​No matter what industry you’re in, you’re bound to face the challenge of a skills gap at some point. A skills gap is when a gap exists between the skills of a team member and the skills required for their position. The problem here is fairly obvious: if an individual doesn’t possess the prerequisite skills needed to fulfill their daily responsibilities, they may do a subpar job in their role. So how do you, as an organization, mitigate this? One of the best ways to help address skills gaps is through online training. Let’s take a closer look at when skills gaps occur, what industries they occur in, and how online training can help you manage and overcome them.

When do gaps in skills occur?

There are several scenarios in which your organization may encounter skill gaps. While each situation can be remedied, it’s important to understand how and why you may come across each one:

Technology evolves faster than expected

There are so many ways the modern workplace is evolving. One major area is technology. Looking back 15-20 years ago, work was radically different from today. Now, much of the communication that was done in person is now performed digitally. Whether it’s the use of laptops and mobile devices, cloud computing, and cybersecurity, these are all concerns of the modern employee. These systems come with skill sets that need to be addressed. One example is cybersecurity. Employees need to be made aware of cybersecurity threats and best practices for managing those threats. Not understanding how to properly identify or respond to a phishing email scam could lead to a malicious actor compromising your organization’s network or data security. Technological skill gaps will continue to appear and evolve as new technologies are developed and implemented.

Policy or regulation changes

If a new law comes into effect, it may lead to regulatory requirements your staff needs to uphold. These skills could apply to a wide array of your employees or a specific subset. Either way, policy changes can mean your organization’s responsibilities permanently shift. To adapt to this, it may mean adopting new skills. Failure to do so could potentially lead to legal issues, penalties, or loss of reputation with your customer base.

One of your team members lacks a specific skill

Let’s say you come across a candidate for a position that has all the positive attributes you could look for in a candidate — qualifications aside. They have a positive attitude, are a fast learner, and are generally the type of person you want to become involved with your company. You may hire that person even if they don’t fit your job requirement perfectly. This can be a great way to think outside the box and add talented, motivated people to your team even if they don’t have the exact requirements you set out to find. That said, there still may be skill gaps you need to manage. You may have team members that are eminently qualified in some areas and lacking in others who you hire despite this shortcoming. They may have skill gaps that will need to be addressed during onboarding.

What industries have the biggest skills gaps?

Generally speaking, skills gaps can affect almost any industry. Industries like healthcare and finance have constantly changing technical and legal developments. Conversely, industries such as office administration can also have evolving requirements such as ethics or harassment training that need to be consistently reviewed and updated. There’s also the question of skill gaps as they pertain to softer, less technical skills. Think about someone staffing an IT help desk. That individual may know everything there is to know about managing computer hardware. But if they don’t have the customer service and communication skills to effectively work with your employees, they’ll be ineffective at their job. The answer to the question of, “Which industries are most affected by skills gaps?” is a simple one: all of them.

How does online training mitigate skills gaps?

No matter what the reason for the skills gaps you may be facing, it’s critical to develop a plan for dealing with them that ensures you’re addressing it in a way that allows your existing employees to effectively retain the information and that you have a system in place that will work for future employees who may need to use it. Online training is the best way to mitigate skills gaps for a number of reasons.

It’s flexible

Online training enables you to provide your employees with an educational platform that works for them. Online training appeals to all kinds of learning styles. Your team members can also take courses and exams at their own pace on their own schedule. You may have multiple team members who all need to partake in the training to add a new skill. Scheduling this kind of training session can often prove difficult, as everyone may have a busy calendar. With online training, you don’t have to worry about this. Everyone can learn the new skill when it is convenient for them. This is especially helpful for remote or part time workers.

You can easily customize and update it

Every industry faces changes and challenges. Your team members will no doubt need new skills in five years they may not need now. That’s why online training works: you can easily customize your learning system to fit your current needs. You can also provide updates for any new developments you’ll need to account for. With online training, you can tweak your training systems to keep up with the demands of your particular sector. You can build a system targeted at a specific group within your company or opt for training that can be cross-departmental.

It can be used for a variety of skills

Because online training is so versatile, you can apply it to a number of different skills and disciplines. For the majority of skills you may need your team members to add to their repertoire, online training can likely accommodate it. The bottom line? Skills gaps have the potential to negatively impact your organization, but online training can help you navigate around them reliably and effectively. You can provide your employees with the tools they need to do their job in a format in which they can easily retain information. The key to developing a solid online training program is having a trusted partner with you on the journey. Knowledge Anywhere can be that partner. For more on how we can help you mitigate your skills gaps, contact us today!

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