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Performance Management

Skills Gap: How It Impacts Your Team & How to Solve for It

April 18, 2018
5 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged


CareerBuilder recently released some unsettling news about the skills gap, and it’s not something that only affects one sector or industry. Before you think that this doesn’t necessarily affect your company, it should be noted that their findings suggest this is a challenge felt by everyone.

Check out these highlights:

  • 60% of US employers’ job openings stay vacant for 12 weeks or longer.
  • The average annual cost incurred by extended job vacancies is more than $800,000.
  • 1 in 5 workers say their professional skills are lagging behind.
60% of US employers’ job openings stay vacant for 12+ weeks. Is your organization doing enough to solve your skills gap?

Unfortunately, these results might not be so surprising to those who work in talent management or acquisition. Do you have roles that can’t be filled or struggle to promote internal talent? The skills gap is costing companies nearly $1 million each year, but is the employer to blame?

Your Skills Gap, Whose Problem?

The skills gap is a multifaceted issue that doesn’t start at your organization. In fact, just what causes this gap is a controversial debate that has been the subject of great deal of research. A 2017 American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor Survey of 2,000 US adults unveiled the complexities of finger pointing:

  • 93% said high schools and colleges need to do more to develop employable graduates.
  • 72% say students fail to study in-demand fields.
  • 92% say employees should be continually updating their skills for the changing work environment.
  • 92% believe employers should do more to train workers in skills they require.

As these numbers suggest, the majority believes the onus falls on nearly every institution involved. Employers might not be the sole contributor, but they are the ones who are watching their bottom line take a hit. Here’s how to be part of the solution...

Step 1: Assess Your Performance Gap

Employers feel the impact of a skills gap in different ways. One tech-focused organization may lack STEM-trained candidates, while another organization can’t seem to fill sales openings that require specific soft skills for optimal customer service.


Bring together executives, managers and the HR team to take a critical look at your job openings, both present and future. Use these questions to inspire more discussion around company expectation and need:

  • What skills are applicants lacking that we deem non-negotiable for the role?
  • Is there a minimum education level? What experience can be directly or indirectly related to this role?
  • What time to proficiency are we expecting? What time to proficiency would be unacceptable for department productivity?
  • What skills are we open to training our potential hires on? What do we expect them to come in knowing?
  • Is there a team or employee(s) who can take on the opening? Will their role be easier to fill as a result?

Questions like these help with a few things. First, they kick start discussions around difficult to fill roles. Additionally, they help manage expectations for hiring managers. Not that it is impossible to find suitable candidates, but are you looking for someone who even exists in the job market? Maybe there are areas that can be modified to fit your applicants, without overwhelming trainers or interrupting department productivity. This discussion will help get to the bottom of what is truly standing in the way of filling your skills gaps and job openings.

Step 2: Build Internal Learning Programs and Processes

CC-engaged-employee-excel-current-skill-Social-ImageThis is probably the most obvious contribution your team can make in solving your own gap issues. With learning and skill development built into a workforce management strategy, companies open up their external hiring potential while creating opportunities to promote internal talent. The best part is that once learning and development programs are implemented correctly, employers proactively combat professional skills gaps.

Learning and development programs are more than training programs. Consider tactics like these to both improve relationships with candidates and help grow employees:

  • Mentorships
  • Apprenticeships/Internships
  • Leadership Development & Training
  • Conference/Seminar Attendance

Step 3: Create an Engaging Employee Experience

Employees who feel supported and satisfied with their employer are more apt to feel interested and engaged in their ability to perform. Usually, leadership sees this as increased performance and productivity, but it goes so much deeper. Engaged employees have a motivated connection to their career, and want to be better, do more and excel past their current skill level. If a professional feels that sense of determination, it translates to more development in and out of the workplace. They might feel more interested in reading news about the industry, keeping up with competitors and trends and following relevant policy and procedure updates. That genuine interest will drive natural development and innovation.

Employee experience is all about upholding your employer brand promise and providing an environment that cultivates healthy, productive employees. While building the right employee experience for your organization is a never-ending task, it is one that positively influences more than just the skills gap you might be feeling. Goal-setting and alignment is a great place to start.

The skills gap is costing companies nearly $1 million each year. Don’t let your openings affect the bottom line. See how:

Are you feeling the effects of the skills gap? Don’t let the problem get out of hand. With ClearCompany’s Performance Management System, your team can monitor the productivity and growth of your current workforce, ensuring you’re engaging employees while creating an environment that facilitates their growth. The tool will increase workplace transparency and even help determine which A Players hold the potential to move into those advanced or hard to fill roles.

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