Soft Skills Assessment_Gap Analysis Opportunities to Improve Communication Skills & more
There are important steps in conducting a skill gap analysis. To be most effective, the assessment is tailored and customized to best fit each organization.
The “gap analysis” is sometimes referred to as searching for the "white space." In the marketplace analysis, as a comparison, it involves searching for unmet customer needs. In the case of soft skills, it is a process to search for "white space" where strategic investment in training and development can close the gap, better equipping the team and its members for success and growth.
The following is a sample soft skills assessment results. This sample gap analysis is a portion that was focused on the “communication” portion of the assessment. A similar output would be available for each of the categories, such as teamwork, leadership skills, customer service, etc.
Output from the ATC Gap analysis is very powerful. It provides leaders with a visual snapshot of where the potential opportunities exist to increase the skills of team members. The leader can combine this data with his or her insight into future company requirements in order to make solid decisions on where to invest training and development resources. From our example above, it seems that professionals on the team need improvement in presenting information virtually. If the leaders also know that virtual presentations to customers will become critical as travel budgets are tightening, it might be a timely decision to iniciate training in this area of communication and presentation.
The Analysis Process
To arrive at gap findings that are accurate and valuable, ATC uses a two phase gap analysis approach.
Phase one is the "qualitative" process – it is a professional consultation with leaders and members of the group to gather input and opinions on what is important and what the assessment should be measuring. ATC provides the starting framework with a gap analysis template that covers the categories of "soft skills." ATC’s professional facilitators and curriculum designers work directly with you to apply group specific insights into our framework. We ask open-ended questions and listen to stories in order to calibrate what we will be measuring. We adjust terminology in ways that best match your culture and organization. In some cases we will use measures of key behaviors rather that general quality metrics if that will be more valuable in the survey process.
Phase two is the "quantitative" process – the customized survey is administered on-line, data collected and then reported to the leaders. If you would like to experience a brief segment of the soft skills assessment for the “communication skills” category, click here and actually try a sample of questions.
Drilling deeper – in some cases the survey results identify an important opportunity, but the actual current skill levels require focused examination. Professional Business Writing is a good example of a communication soft skill that is critical for many organizations. The survey puts a spot light on the “gap” and opportunity, but we will then perform a skills assessment to better quantify what specific writing skills and language knowledge are most needed.
These phases of the research are then followed by the decision making process. At this point, ATC can provide you with insights on training and development options and learning methodologies. In this step you can apply the information in order to decide what investment in training and development will be made. What will yield the best ROI and meet the current and projected skill needs?