What is a competence gap?
The core of the functioning of virtually every company is the ability to adapt offered services to market reality. There are human resources behind each change in a company, each brand and its image or a product and its advertisement. Development and dynamic changes within a company entail a number of consequences and new challenges for particular positions, procedures or working methods. As a result, the following question arises: do employees of a given company have suitable competences, are they capable of adapting to new rules and requirements? A competence gap occurs when employees are not capable of facing new challenges. The gap corresponds to a sum of knowledge, skills and procedures which are lacking in a company and which are necessary for the correct functioning of that company following the introduction of changes.
Assessment of the competence gap
Omitting the process of assessment of employees’ skills may cause the whole company strategy to fail. By preparing your employees for upcoming changes, you eliminate the risk of failure due to a competence gap. In order to avoid erroneous conclusions, an employer should verify the competences of his personnel. This may be a task for more than one department. In some cases, it may be necessary to use external consultants’ support. An appointed team should identify all new tasks resulting form the changes being implemented. The next objective is to distribute tasks for particular employees in such a manner, as to make it possible for them to perform their tasks according to the applicable requirements. At this stage, you need to make sure the employees are up to the new tasks. Personnel readiness can be verified in three areas: knowledge, skills and suitable attitude, i.e. motivation.
Knowledge – a key to a company’s success
Each employee should know what to do and why it needs to be done (general knowledge) as well as how particular tasks should be carried out (know-how). Each company introducing new services may lack both general information as well as a detailed description specifying the manner in which a particular task should be carried out. Knowledge is fundamental to company’s development. Without being aware of the problems and without the knowledge of the solutions, we will not be able to set the right direction for the development of the company. Knowledge gaps may be filled with outsourced support, by hiring a qualified person or by participating in additional courses and training. Improving the qualifications of your employees is beneficial for the whole company. Such employees become more effective and loyal, they also have grater understanding for the changes. By expanding the knowledge of your employees, you benefit from greater loyalty and improved understanding for the changes being introduced.
Prior to introducing changes in a company, one should consider if, and to what extent, the new solutions will require the personnel to acquire new skills. Additional training offering the chance to gain new knowledge and practical skills may become essential. Another option is to hire an employee with the desired skill set.
Motivation and attitude
It is often the case that new responsibilities make it necessary to adapt to alternative rules and conditions, which differ from the previously applicable ones. This causes stress and tension typical of situations, where people are faced with changes. While introducing transformations in your company, you need to take into account your personnel’s feelings. It is advisable to reduce the intensity of the stress causing factors. The employees must know their future and thus they should be informed about the upcoming changes. The personnel should know the reasoning behind the changes, what their nature is and what the new requirements are going to be. We recommend getting employees involved in the change process. Ask them what they would change. This will translate into better utilisation of the potential of human resources and inspire greater involvement.
How is the Integrated Qualifications System helpful?
What to do if an employee has the required skills but is unable to prove it before the employer or if his/her skills are incomplete? How to provide appropriate training in order to eliminate the risk of a competence gap? Where to find good employees with reliable qualifications? The answer and solution to this and similar problems is the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS). The IQS gathers and describes qualifications in a manner which is universally recognised throughout Europe. This way, a holder of a certificate confirming a given qualification can increase his/her chances for employment. Whereas recruiters can be certain that they are hiring the right candidates. With clearly described qualifications and a system for their acknowledgement, it becomes easier to organise suitable training, refer employees to courses or to identify the qualification an employee must acquire in order to be promoted. By the same token, it becomes easier to bridge competence gaps in a company. Certificates may be applied for by everyone meeting the requirements applicable to a given qualification. For a complete list, please visit https://rejestr.kwalifikacje.gov.pl. A qualification description will tell you what you need to learn or train in order to have your competence acknowledged. Each candidate applying for a qualification must undergo the validation process, i.e. a process of assessment of candidate’s skills. The process is conducted by experts in a given field. Thus, the IQS provides an opportunity for those who want to strengthen their position on the labour market and for employers seeking qualified personnel.