talent for your organization.