A quick search on Google for talent gap analysis will provide you with a variety of articles on skills gaps. However, are “skill” and “talent” really synonymous? Definitely not. The etymology of these words clearly shows that they are not referring to the same thing.
As per the Oxford English Dictionary, “talent” is defined as “a natural ability to do something well,” whereas “skill” is defined as “the ability to do something well.” For example, a person can have a born talent for dancing and will only need the training to enhance their moves, but a person who doesn’t have the talent will need to train to develop the skills.
Let’s take two examples to clarify the concept of talent development.
Dame Gillian Barbara Lynne was constantly getting into trouble at her school, as she had difficulty keeping up with subjects — or simply sitting still in the classroom. Her mother decided to take her to the doctor, wondering if the child had some disorder and needed medication. The doctor, after hearing the mother out, requested to speak to her in private from another room. He left Gillian to sit in his office and turned on the radio. He then asked the mother to watch Gillian from the window. There was little Gillian dancing to the music. The doctor assured the mother that Gillian was not sick but rather had a talent for dancing: a physical activity that when suppressed would make her fidgety. With the continuous nurturing support for her talent from dance coaches and her mother, Gillian went on to become one of the most famous Broadway choreographers.
Another famous example of nurturing talent comes from Google’s Project Oxygen. In 2013, Google gave a facelift to its hiring practices. While technical skills were still given importance, other talents like leadership, a result-based orientation, and coaching were marked as ideal traits that Google wanted their employees to have. Google moved away from focusing on mandatory education to people who had the talent to grow and learn. In fact, in an interview in 2013 with The New York Times, the SVP of People Operations at Google, Laszlo Bock, said that 14% of their staff have never been to college.
The above examples point out the importance of developing the right talent with skills, guidance, and training to enhance productivity and performance. However, it still doesn’t mean that people who don’t have talent can’t develop the skills over time and actually become super-efficient. The Gunder Hägg story proves this!
What is talent gap analysis?
Now that you understand the difference between skills and talents and the importance of talent development, let’s find out what talent gaps are before we start analyzing them. A talent gap occurs when an organization’s current workforce doesn’t have the necessary talents to meet the organization’s goals. Of course, the rapid development of technology means a never-ending process of developing employees. But is that even possible? What’s more, won’t it lead to employee burnout?
That’s where talent management comes in. It’s a gradual process that involves the following steps:
- Identifying talent gaps through talent gap analysis
- Taking steps to close talent gaps and skills gaps
- Monitoring the results so employees develop at a natural pace and are not overwhelmed.
Let’s review the steps that will help you conduct a talent gap analysis for your organization.
Step 1. Get a clear understanding of what top management expects from each level of the organization
Have you ever watched a conductor lead the orchestra with precision for a breathtaking performance? The role, notes, and sound of each orchestra member are clearly defined, and by putting them all together, the conductor knows what kind of music will be produced.
That is exactly how management is expected to lead. They must have clear definitions of what is expected from each individual. According to a survey conducted by Zippia in 2022, only 5 percent of organizations have developed strong leadership roles. When leadership is compromised, the team’s productivity will be too.
Step 2. List the skills, experience, knowledge, and personality characteristics required for exemplary performance
By defining what exemplary performance looks like in certain roles, HR leaders can map career paths for employees to lead them to a higher level of efficiency. Thus, employees will have a clear idea of what top management expects from them.
When employees know how their talent can be enhanced and where exactly in the hierarchy this growth can take them, they’re more likely to work hard to improve professionally. And employee growth automatically improves the company’s overall success. GoDaddy’s career program helped employees to be actively engaged in their work and be more productive and happier, making GoDaddy famous as one of the best places to work and develop skills.
Step 3. Collect applicable data on existing employees and discover where gaps are
There are a few factors that can affect the value of data you collect on existing employees. These include bias on behalf of management, employees’ hesitation to speak the truth, or just a long and frustrating process of collecting and processing data. A talent management system, however, allows for systematically collecting data on employees.
Comparative analysis can help you see the gaps between employees’ current talent and skills compared to what is expected. Take a look at our report to understand the future trends that will affect job roles and training to help employees cope with future job responsibilities.
Create a diverse talent pipeline to meet future talent demand
Encourage each employee to seek out and take advantage of any opportunities that interest them in order to gauge their goals for the future. Use our guide to develop personalized career paths for each employee.
Step 4. Develop the skills and talents of candidates who want to grow
While everyone deserves an equal chance to develop, not everyone wants to grow in a particular field. For example, Carl Brashear refused to grow or learn any skill other than diving. He simply loved the sea so much that after several trials throughout his life and foregoing other chances, he finally became a master diver.
Try to understand which employees want to grow in their positions and which don’t. However, when an employee refuses a promotion or development activities, it shouldn’t be taken lightly, as this is a red flag for mismanagement. For example, when employees notice their colleagues get promoted without a raise in pay, they’re less likely to grow into a role they dread.
Not sure if your talent gap analysis is enough to yield fruitful results?
Talent gap analysis can help you identify gaps and provide guidance on how to close them, but you will need extra resources to ensure that their growth is consistent. Below are some data-driven analytics you can use simultaneously to ensure that you not only close talent gaps but that those gaps don’t widen in the future.
When you hire inefficiently, it’s no surprise that it will lower your performance potential. Hiring analytics ensures that a candidate has the potential to learn the required skills, has the correct qualifications, has core characteristics to blend in with the company culture, and is one of the best candidates. By using the right HR data, automated application screening, and pre-employment assessment tests in the hiring process, you can prevent the talent gap from widening.
Ongoing feedback analytics
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” — Ken Blanchard
Your main assets for building a future-ready workforce are your employees themselves. While managers and systems may provide accurate data on the employees’ skills, talents, and potential, the main motivation of building a career can be done only if HR leaders take into consideration what an employee feels about a certain future job position.
Continuous feedback through pulse or 360-degree surveys, and sentiment analysis, can ensure that the HR leaders receive feedback that is data-driven and not merely based on emotions.
Resources to help you with employee retention, engagement, and productivity
The more effort HR leaders put into bringing out employees’ best talents and enhancing employees’ skills, the more chances your organization has to improve overall productivity. Take a look at our resources that can guide you through different factors that affect the workforce in an organization. For a customized solution, contact us today.
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