Workforce Planning: Part 4 – Conducting a Workforce Gap Analysis

13 mins read

This article is written to provide you with the details on how to conduct a Workforce Gap Analysis, which supports a businesses planned strategic direction.

In part 3 of this series, we provided you with the details around identifying your workforce’s potential gaps as it relates to the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOTs). In this article, we are going to discuss conducting a gap analysis as it relates to your employee’s talents, skill-sets, and capabilities. Conducting a gap analysis is split into 5 manageable steps:

1. Identify Your Workforce’s Talents and Tasks
2. Identify the Gaps
3. Analyze the Results
4. Understand the Gap
5. Determine an Action Plan

It is important to this gap analysis process to have all your employee’s resumes and job descriptions available, this way you can identity, analyze, and compare what your current workforces’ talents, skill-sets, capabilities, and job duties are.

Since employees are typically the most expensive individual assets that a business has, we suggest conducting this analysis which can help determine the utilization of your manpower to the best of their abilities! In most instances, employees can be internally trained, which can reduce unnecessary payroll costs incurred by hiring additional workforce support.

Pro Tip: Have your business leaders conduct a SWOT Analysis on their teams. This way it helps them and you to understand what each teams’ SWOTs are.

Conducting a Gap Analysis

Generally, gap analysis is done when the business has experienced a shortcoming that has affected the smooth running of its daily operations, which can be considered a reactive behaviour.

We want you to achieve success from the beginning!

This is why we recommend taking the proactive approach and start conducting a workforce gap analysis annually, as this leading practice allows businesses and their leaders to take control and understand what areas they can improve on as it relates to their workforces’ talents, skill-sets, capabilities, and job duties.

When putting together your gap analysis document, it is always best to create a single workbook which captures all data gathered in a centralized location. This way you only need to maintain and work from one workbook instead of multiple ones.

From my previous experience, it was very inefficient to work with various workbooks for the same process, as I was either continuously switching between documents or ended up creating a new workbook which compiled all the information together from the various other workbooks.

So why not eliminate the inefficiency from the start and create a single workbook that can do it all!

Below, you will be able to download our Gap Analysis Workbook where you will find an Employee Information and Talent, Skill-set, Capabilities tabs. Each tab is intended to capture the respected data gathered during a workforce gap analysis, which is used as a resource tool for your planned strategic direction.

Step 1: Identify Your Workforce’s Talents and Tasks

In this step, you are going to gather quantifiable information from your employee’s resumes to get a better understanding of what talents, skill-sets, and capabilities they have.

Pro Tip: To ensure you stay ahead of the race and are not left scrambling at the last minute to gather this information, it would be best practice to begin capturing these details at the time of hiring employees.

While you are completing this step, it is important to ask yourself questions like:

    • Am I aware of the current workforce’s talents, skill-sets, and capabilities?
    • Do I have all their resumes on file, so I can conduct an effective gap analysis?
    • What key information am I looking for in their resumes?
    • Are there any unique talents or skill-sets which could be beneficial down the road?

In addition to this, it would be beneficial to also capture each employee’s top job responsibilities. This way you are made aware of what their current workload consists of, which will be useful to know down the road as you continue your gap analysis.

Once you have all the available documents in place, it is time to capture the information in the Gap Analysis Workbook on the Employee Information tab.

Please keep in mind that the downloadable Gap Analysis Workbook is a general template intended to guide you through the process, depending on your businesses requirements you may need to make changes to the template. If you need technical support with this workbook, please speak with a BIG Representative or watch out for one of our video tutorials on conditional formatting in excel.

Step 2: Identify the Gaps

In this step you are going to identify where the gaps are with what you identified in Step 1 of this process.

We recommend continuing to use the same Gap Analysis Workbook, as you are able to keep the process and data gathered in a centralized location for usability.

The outcome of this step is to provide you with further insight on your businesses current state, allowing you to begin thinking about solutions for filling in those gaps so your business has an increased chance of achieving its overall goals and objectives.

Step 3: Analyze the Results

Using the same workbook, you are going to analyze the outcomes from Step 1 and 2 of this process, using what you identified in Part 3 of this series as a guide to your analysis. When it comes to this step you are analyzing your workforces’ talents, skill-sets, capabilities, and duties; it is important to ask yourself questions like:

    • Are the identified Workforce Talents and Tasks and Gaps quantifiable?
    • Are the identified gaps in talents, skill-sets, and capabilities needed for the short-term or long-term?
    • Is there opportunity to train and develop the current employees to support filling in the gaps?
    • Are there employees who have room in their current workload to take on more responsibilities?
    • Do I have development plans in place for employees who could be a great fit for another role?
    • Is there a succession plan in place for those planning to retire in 3-5 years?
    • Is hiring additional external talent required? If so, does the work require a full-time employee to complete it? Or will the needs be met by hiring a temporary employee or consultant?

Once you have analyzed the results, you can review what your current state is at today and determine where you need to begin for improvement.

Please keep in mind that you do not have to do this alone! Involve your leadership team and other stakeholders in the process, so you can get input and qualitative feedback on what they have and may need for the future, using the information you gathered in LINK2 part 3 of this series as a guide.

Step 4: Understand the Gap

Now that you have identified and analyzed the gaps, you will have a better understanding of what your current state is. In this step, you will capture all data in the Talent, Skill-set, Capabilities tab; comparing your workforce’s current state with where you need to be, always referring back to what was identified in part 3 of this series as a guiding tool – Workforce Planning: Part 3 – Identifying Potential Gaps.

As you are completing your comparative analysis, you are becoming visually aware of the gaps, allowing you to source out solutions to close those gaps. When it comes to completing your analysis, we recommend including the areas which do not have any gaps, this ensures that your report has complete information and tells the full story.

Regardless of how big or small those gaps are, it is important that you plan ahead to fill those gaps, so they do not become a larger problem down the road.

Step 5: Determine an Action Plan

Now it is time to put everything together to determine your plan of action to bridge the gaps in your workforce plan. With clarity on the obstacles you face, you can go down your list and begin planning on how you are going to execute the solutions.

This can be done by putting together a development plan for your current employees to be cross-trained, to move into a new role, or adding new positions to your staffing plan; all of which is intended to support your businesses overall strategic direction.

Now, completing these steps may seem daunting and, in some cases, tedious; however, once you begin incorporating theory into practice, you will notice that this process is quite simple… especially when you have everything in order and ready to go!

Conducting a gap analysis is meant to bring awareness to your workforce’s current state, which identifies what potential support your business may require for the future. Before you begin putting together a workforce plan (staffing plan), you want to ensure you have all your ducks in a row and are utilizing your current workforce before you begin creating new positions and hiring additional staff.

Now that you understand the importance of identifying potential gaps in your workforce relating to the business’s current state and how to conduct a workforce gap analysis, stay tuned for part 5 of this series when we discuss the fifth manageable step to take to make sure your strategic workforce plan is effective, which is Creating a Plan.

Download our Workforce Planning – Gap Analysis Workbook and Guide Package (zip).

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Visit our Resource Library for all available downloads.

If you require assistance with any of the guides, forms or templates, please contact a BIG representative.

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