Feb 7, 2023
4 min read

How to Identify and Bridge Performance Gaps in Your Team

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The evidence from this McKinsey report points out that about 87% of companies experience some degree of a performance gap or will experience one in several years. At this point, having performance gaps means a company will face the issue of underperformance. Addressing such is crucial for reaching business objectives and ensuring every employee invests their hundred percent.

Keeping these aspects in mind, it is important to explore some critical steps for conducting a performance gap analysis to identify such gaps, determine the causes of any given performance gap, consider strategies one can employ to close performance gaps, and investigate best practices for bridging performance and skills gaps. Dealing with the gaps is crucial for bettering employee performance, meeting performance expectations, and conducting effective performance management.

Steps for identifying performance gaps

When it comes to performance gaps, these are the indications showing the difference between the performance expected of an employee and one's actual performance. Dealing with the phenomenon relies on its timely identification. Here are four steps for identifying performance and skills gaps.

Step 1. Establish clear performance goals and set reasonable expectations

The starting point is to set clear performance targets that are specific and measurable. An employee must see that a performance goal is achievable. It is easier to identify a performance gap by looking at the baseline.

Step 2. Observe and assess team member performance

With the baseline, which is a performance goal, the next step is observing and assessing team member performance. Then, you focus on the employee in question to proceed to the next step. This approach is essential to have a particular focus.

Step 3. Collect and analyze performance gaps data on individual and team performance

With the baseline and focus, it is time to start collecting and analyzing data on a person's team performance. You can use performance review software to collect data for you and analyze collected insights.

Performance review template

Step 4. Consult with team members and gather performance gap feedback

Finally, after you have the evidence that the performance gap exists, you need to share this information with team members. Have their perspective on the potential causes of the performance or skills gaps. Then, provide feedback based on pre-set performance expectations and determine how you can improve performance.

Causes of performance gaps

Knowing how to identify gaps in performance is not enough. One of the critical factors in dealing with them is determining its most common causes. Essentially, these are the most common causes of performance gaps:

  • Lack of clear performance targets and expectations
  • Insufficient employee and management training, along with insufficient resources
  • Poor team communication and challenges in collaboration
  • Personal issues or conflicts within teams

Keep a close eye on the factors above, and you will be able to address them in advance.

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Strategies for bridging performance gaps

When you identify performance gaps and their causes, you should address them. At this point, there are four strategies you can use to turn the tables on the phenomenon:

  1. Ensure there are additional training and resources available to employees, managers, and leaders
  2. Improve team communication and collaboration
  3. Set up mentorship and coaching programs based on anticipated causes of performance gaps
  4. Address any given personal issues and conflicts within the team

Respectively, the four strategies above are the foundation for addressing the causes of performance gaps. Use these wisely, and ensure you have enough time and resources to invest when implementing the previously mentioned approaches.

Best practices for bridging performance gaps

Finally, along with the strategies for bridging performance gaps, some well-recognized practices exist. These are different from the segment above because they rely on a greater involvement of employees and teams. Consider these top practices for dealing with performance and skills gaps:

  • Involve team members in the process of identifying and addressing performance gaps
  • Be proactive in identifying and addressing potential gaps before they become major issues
  • Foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement

These best practices, coupled with the previous strategies, allow you to devise an approach that effectively deals with any given performance gap. You should find a way to shuffle the practices and strategies above to improve employee performance as soon as possible.


Performance gaps are there, and any given business is unlikely to avoid them at some point. However, experiencing them is not critical if you know what to do. Use the insights mentioned previously to effectively identify performance gaps by following certain steps and knowing their causes. Besides, use the practices and strategies we presented to deal with the performance and skills gaps effectively.

FAQs: Performance Gaps

What are examples of performance gaps?

Simply put, a performance gap is perceived as a difference between an anticipated and actual performance. Examples of performance gaps can be:

  • An employee doesn’t respond to work-related emails on time 
  • An employee fails to meet a deadline
  • An employee is assigned to mentor another worker, yet they do not deliver the needed results
  • An employee does not communicate clearly with the clients and other team members

How do you assess performance gaps?

To assess a performance gap and take an employee's performance to the next level, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Identify the cause of a performance gap
  2. Conduct a performance gap analysis
  3. Design a performance training program
  4. Set new performance objectives
  5. Track progress and metrics by conducting performance gap reviews

What should I fill in a performance gap analysis?

When filling a performance gap analysis or a skills gap analysis, there are several aspects to consider:

  • The purpose and goals of a performance gap analysis
  • Acknowledgments of positive attributes of an employee under review
  • A target performance goal
  • A gap between a target goal and the current performance
  • Action plan for addressing performance gaps
  • Clear metrics to monitor for evaluating the plan's success

What is the performance expectation gap?

A performance expectation gap is a part of the performance management approach, indicating the gap between actual employee performance and expected performance. Any good performance management process should incline to address performance expectation gaps. 

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