The Route to Identifying Competency Gaps at the Workplace

Competencies can be understood as a set of skills and knowledge components that employees need to possess to deliver optimum performance for the company. Now, the lack of such competencies is what one may call competency gap and it can prove to be potentially dangerous for the organization, resultant of non-performance issues. If competency gaps exist in the workforce, they must be identified and corrected over time. Read on to know how to identify competency gaps at the workplace-

Assessment of employees

Employees can go through various forms of assessment for a holistic understanding of present competencies and competency gaps. As a manager or supervisor, you can present simulations and role play situations to the employees to assess them based on what their response would be. Consider both written and practical tests as forms of assessment for a well-rounded understanding.

Setting appropriate benchmarks

Based on the best performers of your organization, you can determine the best standards or benchmarks that employees should be working according to. That way, you can then make a comparison between these requisite competencies and the ones your employees have currently, and train them accordingly. Once you have used these competencies as a tried and tested standard, your practices of hiring and retention can also be based on the same.

Determining KPIs

KPIs are Key Performance Indicators, which if you observe carefully, will yield results regarding competencies that need to be worked upon. Keep an eye on performance patterns in general; it’ll give you an idea of what is going wrong with the current processes, and what competencies are needed. Moreover, if certain employees are experiencing issues with their KPIs, you will be able to spot such situations and rectify them quickly, for optimal performance.

Directly observing employees

If you are trying to identify competency gaps and are attempting to correct them as such, observation is an excellent practice. The concept behind this is to observe the employee in a natural, non-manipulated work environment as he or she goes about the daily tasks. This will help you gain insight that you won’t obtain via formal assessments and feedback. It is also helpful as a regular process that can be used through the year.

Using 360-degree feedback

The idea behind 360-degree appraisal or feedback is that everyone in the organization, who works with the employee, reviews his or her performance as well as other aspects such as professional behavior. This method will give you useful information on what the employee excels at, and what his or her weak points might be. Getting such feedback from the employees themselves is also important, as it determines the competencies they feel they lack or would like to improve on.

Keep in mind that depending on the need of the hour, you will need to make variations in the process used to identify and correct competency gaps. Where quantitative data based methods might not work, a more personal, qualitative approach might. Remember the above steps and enjoy the results of optimized competency use at your workplace!



Competency gaps can be detrimental to the success of any organization, so it is important to identify and work upon them at the right time. Employee assessment, benchmark setting, KPI determination, usage of 360-degree feedback and other such activities can help organizations to identify the competency gaps, if any exist.

Reshali Balasubramaniam

Head of HR, HR Counselor and adviser at and EFutureTech Systems. Submit your resume online and be contacted by prospective employers.

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