How to Deal with a Skills Gap
When Implementing New Technologies

See also: The Skills Gap

Ask any business leader or HR professional about the greatest challenges they face in their business, and the chances are that they’ll tell you that recruiting tech talent is a common concern.

Society is facing a technology skills gap of extraordinary proportions around the globe.

According to some studies, there are 17% more job openings in the world today than available workers.

Additionally, 70% of executives are concerned that current employees lack the computer and tech skills required to help lead a business into the future.

In a world where technology is becoming essential in every aspect of the work landscape, businesses of all sizes can’t afford to take risks by not bringing the right skills onto their team.

Here’s what you need to know about overcoming the tech skills gap in your journey towards digital transformation.

Step 1: Identify the Gap You’re Trying to Fill

The first step in overcoming any talent gap in your business is figuring out what you need to enhance and improve in your team.

The technology skills development program that you build for your company needs to align with the specific goals that you want to accomplish.

For instance, not every business will need to launch a data analytics training program for their workplace, and not every company will need their employees to know about blockchain and AI.

Sit down and consider what technologies you’re going to be introducing to your environment, and which employees in your workforce will need to learn about whatever you have to offer. Not everyone in your team will necessarily need the same training.

Benchmark your employees by:

  • Listing the employees in your team that deal most frequently with tech

  • Highlighting the skills and skill gaps of each employee

  • Having one-on-one meetings with each team member to determine what kind of training would make them more efficient in their role.

Before you invest in any training, you need to know which employee you’re going to be targeting, the range of competencies you’ll cover, the proficiencies required, and the time frame needed to complete your initiative.

Step 2: Consider Your Options for Training

Once you know what you want to accomplish by upskilling your employees, you can begin to look into the training opportunities available.

While there are benefits to bringing new members of staff into your workplace to help with filling certain skill gaps, it’s also valuable to make the most of the talent that you already have.

Though training your current employees will take some time out of the typical workday, the benefits of upskilling your existing employees are significant.

These advantages range from happier, more satisfied staff members, to loyal professionals who remain committed to your team for years to come.

Research even suggests that regular training can help to significantly reduce employee turnover. Of course, you need to find the right kind of training first.

Some employees in your workforce may respond well to lecture-based training that requires them to sit for a few hours in a room and listen to a professional talk about a specific topic.

However, this doesn’t work for everyone.

One study of a company providing ergonomics to employees discovered that although participants picked up a lot of theoretical knowledge, they struggled with the practical use of that knowledge.

Many employees will need other kinds of courses to help them get a feel for the innovations that you’re bringing into their landscape.

For instance, gamification can help to teach practical applications associated with technology, tied to incentives.

Additionally, interactive demonstrations allow people to dive deeper into the inner workings of technologies.

You might even find that it’s helpful to turn some of the early adopters in your business into mentors that can support and guide the rest of the team in discovering the benefits of your new technology.

Step 3: Deliver Incentives for Continued Education

Finally, it’s important to remember that introducing technology into the business landscape isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it concept. You’ll need to start from the foundations, ensuring that existing employees have the basic knowledge they need to thrive.

For instance, if your staff doesn’t know how to conduct a virus check on their computer, they’re going to have a hard time using a data analytics tool.

Once you’ve got the foundations in place for the right knowledge in your workforce, you can then begin to build on specific insights into topics that are relevant and important to your organization.

Even when you think that everyone is at the right level of education for what you need, you should be continuing to incentivize your employees to continue their education.

When employees further their education, everyone benefits.

Your company gets a workforce that’s more productive and versatile. At the same time, generous educational policies could help reduce turnover and attract some of the most exceptional new talents in the years to come.

Remember, leading companies like AT&T, Disney, and Chipotle all help out with education expenses for their employees.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership eBooks

Learn more about the skills you need to be an effective leader.

Our eBooks are ideal for new and experienced leaders and are full of easy-to-follow practical information to help you to develop your leadership skills.

Invest in Education for your Employees

As the skills gap in the technology landscape continues to affect companies in all industries, no brand can afford to take risks with their staff’s education.

Fail to provide your employees with the right training in the tech landscape, and you don’t just have issues with underperformance to worry about.

Employees that don’t know how to handle sensitive data and technology correctly can end up making dangerous mistakes that lead to wasted resources, poor use of time, and even significant data breaches.

All of these things come together to cost your company a lot of time and money in the long-term.

In an age where digital transformation is affecting businesses from all backgrounds, it’s vital to ensure that your team members are ready to embrace the digital landscape. If you haven’t invested in the right training solution yet, now’s the time to get started.

About the Author

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech.