This blog is provided by Mike Kritzman, as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview SkillNet: Personalized Learning Framework for Your Company aired on 7/23/19.
We’re in a Skill Revolution where Skills are the new currency
According to a McKinsey study, “Sixty percent of global executives expect that up to half of their organization’s workforce will need retraining or replacing within five years.
More than a third said their organizations are unprepared to address the skill gaps…”
This white paper presents a proven 5-step process to help your organization conduct a Skill inventory to identify and solve skill gaps. This approach is backed up with years of data from hundreds of organizations trying to pinpoint and cure their organizational skill gaps.
There are dozens of reasons to focus on skills because skills are the building blocks to improving staff performance, regardless of role. Any organization in search of higher performance can follow our approach and accomplish major progress in a few short weeks.
Step 1. Define your key organizational knowledge, skills and abilities, (KSAs)
While constructing the required KSAs for your organization, start with what’s expected from all positions. General KSAs like company culture and communication standards work well. Longer term, it’s useful to get into specific KSA’s for each role, but it’s not possible to do this quickly, particularly when trying to imagine future KSA requirements. It’s also useful to establish proficiency targets on each KSA to set a baseline expectation for different role levels.
Step 2. Inventory your staff with a KSA survey
An accurate database of KSA capabilities and insights are vital for organizational agility. For most firms, skills, knowledge and workforce capabilities are difficult to measure and even harder keep current. We recommend using a 5-point Likert scale and starting with self-assessments. Manager assessments are very important because they observe staff performance. People are complicated and constantly learning and adapting, so data needs to be refreshed more than once a year. Ideally data is refreshed at the time a new skill or capability is ready.
Skill data accuracy depends on who and how you ask, so take care defining questions and the rubric.
Step 3. Analyze data and study gaps between self-ratings and manager ratings
Determine how you want to view the data. Study gaps between self-perception and manager ratings which are key ingredients for alignment, feedback, and goal setting. Transparency is the only way to drive improvement. We suggest one-on-one meeting to review results within weeks.
Step 4. Expand your KSA Survey to include specifics for each job and re-inventory
By this point, you’ve built a definition for the common organizational skills. You’ve also populated the database with accurate data and have plans to keep it current.
The next step is to evolve the database to include KSAs for key roles which requires clarity on what’s expected from each role. It’s often useful to work in teams to define the KSA model for each role and structure topics carefully as this exercise will set role expectations for staff.
This can be a difficult step because there can be many different roles and each role may have different requirements or expectations. For example, a junior salesperson has a similar role as the senior salesperson, but the senior has higher proficiency expectations. Despite the challenge, it’s important to build a clear understanding of staff matches against their job requirements.
The results from detailed individual gap assessments are well worth the extra effort.
Step 5. Create personalized development plans, PDPs, to solve the gaps.
The final and most important step in the process is to construct personalized development plans for each person to solve their unique gaps. An effective PDP lists gaps, defines improvement steps, links to learning resources, sets target dates, and monitors progress.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities are an organization’s fundamental expertise in specific subject areas. KSAs define organizational capabilities and distinguish an organization from competitors.
KSAs can be grouped into categories such as:
- Professional skills: The skills needed by all staff to be successful regardless of role.
- Leadership skills: The skills needed by those in leadership and management positions.
- Occupational skills: Job-specific skills like finance, customer service, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
Defining, measuring, and solving skill gaps is critical for organizational performance. We’d like to hear from you, discuss your situation, and demonstrate how our platform automates the 5-step process described in this post.
About the author
Mike Kritzman – Founder, CEO, and Board Chair at SkillNet Technologies, is a serial entrepreneur, sought-after expert in skill management, microlearning, and trends that transform organizations.
Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible, iHeartRADIO, and NPR One. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.