You can train sales teams and employees until you’re blue in the face. You can send assessments to your workforce until they all have perfect scores. But how do you analyze real business skills like confidence and clarity?

Top performers have it all, but you can identify and develop skill gaps in all employees.Top performers have it all: they are able to communicate product knowledge in a way that’s clear, confident, and enthusiastic. You may have recently hired a great learner–an employee who knows your offerings inside and out–but without the skills possessed by top performers your new hire may fail to meet goals.

Skill training often comes after knowledge training, but the most effective training professionals incorporate performance goals into content and discover results like improved employee moral, engagement and retention, and business performance.

I’ll go into more detail next week, but you can get started on the first two steps now!

Identify Goals
Preparing a training plan to address skill gaps means starting at the end result. Identify clear goals, for example increasing the overall clarity of sales or customer service reps delivering a key message. To reach our goal of increasing clarity, we’ll want to start by collecting data.

Collect Data
Data comes in all shapes and sizes when evaluating a skill like clarity. Some methods of collection will give you a general idea, like polling your team to self-evaluate their grasp on the key message. Managers should then be asked to weigh in on the self-evaluation to provide their observations. Other methods, like role-playing will give you a more detailed view.

These two steps are critical to identifying skill gaps in your employees. Start here and then check back next week to learn how to roll out skills training to your workforce and maximize everyone’s potential.