How Can Leadership Development Reduce Employee Skill Gaps?

By Lou Solomon

Home / Interact Studio Stories & Articles / How Can Leadership Development Reduce Employee Skill Gaps?

man in black formal suit jacket and pants carrying black bag while walking on pedestrian lane during daytimeAlmost three-quarters of Millennial and Gen Z workers plan to quit their jobs due to a lack of skills-building and leadership development opportunities. The Workplace Intelligence study is another wake-up call for employers.

There’s more:

  • 78% fear they lack the skills to advance their career
  • 71% are concerned they lack the education to advance their career
  • 58% are worried their skills are already outdated
  • 70% feel unprepared for the future of work

Today, career security is relative to the skills an individual needs to advance their career, not tenure and retirement traditions.

A “skill gap” hurts the organization on two fronts. Not only do you lose good talent, but the workforce that remains becomes disengaged and lacks all the necessary skills for your business to reach its goals. The result is decreased productivity, increased errors, and reduced customer satisfaction, significantly impacting your bottom line.

It’s no secret that the U.S. trails global competitors in producing tech workers, many of whom work at U.S.-based powerhouses like Google, Meta, and Apple. Suppose your business is in the digital sector. In that case, you are facing the challenge of recruiting workers with technology skills, such as coding, app development, software development, manufacturing, AI, and cybersecurity, which are non-negotiable.

Leadership Development Helps Eliminate Skill Gaps

However, the absence of a leader who can articulate a vision and create buy-in from others is just as devastating. Managers and supervisors who don’t know how to build employee trust will take an organization down.

A study by Development Dimensions International (DDI) suggests that 57% of people have quit because of their boss — and 37% reported that they’ve considered leaving because of their manager, supervisor, or leader.

So, what do bad bosses do to send people out the door? They don’t communicate well, if at all. They micromanage or fail to provide feedback and guidance.

Here’s the thing–leaders on any level require ongoing training and development. They must learn how to manage, connect with, and grow talent, which requires authentic communication skills.

Today’s leader is the face of the team, office, division, or entire organization. Presentation and conversational skills matter. The individual who can craft and deliver a meaningful message is a lightning rod for performance.

7 Basic Steps: How to Identify Skill Gaps in the Workplace

Whether you’re already aware of the skills your workforce lacks or are just beginning to understand the extent of the problem, taking the following steps can lead to deeper insight and a clear path forward, filled with potential for growth and improvement.

1. Research your industry. It is helpful to learn the most common skill gaps in your industry and country. Then, you can examine your organization to determine if any of them apply.

2. Survey Your Department Leaders. Ask each leader of departments like HR, IT, Operations, Marketing, and Sales to identify which skills they believe are lacking in their direct reports and their teams. This information will be invaluable in designing targeted training and development programs.

two woman sitting by the window laughing3. Interview Your Employees. Team leaders should interview their employees to determine whether they have everything they need to do their jobs well. Look for themes. Ask open-ended questions that encourage employees to share their challenges, areas for improvement, and aspirations.

4. Use Your Training and Development Budget Strategically. Instead of spending money on generic training programs, you can offer customized learning paths based on each employee’s and each team’s strengths and weaknesses. This targeted approach can significantly improve employee performance, job satisfaction, and retention, ultimately benefiting the organization’s bottom line.

5. Train Current Team Members. If your team members can improve their skills, conduct training sessions to get them up to speed. More skilled and experienced employees can help teach others and build strong teams prepared for the future.

6. Invest in Leadership Development. You must prepare high-potential employees to articulate the company’s vision, core values, and strategy. As a result, new leaders are prepared to lead. This is not just about their personal growth but about empowering them to drive the success of your organization.

7. Take a New Approach to Hiring. When hiring, you can give candidates skills assessments to determine their strengths. By taking a more in-depth approach, you will attract suitable candidates. You can also examine the candidates who are applying more closely to see if they might be a fit for your company.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

It is powerful to encourage your employees to share the skills they would like to improve or obtain. This demonstrates that you care about their career progress and development.

A half-hearted, reactionary approach to Training and Development can lead to poor productivity, increased errors, and reduced customer satisfaction. Neglecting leadership development can undermine employee motivation, boost turnover rates, and make it difficult to attract top talent, which are potential risks and real threats to your business.

Typically, shortsighted leaders who don’t focus on training and development fear the expense. They worry that the investment will not be worthwhile if the employees leave after training. These leaders need to remember that performance comes from the people side of the business. The organization’s vital training and development arm will help retain the existing workforce, develop leaders, attract workers with a growth mindset, and give the company a competitive advantage.

If you’re ready to take the next step in developing your employees’ leadership and communication skills, Interact Studio is here to help. Contact us today to discuss your team and business’s unique needs.

Thanks for visiting Interact Studio!

For tips on building trust and influence, and showing up as your best
authentic self--virtually or in-person--join our mailing list

Image