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Hiring top talent is critical to business success. But how will you know what skillsets you should be recruiting for? What can you do to discover the areas in which your business is lacking? One highly effective method is to carry out a skills audit. Here, we discuss what a skills audit is and how to execute one.

What is a skills audit?

A skills audit is an assessment of the skills that the members of a company or an organisation’s workforce have. A skills audit will usually take place over a set short period of time, ideally resulting in a comprehensive skills snapshot that might be periodically repeated and updated. Skills audits often involve questionnaires, surveys, and interviews conducted among a workforce. 

Why should you carry out a skills audit?

In any company and organisation, it’s vital to understand the skill sets of your employees and contributors, and to identify any skills gaps that might need addressing with measures such as further recruitment or training.
Here are a few scenarios in which a skills audit might be a necessary:

  • A skills audit might be conducted because your company or a department within it is not hitting targets, indicating that an improvement plan is needed. 
  • A company might conduct a skills audit when staff move between departments, or when there are new recruits. This will help create the best workplace fit and identify skills gaps between the new positions, those taking the roles, and the department’s needs. 
  • A skills audit might take place as part of a standard annual performance review or other planned landmark.

It’s important to encourage the view among your workforce that a skills audit is not simply a method of uncovering deficiencies, or something that should be feared from a performance point of view.

They can be useful in identifying potential paths forward for both employee and company improvement and help stimulate enthusiasm for further training and career development. They can help with succession planning, promotion prospects, internal department moves and team expansion, as well as helping staff stay motivated, utilise their expertise, competencies and education, and maintain focus.
You might carry out a skills audit simply because it’s healthy to have deep, up to date knowledge of the skills your company’s staff have, to ensure they match the firm’s business goals by contributing to a fully-qualified workforce.

Or you might be researching how to conduct a skills audit because your company is working on a new project or contract that requires a specific set of skills to fulfil. Either way, this guide will provide a quick and easy template to get it done. 

How to conduct a skills audit

The process often requires surveys, questionnaires and data analysis, so before deciding on exactly how to do a skills audit, you should check that the members of the skills audit team are competent and organised with regard to administration ability.
Methods will vary between companies, depending on factors such as size and sector, but as a starting point, a skills audit template is as follows.

A basic skills audit template

1. Ensure you have the resources you need for processes such as surveys and data analysis, plus backing from the board or senior management.

Your skills survey may lead to changes being implemented in your company, so it’s important that staff understand that it is being conducted with authority and top-level buy-in.
2. Compile a list of roles in the company, or in the work team for a project, including information about the departments they sit in.
3. Note down the skills required for each of the roles you’ve listed in the previous step.

This can be considered part of a ‘competency framework’: a structure that helps you understand the link between members of the workforce, their roles, and the wider organisation.
4. Tell staff about the skills audit in an open, communicative way.

Explain the reasons for the skills audit. If appropriate, explain that it is potentially an opportunity for development and progression. If the skills audit involves a large number of staff, you may want to appoint sub-managers as communication points for staff with questions.

You could pull up a skills audit example from a previous audit round, to help show staff the process and results.
5. Compile a survey and/or questionnaire for each staffer to take.

These should be designed to comprehensively list the skills and skill levels they have, relevant to their role and the company or the specific project or contract.

6. Collect and analyse your skills audit data, examining any gaps found between required skills for the company or its projects.

You may want to conduct interviews shortly after this stage, if you require deeper information than the surveys or questionnaires provided.

Moving forward from your skills audit

Once you have followed the steps in the skills audit template you decide on, you should be ready to plan actions based on the results. This could be training, either individually or collectively, if wider skills gaps are found. It could be in a recruitment drive, or identifying a need for temporary staff hires to plug skills gaps for certain projects. It could also be changing up department staff rosters and potential internal moves.

Information from a skills audit can sometimes be looked at in conjunction with results from other processes such as a 360 degree appraisal: a method of discovering employees’ views on wider employee behaviour.

Once you’ve implement such changes, if you have conducted a thorough skills audit, you should be in a position to better understand which skills areas need to be addressed in your company.

At PageGroup, we offer an end-to-end service to employers across a range of industries, from sourcing candidates with the right skillsets, to helping you onboard and retain them. To get in touch with one of our expert consultants, please reach out today

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