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Filling the skills gap in your team

Covid restrictions over the last year have been a challenge for all businesses. We’ve all had to adapt to new ways of working and some traditional methods have been changed for the foreseeable future, such as in-person sales meetings. To ensure continued growth it’s more important than ever that you identify and fill any skills gaps within your team.

Your team’s skills need to match the requirements of your business. The first step is to identify where any skills gaps exist.

Skills Gap Audit

Start with your company strategy. You need a clear view of what skills and roles will be required to remain competitive and reach your goals.

Take developing customer relationships for example. Pre-covid, sales reps armed with samples would be visiting clients to sell-in the benefits of your offering, developing a customer relationship that could last for years into the future. Now, this way of working has undoubtedly changed, but the need to create that customer partnership is still essential. You need to develop new and effective ways of networking, prospecting, and taking that client through the customer journey digitally.

Create an inventory of skills required for each role in your business and once you have these, prioritise them by understanding what type of skill is required and to what level of mastery. This will give you a more manageable understanding for each role.

Establish where your team currently stands by assessing your staff. This can be done in several ways, and I’d suggest considering appraisals, 360-degree reviews and observations. Consider benchmarking your team against your top performers.

After this thorough review, spend time putting together your skills gap analysis. This will show you where you need to concentrate your training efforts or recruit external expertise to help shape your team. 

Communication Is Key

Communicating with your team is essential, especially with those in senior management positions. They’ll be key to ensuring the motivation of your team and driving the passion for skills development.A cohesive approach will bring forward new ideas, encourage buy-in, and motivate staff. It will also enable you to identify strong advocates that have the potential to grow into new or adapted roles for sustained success.

Make a Plan.

Stage three is a well-thought out and thorough training programme, this is vital to the continuous learning and growth of your team. As a former training manager, I’d suggest breaking this down into three core components.

  • Essentials for all employees. For example, basic training including an overview of company standards, systems and processes, health, and safety.
  • Team focused training. This programme will be specific to different departments. For example, a negotiation course for sales reps and buyers.
  • Specific individual training needs. Whether you’re looking to up-skill an employee or recognise their talent and want to prepare them for a promotion or a variation in their role, there’s certainly a need to define an individual’s training requirements. For example, a recently promoted manager may benefit from formal management training, time management, or other universal skills so they can effectively lead their new team.

Training can be organised in-house or through external channels, and it’s important to build in assessments and performance monitors to evaluate and refine the training needs against your skills gap.

Equally important is the need to recognise the success of colleagues when they have particularly excelled and applied their knowledge to improve productivity and effectiveness in their role. They’ll feel motivated, encourage others, and be more receptive to changes within the business.  

Recruiting from outside

You may need to recruit from outside the business if your analysis identified areas that cannot be filled with training. Or, you may have an innovative to approach to working that has an immediate need for a new team member to drive this change.

Bringing relevant experience and a fresh new approach can invigorate your team and working practices, especially at senior levels where they have an opportunity to influence the team from the top down.

Call in the experts

Selecting the right candidate pool is key and that’s where I feel a specialist consultant can sort the wheat from the chaff and put forward high-calibre applicants that can add value to your business. The right recruiter will have industry knowledge, an active candidate pool, and a personal, professional approach to truly understand your needs. This is an area that Beaumont Wood excels, having worked as a specialist recruiter for more than 20 years.

We’ll work with you to develop a job description and specification that will draw in the best applicants, selecting a shortlist of talented, qualified individuals for you to interview. Read more about our process and don’t just take our word for it, view case studies and testimonials from others we have worked with.  

For help in sourcing candidates, or if you’d like some no-obligation advice, call Jerry on 01295 720365 or contact us.