Technology Skill Gaps

In the past 12-15 months there has been massive change in how organizations work with and interact with technology.  For many organizations it has bought to the fore the importance of building capability and closing skill gaps.

A recent McKinsey survey reported organizations increased skill building during the pandemic.  The need for basic digital skills was 16 points higher than McKinsey’s 2019 survey.  Some industries might be viewed as more “advanced” in how they use technology, but the generic “level” is just that, generic and subjective. 

When I present Excel programs (by far my most in-demand virtual and in-person topic right now!), in pre-session surveys, participants will regularly categorize themselves as ‘advanced’. 

But what does ‘advanced’ really mean? 

For many, this categorization is simply a comparison against what they think they know, and all they think Excel can do; or it might be in comparison to the skills of others in their organization.  It is all arbitrary and subjective.

In my experience, categorizing Excel users this way puts them in a “box” and often constrains their view of what they perceive they can or can’t do.  It sets up a competitive framework.  Are they the best, the worst or in between? 

Reality is, it does not matter!

What really matters is do they have the skills, knowledge, and attributes to fulfill their job function effectively.  Sometimes the skills they require may be obvious; they need to know how to better analyse data in Excel; other times you may be relying on performance reviews discussions to identify technology skills gaps.

The best way to address technology skills gaps is to stop them becoming gaps in the first place!  This can be done by providing regular opportunities for you and your team to learn new skills that can help improve you work with Excel and create opportunities to share, collaborate and problem solve.  It does not have to be hard; but it does need to be consistent.

What are you doing to build on knowledge and minimise skill gaps for yourself and your team?

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