How to Upskill Your Workforce and Reduce the Talent Gap

If you have a talent gap in your organization, you don’t necessarily need to hire new staff to fill it. Hiring is not an option for many companies at the moment, with many businesses having a hiring freeze in full effect. To reduce the talent gap, you can instead upskill your current workforce.

What is A Talent Gap?

A talent gap refers to any skill your organization is currently lacking, but that it needs to have. This is not likely due to any particular staff member, but instead a general lack of knowledge or ability amongst your company as a whole. If your company has identified a talent gap, it is the HR department’s responsibility to rectify this. They may choose to look for that skill in new hires if you have roles available at the moment. Otherwise, they may decide that it is an ability that your existing staff need and work to upskill current team members.

If you have an ongoing talent gap, this can affect your organizational outcomes and prevent the company from achieving its goals. It can have an effect on morale as staff feel that they cannot meet the company’s needs. That’s why it is essential to resolve a talent gap as soon as you notice it.

Talent Gap Analysis

The first thing you will want to do after noticing a talent gap is to conduct a talent gap analysis. This will delve into what skills are currently held in your organization and which need to be built upon. It analyzes the gap between the skills you aspire to have in the company and which you currently have.

This allows you to then develop a plan to address the gaps. This can be done through training current staff members or hiring people with the talents you need in your company. Many businesses choose to upskill their workforce rather than hire new people, as there are many benefits that come with upskilling your staff. This method can be cheaper, promote staff engagement, and motivate your employees. It can also improve retention, as your team will be pleased to know that you want to invest in their skill development.

Ideas to Upskill Your Workforce

Talent gaps can be filled through various methods. Below is a list of just a few of the many options you have for upskilling your workforce.

How to Upskill Your Workforce and Reduce the Talent Gap

Create Personal Development Plans

If your employees don’t currently have personal development plans, it’s about time that they did. Managers should co-create a personal development plan with each of their staff members that includes some training to cover any talent gaps in the business. By asking staff what they want to learn, this fosters engagement in learning. The participants are more likely to pay attention during training and implement what they learn when they have a say in what courses they attend. By putting each person in charge of their own skill development, you are offering them autonomy over their learning.

Start a Mentoring Program

Mentoring programs are excellent at training up newer or younger employees in the skills they will need to progress their careers. They have the added benefit of being rewarding for the mentor as well, as they get to pass on their knowledge to someone else.

If you have some employees who have the skill identified by your talent gap, you can team them up to teach this to other staff members. One inquiry by Forbes found that up to 70% of companies in the Fortune 500 have a mentoring program in place. These companies know that connecting experienced people with those who want to gain new skills can be profitable for the business.


Microlearning refers to extremely short, bite-sized courses that your staff can take to upskill. The lessons are often just three to six minutes long, making them ideal to complete throughout the workday. Many staff find these easier to get done than taking a full day out of the office for a course. Instead, they can simply fit these sessions into their workday. The training is completed online, at your desk, so it’s easy to access and complete.


Managers who micromanage often find that far less gets done in their team than other groups whose manager adopts a different approach. One management style that works well for addressing skill gaps is coaching.

A manager can coach their staff to build a learning environment. Asking coaching questions rather than disciplining staff can help people to learn from their mistakes and increase their knowledge and abilities in the workplace. This can help to foster learning and address a particular talent gap if the manager has experience in that area.

Offer Training Time

If you want your employees to undergo training, you need to pay for their time. Some of the most successful organizations offer paid training time to their staff. Whenever an employee wants to attend a course related to their job, they are offered paid time to go. This motivates people to want to learn and also helps the company to address any gaps in knowledge or skill.

Implementation Plan

It’s not enough for your team to just learn the knowledge they require. It’s not useful to you unless they actually take that next step and implement it in the workplace. That’s why implementation plans are so helpful. An implementation plan is a post-training plan for how the person will start using their new skills in their job. This encourages people to put their learning into action, which is when it starts to actually benefit the company.

If you want to reduce the talent gap at your company, you should investigate the option of upskilling your staff. This can increase engagement and result in more satisfied employees. Offer them paid time to learn new skills, create a personal development plan, and adopt an employee mentoring program. These are some of the ways that you can effectively address a talent gap so that your company can once again start achieving its goals.


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