Larry Cipolla
March 26, 2014

When it comes to training and employee performance appraisal, the phrase "gap analysis" is liable to be brought up. In short, this describes the difference between the answers of a particular respondent and those of the participants at large. While this can be a useful tool for analyzing information, it is not as robust as True Gap Analysis. 

True Gap Analysis provides more concrete feedback, which can lead to actionable takeaways for both management and the employees being appraised. It can be a valuable catalyst for effecting the sorts of change that improves long-term efficacy and, ultimately, the bottom line. 

The difference is that True Gap Analysis is able to point out differences within a rater group. Respondents can actually see the information not only within a particular rater group, but also across different rater groups. In this way, they can understand how many participants have pointed out a discrepancy between how the group sees a respondent and how that person sees themselves. 

The takeaways from this are valuable. If an employee thinks they are doing good work but the people around them tend to disagree, then one of two things is happening: either the employee is mistaken about the quality of his or her output, or that person is not accurately communicating the quality of work that they are putting forth. In either scenario, there needs to be a change so that everybody is on the same page, and that the general perception more neatly reflects reality. 

One of the first things that those with access to this sort of data realize is that employees are all different in both the way they give feedback and the way that they go about their days. People are liable to expect different things, and, in turn, what is expected of them will be different. This can be an eye-opening process: as managers grow to understand the difference in styles between their reports, they can better put them in positions to succeed. 

Each employee is equal in the sense that they have the same rights as human beings, but the similarities don't always extend to genetic or emotional makeup. A one-size-fits-all approach to management is likely to lead to mismatched expectations and unhappy employees. Instead, True Gap Analysis can provide valuable insight on what each person best needs to be motivated, supported and effective. As well, it allows participants to evaluate their own behavior and identify areas where they can improve.