With more companies seeing the benefits of Apprenticeships across all levels of business, its key this message is relayed in the correct way to your line managers. It is vital to making sure that your company is highlighting the right areas to spend your apprenticeship levy.
If your Managers are not even looking at skills gaps or areas for expansion requiring new skills, then your business will be the one to lose out. Business Administration to Accountancy departments, your line managers, could be on the receiving end of the benefits of Apprenticeships, helping to increase the skill level within their teams or opening up for an area of possible automation with the help of new skills.
So where do you start? Creating an environment in which everyone has the freedom and comfort to think and approach problems in their way can give employees a sense of belonging that will lead to better creativity and engagement across the company.
Sharing and engaging with your managers not only gives them perspective about how their efforts fit into the big picture. It also drives organisational success and increases the odds that they will share their unique insights and ideas with you.
In increasingly diverse workplaces going forward, winning organisations will grasp the enormous value of engaging their middle management team as their catalyst for significant success.
How to highlight a skills gap within your team
Having a plan in place for a new process will help for smoother integration into your business, led by your senior management team (SLT). This will help your SLT set out the right actions and tasks when needed to keep up the momentum and help ensure that apprenticeships are a part of your business ethos going forward.
When looking to plan this within their teams, they will need to ensure they are putting in place ways to check for and monitor for skills gaps within their team; this can be done via a skills gap analysis:
Step 1: perform a skills gap analysis
This can be done on two levels:
Staff members: Look at each member of your team and identify the skills a job requires and compare them to the staff member’s actual skill level
Company/team: You can assess if your staff members have the right skills needed to complete their current roles and any future projects will need to be a check to see if there will be new skills required. All this information can be used to help you target your employee training programmes to develop the skills needed.
Step 2: Identify what skills are going to be needed
Sometimes a skills gap is highlighted during the recruitment process, but with some employers arguing that skills gaps are a product of unrealistic expectations. Only you and your team will be able to decide, but you can start out by asking the following questions.
What skills do we value as a company?
What skills will we need with our teams to not only do our current roles but plan for growth/expansion?
Take into consideration your team’s job descriptions, company values and business objectives. What skills will be needed by your business in the coming years and on future projects? Sit down and talk with your team, they will be able to tell you what skills they are lacking and have ideas on areas for expansion and growth. Their insights could prove invaluable and involving your employees will help them feel that they’re contributing to your company’s growth.
Step 3: Measure current skills
Using staff reviews, surveys and meetings to gain data on the current skill levels of all teams, using this information to measure skill levels.
There is even skill gap analysis software that has been designed to read all your data to make the whole process less time-consuming and more cost-effective.
Step 4: Take the data and make good use of it.
There will be two ways you can approach achieving your goals: training and hiring. Decide which approach (or combination) works best for each skill gap.
Train your team
Deciding to upskill your current team is an excellent way of showing your commitment to their continuing personal development.
Hire new team members
With upskilling existing team members not always being an option, you may find that hiring to train and fill the skills gap is best for your business.
Step 5: Decide which Apprenticeships will do the job
With Apprenticeships available across all areas of business it can cause a disconnect when your recruitment team start the hiring process, the first thing your team will need to do is speak with your line managers and from the list they provide, arrange a meeting with your Apprenticeship training provider.
A discussion will need to take place on how your Apprenticeship training provider can help you develop a bespoke training programme to meet your needs.
The impact of this on business progression and development planning
- New skills & Efficiency impact
Both new skills and efficient are things that will be noted by your management team as part of a new daily project or planning towards future tasks. Your managers are the best people to see how and where these new skills and knowledge will be put to best use.
If you take advantage of the Skills gap analytics tools, this will be able to show if the skills gap still exists, if it is shown to be again highlighting the same areas you will be able to refer to that team member’s manager. Seek to find out if they are just not utilising the new skills within their team or request a skill performance evaluation on the staff member.
While on an Apprenticeships you will have the full support of your Apprenticeship Training provider and their team of skilled tutors, so if you find that a staff member is having an issue adjusting to the new training or is not continuing to develop these skills within the working environment your Apprenticeship training provider can help.
Sometimes, asking your employee directly (e.g. through a training evaluation questionnaire) will give you surprisingly good insight on such issues.
One obvious way to check for differences in efficiency is by comparing the before and after of various operational metrics. That could be, for example, Administrations tasks completed per hour (Business Administration staff members), successfully concluded calls (Telephone/support centre staff), etc. Again, to evaluate the impact of your employee training program, you will need to have a baseline to compare, so we suggest that you start building your list of trackable operation metrics before you start your training programme.
- Economic impact
The real effect of filling a skills gap will be the financial impact your business sees in its revenue because of the change.
Unfortunately, this will be one of your hardest to track and yet most important, since there are numerous aspects to be eliminated or taken into account to gain an accurate picture. (With shifts in a marketplace or even season influences all being possible contributing factors to a visible increase.)
You can still obtain an approximation of these, by checking the effect on your revenue of things like the productivity and workflow improvements, a faster delivery system, project completions or employee retention increase resulting in a reduction in recruitment spend, as examples, will all be directly linked in any increased revenue.
Other training-related changes might affect a different part of the logistics of your production, resulting in increased efficiencies, etc.
Once you’ve identified a quantifiable change, it’s usually quite easy to translate it into changes in revenue. Adding all of these up, and compensating for seasonal fluctuations and market factors will give you a rough idea of the impact of your training program in your company’s bottom line.
Take everything and improve on it
Once you have a process in place to review, highlight and resolve skill gaps, this will need to be set as part of your business planning and development plans going forward. Each time this process is used by your Managers, it will become further ingrained until your business is no longer looking for ways to fill skills gaps, but how to create new ones for future expansion and growth.
If you are interested in learning more about upskilling or recruiting an apprentice, helping them gain valuable work experience and nationally recognised qualifications please contact us on 0800 783 2545, talk to our customer service using the live chat service.