Internal Gap Analysis: How to Identify Skill Gaps That Exist Within Your Federal Workforce

Being a part of the federal workforce gives employees many opportunities to polish their skills, step out of their comfort zones, and achieve big goals. When working in the public sector, a common challenge most employers face is identifying the skill gaps within the existing framework of the workforce. The need for identifying and filling these gaps significantly increases when taking on a leading role in a federal organization. With technology and modern systems taking over, businesses are more open to outsourcing certain departments to ensure better productivity and outcomes.

This read will help you distinguish essential, good-to-have, and least important skills federal workers should have. It will also highlight the need for outsourcing internal tasks that external teams can handle better.

Distinguishing the Skill Gaps in Federal Employees

Working in the public sector can be overwhelming for employees switching from private organizations. Federal organizations have specific sets of procedures (SOPs) to carry out day-to-day tasks. They report directly to the state and are (therefore) highly cautious of the skill gaps in their workforce.

Based on the guidelines established by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO), we have classified the different types of skills federal employees should grasp to excel in their career path.

Essential Skills

Essential skills are the strengths and capabilities of federal employees that are crucial to their survival in their respective job roles. Missing out on any of the following skills may render them unfit for the designated roles.

Technical Expertise

Technical expertise involves awareness of modern systems, software, and internal management tools. It also involves thoroughly understanding the technical part of employment (using role-specific software, troubleshooting role-relevant problems, efficient use of internal systems, etc.). The increasing use of tech devices and systems in federal organizations has made it relevant to place this skill at the top of the list.

Adherence to Regulations and Policies

Every federal employee must understand, acknowledge, and adhere to (relevant) federal employment regulations and policies to ensure efficiency. Failing to grasp the do’s and don’ts of the job may make employees unfit for their designated roles. Employment regulations may include standard SOPs, hierarchic discipline, internal interactions, managing deliverables, and other factors along the same line.

Sharp Communication Skills

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) categorically highlighted communication skills as one of the potential competencies for federal employees. According to the outlines shared in the “Leadership Competency Framework,” the core competencies of federal employees include oral communication, written communication, problem-solving, accountability, and interpersonal skills. Based on these guidelines, every federal employee must be sound in oral communication.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Federal workers work in challenging environments with many crucial variables in the employment equation. To deal with daily problems, they must be sharp critical thinkers and have a problem-solving attitude. Each worker must be able to identify problems in complex situations and address effective solutions to overcome the challenges.


Failing to adapt to the changing workplace roles may render federal employees unfit for their jobs. Adaptability is one of the core skills federal employees should possess to excel in their career paths. A study on business competency models highlighted the importance of core competencies in a Public Administration Review study. Based on their findings, communication skills, problem-solving, adaptability, and leadership are among the core competencies each federal worker should have.

Ethical Conduct

Regardless of federal employees’ role in an organization, they must follow ethical practices when interacting with others. The core elements of ethical conduct cover high standards of integrity, accountability, and professionalism.

Good-to-Have Skills

Good-to-have skills for federal workers involve all those competencies that may offer additional support on the job. Although they are not deal-breaking skills, having them can strengthen your position in the federal sector.

Leadership Qualities

Having a leadership quality is an ideal good-to-have skill for federal employees. The ability to motivate team players, delegate sensitive tasks, and make calculated decisions goes a long way.

Project Management

Federal employment roles often expose employees to situations where project management is an essential need. Carefully planning, organizing, and executing different projects efficiently can be a great good-to-have skill in federal organizations.

Data Management and Analysis

Federal employees should be prepared to handle large amounts of valuable data at the workplace. The ability to collect, analyze, interpret, and draw insights from data can be highly supportive of federal employment paths.

Multilingual Proficiency

Federal organizations often interact with other global organizations. Such interactions create a language gap among employees of different organizations based on geographical and cultural barriers. Employees having multilingual proficiencies can be valuable assets to federal organizations.

Least Relevant Skills

Least important or relevant skills refer to those competencies that do not directly or indirectly influence federal employment roles. Workers having these competencies may not be able to experience potential benefits in employment.

Recreational Strengths

Recreational strengths refer to skills associated with recreational activities. These may include personal strengths like physical fitness, awareness of specific areas, and sports-related capabilities.

Artistic Talents

Artistic talents may include good painting, illustration, and (photo/video) editing skills. Such competencies may be helpful in other employment domains but rarely come in handy in federal employment settings.

Social and Cultural Awareness

Being aware of the social and cultural values of a specific area can be great for personal knowledge and experiences. However, they rarely contribute to federal employment roles.

Acknowledging the Need for Outsource

Federal employment sectors operate in sensitive environments where confidentiality and integrity of assets remain the top preferences. Based on the global market demands, federal organizations are more flexible in acquiring outsourced services for specific departments, tasks, or procedural standards. To better understand the need for outsourcing, we have categorized operations that can be managed internally and the ones needed to be outsourced for operational efficiency.

Internally Manageable Operations

Internally manageable operations refer to those tasks, procedures, and actions that federal organizations can manage internally using the core employee competencies.

Policy Development

Federal employment sectors should rely on internal resources to develop organizational policies. They should rely on the essential skills of federal workers to accomplish this goal. Policy development involves in-depth knowledge of internal SOPs, regulations, and long-term objectives and can only be addressed effectively when managed internally.

Performance Management

Federal employment managers and leaders should possess the essential tools and parameters to evaluate and improve performance management. Such operations are handled better when managed internally. Despite the possibility of outsourcing this part, federal organizations should develop integral mechanisms to record, measure, and evaluate employee performance.

Leadership Roles

The leading positions of most departments in federal employment settings should be handled internally. Federal employment managers have a thorough understanding of regulations and policies. They can best handle decision-making parts when faced with challenges.

Operations to Be Outsourced

Outsourced operations refer to those activities that federal employers hand over to external teams of capable resources to ensure operational efficiency.

IT Management

IT management is ancillary to many internal operations at federal organizations. Federal employers can outsource IT management operations to capable external teams. It can help them streamline IT-related tasks while aiming at more efficient outcomes.

Support Functions

Federal employment sectors often face the need for outsourcing support functions to capable resources. These functions may cover tasks related to tech facilitation, payroll processing, large-scale administration, and related tasks.

Professional Training

Professional training is the core of federal employment sectors. Employers keenly focus on skill development, knowledge enhancement, and technical awareness of federal workers for easier adaptability and improved efficiency. Outsourcing these tasks to capable external teams can be highly fruitful for the organization.

Overcoming Skill Gaps and Beyond

Despite operational efficiencies and thoroughly equipped teams of federal workers, overcoming every skill gap for federal organizations may not be possible. However, personnel in leading positions should focus on constant adaptation to new and efficient skills to minimize internal challenges.

Management Concepts offers various professional training courses and certifications to empower you with the essential skills, knowledge, and expertise to take on specialized roles in federal organizations. Visit our website today to learn more about our federal training programs.

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