Organizational gap analysis is a process by which a business or organization identifies ways to improve performance. The "gap" in the name is what exists between present performance and a standard model or benchmark set by a similar organization. Each organization uses a variety of tools to make comparisons. Some tools involve self-assessment, and others use outside parties to conduct organizational gap analysis.
Analyzing the performance of the organization may reveal a gap in employee skills. When the organization uses benchmarking to compare its performance to that of a similar organization, it can identify best practices for increasing employee performance. Closing the gap requires developing a plan to bring employees' skill levels up to or higher than those in the organization used for comparison.
Survey research is one way to identify a gap between the organization and its competitors. For example, the organization can survey its various stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, investors and customers, to evaluate the level of customer service it provides. When the organization compares its rate of customer satisfaction with that of similar competitors, it can create a plan for closing the gap between its present level of service and a higher target level. The plan must include specific ways in which employees will individually and collectively increase the rate of customer satisfaction.
Another key aspect of the organization that can reveal an important gap is its organizational climate. Through assessment of managers and employees, as well as people outside the organization, the organization can identify the quality of the work environment. A study might include items such as employee empowerment, employee perception of management, competitiveness of compensation and benefits, and general working conditions. When gaps are found between the organization's climate and that of other similar organizations, the management and employees can work together to develop ways to improve the working environment. Satisfied employees produce better results, and turnover decreases when the organizational environment improves.
The organization may study in depth how successful its managers are at leading employees toward achievement of short-term and long-term objectives. Finding out what employees and managers think assists in identifying any gaps between what people believe is possible and what outcomes are achieved. Comparing evaluations of managerial effectiveness over time also suggests managerial approaches that worked better in the past, and these practices might be considered again. Comparing the organization's level of managerial effectiveness with a standard or another organization may reveal specific management issues that require immediate attention.
Organizations can find free resources for organizational gap analysis -- including white papers, articles and downloads -- from the website TechRepublic. TechRepublic includes resources for many industries, including information technology, e-commerce, supply chain management, customer resource management, content management and HIPAA security business practices.