Addressing Skill Gaps for New Hires
How you can help outstanding new hires succeed in their new role.
Skill gaps are not what they used to be
For years, the prevailing wisdom was that both employment gaps and skill gaps on a résumé were insurmountable obstacles.
But that’s no longer the case. As the culture of work has adapted to a less rigid framework for career development and advancement, hiring managers are recognizing the benefit of selecting the best overall candidate and filling in any skill gaps after the fact. Online learning platforms can be ideal solutions for onboarding in these scenarios.
Why skills gaps are more common
We’re in the midst of a technology boom that doesn’t show any signs of slowing. Solutions powered by innovations like AI and machine learning are changing the way business gets done across all sectors.
With innovation comes a whole new set of skills around the implementation and operation of these solutions.
LinkedIn found that since 2015, the skill set requirements for jobs have changed by roughly 25%, a number that is expected to double by 2027.
25% change in skill sets for jobs since 2015
50% projected change in skill sets for jobs by 2027
Keeping pace with these changes already poses a challenge to organizations. Jobs are evolving and so are the skills needed to do them well.
Gen Z and the skills gap
It’s a mistake to assume that Gen Z’s rising numbers in the workforce will close this technology skills gap.
Even though they are the first truly digital-native generation, they still need to be taught how the technology they use is created, deployed, or used to transform industry.
As education struggles to catch up to the speed of technology, the skills gap will continue.
Exacerbating this lag is a drop in enrollment at four-year institutions. Due to the exorbitant cost of higher education and complicated by the pandemic, there was a 6.6% drop in undergraduate enrollment between 2019 and 2021, according to Fast Company.
This is why individual organizations need to augment worker skills with their own learning and development (L&D) programs.
Why onboarding is the best time to close the skills gap
The onboarding period for new hires is the optimal time to demonstrate you are invested in their success.
Employees want an onboarding process that helps them reduce the learning curve in becoming an effective, contributing team member. This is why 75% of companies include skills training in their onboarding programs.
What happens during the onboarding process can make or break a new employee relationship.
Within the first week on the job, 33% of employees know whether they want to stay with the company long-term.
Employees who don’t feel they can achieve their career goals with their new employer are about 30 times more likely to consider leaving.
By contrast, new employees are 2.8x more likely to say they have the best job after a strong onboarding process, according to Gallup.
Make learning an essential part of onboarding
“Your employees have an innate human drive to learn. It's their desire to satisfy their curiosity. Businesses that are smart prioritize this by empowering a learning culture in myriad ways.”
Establishing a clear culture of learning during the onboarding process sets up your new hire for personal success and a faster time to productivity.
According to LinkedIn’s Complete 60-Day Onboarding Checklist for New Hires, conversations about training should take place as soon as the second day.
Identify new hire skill gaps
Conducting a skills inventory and discussing short-term goals with your new hire will help you zero in on the best course of action for closing skill gaps.
This should reduce some of the new-hire jitters and reassure your employee that you are ready to help them do their best in their new position.
Create a learning plan together
Closing some skill gaps may require specialized training, while others can be addressed through self-directed learning platforms like LinkedIn Learning.
It is crucial that the training meets your new hire's needs. Overtraining can be a waste of L&D budget, while undertraining might leave your new hire more frustrated than they were before.
Consider collaborative upskilling for current and new employees
Some skill-building can work better as a collaborative endeavor. If you are onboarding a new technology at the same time as a new hire, it may be more beneficial to train the whole team together so they can communicate in a common language and have a shared understanding of how the system works.