Skills mapping isn’t a common practice in most businesses, but it’s one we often recommend. It’s a strategic activity that can help businesses of any size better understand the skills they need to succeed and how their current (and future) workforce can help provide those skills.
All too often, we’ve worked with business owners who know they need a change in staffing but they’re hesitant to let a toxic or under-performing employee go because of a specific skill they offer. That challenging employee likely knows they have a valuable skill and therefore feels pretty secure in their job, so they don’t worry too much if they’re creating problems. But that scenario definitely drives away other valuable employees.
So the question becomes: Are you really as tied to that one employee’s skills as you think? What other resources do you have?
Maybe the challenge you face isn’t a difficult employee, but rather a desire to grow your team but you aren’t quite sure where to start.
In either scenario, a skills map of your needs and of your current team can be incredibly helpful. Skills mapping creates a grid of the skills necessary to run your business compared to the skills your team possesses. It allows you to identify where your employees fit in your company, how to best utilize them, and where you may need to add staff to ensure coverage of all identified skills.
Skills mapping is a tool any business can and should utilize to evaluate staffing needs and eliminate blind spots. When emergencies or unexpected situations arise for one employee, it helps us identify who can step in and perform their duties while they are away. It also helps identify vulnerable spots in your organization.
If your company has current job descriptions, that’s a good place to begin your skills map. Use the job descriptions to create a list of all the skills your company needs to operate, then consider any areas that may have been missed in the job descriptions. Once you have the list, you know all the skills your company needs.
Next, it’s time to identify the skills your employees bring to the table. Share the list of needed skills with your team and ask them to check any skills they possess, plus write any additional skills beyond what you’ve already identified. You may be surprised to learn that some of your employees have skills you weren’t aware of. They might be skills outside the scope of their current position and perhaps even skills they would love to use.
Once you have a barometer of what skills you need and where your current employees fit, you will have a clear picture of your strengths and opportunities in terms of skills. The next step is identifying untapped skills in your current workforce and looking for opportunities to cross-train employees or help them expand their skills. Or, in some cases, you may need to hire someone new to fill a specific gap.
With a completed skills map, you can work toward making sure all of your skills are covered by more than one employee to increase your company’s overall stability. And you’ll learn a lot in the process, too!
If you need help completing a skills map for your company, contact WhyHR today for a consultation.