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Digitalisation has the potential to revolutionise the world of work, is your workforce ready? With digital disruption and changing customer behaviours, businesses are needing to find the right balance between nurturing innovation and continuing business-as-usual. For many teams, this will require a shift in the skills required to succeed with sophisticated analytical, communication and problem-solving skills, as well as strong technical knowledge.

But how can you be sure you know the full extent of the skills available within your organisation? Conducting a skills audit could be one way to assess where the employee skills gaps lie which can be used to inform your employees training and development plans, and your recruitment strategy.

What is a skills audit?

A skills audit is the process of assessing your employee’s skills via a questionnaire or one-to-one, and then identifying potential knowledge gaps which might affect the long-term plans of the company or the growth of the individual.

By regularly assessing the knowledge that already rests within your workforce, you can help develop the careers of existing employees and improve your retention rates, while also identifying the skills required of new hires.

The importance of skills audits

The advantages of skills audits extends far beyond facilitating the digital transformation needs of the business—it also has an impact on staff.

Developing the skills base of your existing workforce helps them to improve and more easily meet their daily work and career goals. The benefits of employee training and development mean that as an employer, you’ll enjoy a far more capable, engaged and productive workforce.

Training and upskilling is also crucial for company culture and to keep knowledge within the business. Our Job Satisfaction Index suggests that one of the top reasons employees choose to move on was a lack of advancement opportunity (15%).

Collecting data on your employees’ skills base is going to facilitate smart decisions when you come to look at your recruitment solutions for upcoming digital projects. Many companies are creating brand new teams to tackle this, where others are focusing more on a flexible, blended workforce to handle the change. Which option you opt for will depend on the results of your skills audit.

The skills audit template for managers

So, how do you conduct a skills audit? There are five-steps to a skills audit, incorporating planning, implementation and analysis:

1. Ensure you have management backing

Skills audits cost time, money and resource, so it helps to have everyone on-side before you begin. It also serves as a touchpoint to ensure your scope is in-line with businesses targets, goals and trajectory.

2. Create your scope

Which employee skills will you be assessing? Bring in your knowledge of the frameworks, innovations and processes that the company plans to implement in the coming months. Which skills (technical or soft) will your team need in order to support company growth and adapt to the change?

3. Competency framework
A competency framework establishes a clear link between the individual and the organisation. It will typically include the integrated knowledge, skills, judgement, and attributes that are required to perform a job effectively.

Having a solid set of competencies for each role in your team guides employees on your organisation’s values and what it requires in order to achieve its objectives.

Chat to your employees individually about their role and what they currently perceive their responsibilities to be so you can integrate this into your framework.

4. Communicate with your team
Before you send out your skills audit questionnaire, ensure you make the time to talk to your team. Reassure them that the data is secure and confidential and let them know the reason for the skills audit. It’s a good idea to appoint someone that they can direct any questions to.

5. Collect and analyse your data
Once all the meetings have been conducted and the skills audit questionnaires have been returned, you’ll have a far clearer picture of where the training in-house needs to take place, and which areas will require new roles or interim/temporary staff to fill them.

Moving forward with employee training

Now that you have a full picture of the skills within your team, you can begin to look at types of employee training. Here are our recommended solutions for making informed choices:

  • Focus on business needs – always have the business’ needs in mind when planning employee training programmes. If your employees have a particular weakness which hampers their performance, this is a good starting point. Tailor the training to address any deficiencies you have identified.
  • Consider training programmes – they should typically be skills-based and remain within the boundaries of your employee’s roles respectively. Try to focus on skills that can be taught and acquired rather than attempting to alter personality traits.
  • Set clear objectives – it should be possible to measure the success of any training you choose to implement with clear targets and objectives which are quantifiable to the aims of the business.

Once you know where the skill gaps lie, you’ll be in a far better position to start filling them. conversely, identifying the skills that your team already possess will help you utilise their talents in driving the business forward. If you’d like assistance sourcing highly skilled talent for contract, temporary or permanent roles, get in touch with our expert team today.