The global skills revolution is a reality and it is not a secret either. According to McKinsey & Company, the vast majority of companies globally (87%) are aware that they already have a significant skills gap or will have one within a few years.
And more than just being aware, companies consider closing these skills gaps a priority. Nearly all of those surveyed by the McKinsey study ranked closing potential skills gaps as a priority for their organizations, and about a third say it is among their top three priorities. The LinkedIn 2022 report also confirms this: 64% of training and development professionals say it is a priority to retrain the current workforce to fill skills gaps.
If one of your goals is to create more opportunities to upskill your employees, that means it’s time to identify the skills gap in your employees.
But what is a “ skills gap ”?
As its name indicates, it is a gap or bridge between the skills that companies need from their employees and those that are actually available from workers. It is the moment when a company realizes that it cannot continue advancing, maintain its previously defined objectives, or be competitive with other companies unless those skills are learned or improved.
This gap is driven by a combination of factors including advances in automation, artificial intelligence and other technologies, along with candidates lacking the skills necessary to interact with these new technological innovations.
Identifying this gap is crucial to designing effective and focused eLearning training programs. Companies often implement new programs without a clear understanding of the gaps and needs in their workforce, leading to unsatisfactory results.
Now, how can you use microlearning to identify and close these skills gaps in your company?
Microlearning is a methodology that is based on the delivery of small portions of information or educational content to facilitate rapid and effective learning.
Below are steps you can take to identify the skills gap using microlearning:
1) Assess current skills
Conduct a thorough assessment of the current skills in your company to understand existing needs. To carry out this evaluation, you can follow the following actions:
- Conduct individual skill assessments using specific tests or questionnaires . This will allow you to have a clear view of the technical and soft skills of each employee.
- Analyze the results of performance evaluations and feedback provided by supervisors . This data can reveal areas of strength and areas that need development in terms of skills.
- Conduct interviews or surveys to obtain more detailed information about existing skills and training needs . You can interview employees and gather information about their level of competency in different areas and also ask for their opinion on the skills they consider necessary to improve their performance and contribute to the success of the company.
By conducting a thorough assessment of current skills using these actions, you will gain a more accurate understanding of the situation in your company and be able to make more informed decisions to close those gaps through microlearning.
2) Identify the required skills
To identify the skills required in your company, it is important to conduct a thorough analysis of the trends and changes in your industry. Below are specific actions you can take:
- Conduct market research and industry analysis to identify emerging skills needed for success. Keep an eye out for relevant reports and studies that provide insight into the most in-demand and emerging skills in your sector.
- Analyze technological changes and trends impacting your industry . Evaluate how technology is transforming work processes and what skills are needed to make the most of these innovations. Consider the impact of artificial intelligence, automation, and other disruptive technologies on your field.
- Another effective way to identify required skills is to take into account the training needs that supervisors have mentioned in point 1, as well as identify areas where employees are experiencing difficulties.You can take the following actions:
- Make a list of specific training needs and skills mentioned by supervisors during performance reviews or in one-on-one conversations. These needs may be related to technical aspects, communication skills, leadership or other areas relevant to your company.
- Identify areas where employees are facing difficulties or where a lack of competence is observed. This may include frequent mistakes, poor performance on certain tasks, or negative feedback in specific areas. Take note of these areas and consider them as potential skill gaps.
- Conduct meetings or feedback sessions with supervisors and employees to better understand needs and difficulties. Ask for suggestions and recommendations on skills that need to be strengthened or acquired to improve employee performance and professional development.
3) Gather the data, analyze and compare
A Skill Gap Analysis is a comparison of the skills the company needs (step 2) and the skills that employees have (step 3). The difference between the two is the skill gap (this step!).
Required Skills – Known Skills = Skill Gap
At this stage, gather all relevant information and conduct a thorough analysis to identify skills gaps.
Next, analyze the following aspects:
- Make a list of the skills that are missing in your workforce and determine the training needed to fill these gaps.
- Consider what skills are necessary for new hires . Evaluate what skills are essential for the company’s future growth and success and be sure to look for candidates who possess them.
- Determine the training required for different groups or teams within the organization . Identify specific training needs for each department or area and design appropriate development programs.
- Identify employees who have demonstrated exceptional or leadership skills and who could be promoted to roles with greater responsibility. These individuals can play a key role in closing skills gaps by sharing their knowledge and experience with other employees.
- Consider the skills that will be needed in the future and evaluate what actions can be taken to prepare for this. Anticipate industry changes, new technologies, or emerging trends and determine the skills required to meet these challenges.
By gathering the data, analyzing and comparing the required skills with the existing skills in your workforce, you will be able to have a clear view of the skills gaps that need to be addressed. This will allow you to target your microlearning program effectively and close these gaps to drive the growth and success of your business.
4) Establish learning objectives
Once you have identified skills gaps, it is essential to establish clear and specific learning objectives to guide the development and training process. Here are additional actions you can take to set effective goals:
- Prioritize Skills Gaps: Identify the most critical and priority skill gaps that need to be addressed immediately. Focus your attention on those skills that have a significant impact on job performance and the overall success of your company.
- Define desired outcomes : Clearly determine what specific skills your employees should acquire by the end of the training program. These outcomes should be clear and measurable so you can evaluate learning progress and success.
- Set achievable and realistic goals: Make sure learning objectives are realistic and achievable for your employees. Consider available resources, time, and individual capabilities when setting development goals. This will help maintain employee motivation and engagement during the learning process.
- Determine the deadline: Set an appropriate deadline to achieve the learning objectives. Consider the complexity of the skills required and the availability of time for training. Break goals into smaller milestones and set intermediate deadlines to keep progress constant.
- Develop tracking indicators: Define performance indicators or evaluation criteria that allow you to measure progress and achievement of learning objectives. These indicators should be quantifiable and objective, allowing you to evaluate the success of the training program and make adjustments if necessary.
- Communicate learning objectives: Clearly and effectively share learning objectives with your employees. Make sure they understand what is expected of them and how their individual goals align with organizational objectives. Provide guidance and support to help employees achieve established goals.
5) Design microlearning pills
Microlearning is based on the delivery of small portions of educational content. Here are some guidelines to consider:
- Organize modules into short units: Break content into smaller, more specific units or modules, focusing on particular skills in each. This will allow employees to more effectively address each skill and prevent them from feeling overwhelmed by a large amount of information.
- Design interactive content: Use interactive tools and resources to keep employees interested and engaged. This may include short videos, simulations, practical exercises, interactive quizzes and online discussions. The interactive approach promotes active participation and improves knowledge retention.
- Provide clear skill development guidance: Along with the course content, provide clear guidance on how to develop the specific skills addressed in each module. Explain best practices, effective techniques, and steps to follow to apply and improve skills in the workplace.
- Make content easy to access: Make sure course content is easily accessible to employees. Use intuitive and user-friendly online learning platforms that allow quick and easy access to microlearning modules. Also, make sure the content is compatible with different devices, such as desktops, tablets, and mobile phones.
Also read: Essential guide to creating Microlearning capsules
6) Promote commitment and participation
To encourage employee commitment and participation in skill development through short courses, it is important to implement effective strategies that stimulate their active involvement.
Here are additional actions you can take:
- Establish a clear purpose: Clearly and persuasively communicate the importance of microlearning and how it will contribute to employees’ professional growth and development. Establish a strong purpose that motivates employees to actively participate in the process.
- Establish incentives and rewards: Establish tangible incentives and rewards for those employees who achieve established learning objectives. They can be financial incentives, public recognition or opportunities for professional growth. This will create a sense of achievement and additional motivation to participate and perform outstandingly.
- Encourage practical application of skills: Encourage employees to apply acquired skills in their daily work. Provide hands-on exercises and tasks that allow them to practice and reinforce the skills learned. This will help them transfer learning to real situations and improve their job performance.
- Provide additional support and resources: Ensure employees have access to the resources necessary for their learning, such as reference materials, tools, and technology. Provide additional support, such as tutoring sessions, mentoring, or one-on-one coaching, to help employees overcome obstacles and achieve their learning goals.
By implementing these actions, you will be able to encourage greater employee engagement and participation in the microlearning process. This will not only improve learning effectiveness, but will also promote a work environment where employees feel valued, motivated and committed to their professional development.
7) Evaluate progress and adjust
It is essential to regularly track employee progress and evaluate the results achieved to ensure that microlearning is effectively closing skills gaps. Below are additional actions you can take to improve this process:
- Regularly track employee progress: Establish mechanisms to monitor and record each employee’s progress in their skill development. You can use online tracking tools, regular assessments, or one-on-one meetings to evaluate and document progress.
- Use metrics and data analysis: Collect quantitative and qualitative data on the impact of microlearning on closing skills gaps. Use relevant metrics, such as module completion rates, assessment scores, or feedback from employees and supervisors. Analyze this data to identify trends and patterns, and evaluate the success of the microlearning program.
- Conduct regular assessments and tests: Conduct periodic assessments to measure employee progress and skill acquisition. You can use tests, exams or practical exercises to evaluate the level of competence achieved. These evaluations will provide clear feedback on performance and allow adjustments to be made if necessary.
- Get feedback from employees and supervisors: Solicit feedback from both employees participating in microlearning and their supervisors. Ask about their experience, the level of usefulness of the content, and how it has impacted their work performance. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to content and learning strategies.
- Make adjustments to content and learning strategies: Use assessment results and collected feedback to make adjustments to content and learning strategies. Identify areas where employees are struggling and review corresponding content to ensure it is clear, relevant and effective. Make improvements to the design, structure or presentation of the content if necessary.
By regularly tracking employee progress, using metrics and data analysis, and making adjustments based on feedback received, you can continually improve microlearning and its impact on closing skills gaps. This will ensure that the program remains current and effective for the development and success of employees and the organization as a whole.
In an ever-changing world of work with rapid technological advances, closing the skills gap has become a priority for companies. The World Economic Forum report highlights the need to train or retrain more than half of global employees by 2025 . In this sense, retraining emerges as the best strategy to close this gap and prepare employees to assume new responsibilities.
To effectively address the skills gap, companies must develop specific plans that include clear reasons for upskilling, the best strategies to close the gaps, the support needed to complete reskilling, and a defined timeline for completion. It is essential to consider a combination of approaches, such as recruiting new talent and renewing internal competencies.
Additionally, it is crucial to make wise decisions regarding what programs or initiatives to implement to acquire the skills needed in the workforce. This involves selecting employees who should be retrained first and preparing the entire organization for the change, providing clear information about retraining goals, each employee’s future role, and available options.
Ultimately, closing the skills gap is an ongoing and dynamic process. Companies must be willing to constantly evaluate and adjust their approaches based on changing market needs and work environment demands. By doing so, they will be able to remain agile and adapt effectively to current and future challenges.