How to Assess Employee Skills and Competencies | 8 Best Practices

How to Assess Employee Skills and Competencies | 8 Best Practices

Skills and competencies are the bedrock of any successful organisation. Yet, skill gaps only keep widening. Rapid technological advancements and constant shifts in industry trends fuel the expanding gaps.

According to the Skills Shortage Quarterly, employers now need more than formal qualifications. So, the report encourages employers to create employee development plans. These plans must match employees with the right roles.

Organisations may grow if they identify gaps in employee skills and competencies. They may also secure long-term success if they exert effort in closing skills gaps.

In turn, workforces may meet the demands of today’s dynamic workplace. And they can prepare themselves for prospective demands of future workplace skills.

Next read: Learn about the differences between skills and competencies.

Why Assess Employee Skills and Competencies?

You can’t typically find skills gaps existing in your organisation. You’ll only identify them if you conduct an employee skills assessment.

The data you gather from this assessment may help in different ways. You can make more informed decisions in recruitment, promotion, and learning. Assessment results also enhance organisational productivity. It ensures that employees have the necessary skills for their roles and responsibilities.

Employees gain benefits from skills assessments too. It helps foster a culture of continuous learning and growth. It positions employees for career development and long-term success within the organisation.

Where to Start? Construct a Robust Assessment Framework

You may feel excited to look into assessment tools you can use. Yet, you first have to plan your assessment process. Analyse your business structure, strategy, and goals. Study what roles and responsibilities are relevant to your organisation.

From here, identify what skill sets and competencies your organisation needs. Understand that the assessment method and type of assessment will assess skills of different kinds.

For example:

  • Job-Specific Knowledge
  • Soft Skills
  • Hard Skills
  • Transferable Skills

Set standards or key performance indicators based on the skills required. These will let you gain insights into your workforce. Your indicators will let you see employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and current skills.

Post-assessment, you’ll need appropriate responses. The valuable insights may help you close skill gaps through actionable items. You may provide new training opportunities. Give regular feedback. Or think about other employee development initiatives.

providing development opportunities

8 Best Ways to Assess Employee Skills and Competencies

With a concrete assessment plan, you may now learn how to conduct an effective assessment.

1. Assess Existing Work History

The first method to assess employee skills and competencies is to look at your records. What does an employee’s performance say about the employee’s skill level?

Performance reviews provide concrete metrics. They allow you to understand how an employee acts with specific skills. At the same time, looking at work history and deliverables is an objective way to assess employee skills.

2. Self-Assessments

Although highly subjective, self-assessment is still a good way for an employee skills assessment. The actual employee may quickly identify his or her skills and competencies. The organisation also gains an easy baseline for employee skills. But this method cannot exist alone.

Match more objective ways of skills assessments with subjective self-assessments. For instance, conduct self-assessment alongside peer reviews and performance reviews. These last two ways balance your understanding of employees’ skills and competencies.

3. Peer Reviews

Unlike self-assessments, peer reviews call on an employee’s colleagues. They talk about employee skills and employee performance. They may provide more tempered and accurate feedback. You can then contrast against self and performance skills assessments.

Peer reviews may also reveal key considerations. You may learn more about team collaboration, team performance, and mutual understanding. From here, you may match individuals with their rightful roles based on their skills. You may also pair employees with each other based on compatibility.

Some employees could shine depending on who they work with.

4. Structured Interviews

Structured interviews are not only useful for hiring managers in gauging applicants. But talent management may also utilise structured interviews. This way of assessment follows up and supports employees where they are.

Structured interviews are pre-defined sets of lead and probe questions. An interviewer asks a predetermined set for all subject employees. You can then compare and contrast their responses with each other.

Their responses may reveal various skills and competencies. These may be specific to similar or the same roles in the organisation. Additionally, you eliminate biases through careful preparation of the questions.

5. Soft Skills Tests

Soft skills, now called power skills, include skills like:

  • Problem Solving
  • Decision-Making
  • Empathy
  • Collaboration
  • Interpersonal Skills

Machines or artificial intelligence still cannot replicate these skills. This highlights their importance in any business organisation. They are crucial not only for company culture but also for company synthesis.

You may use online skills assessments to gauge power skills in your workforce. The results of these employee assessments may then spur training sessions. You can also deliver feedback for further power skill development.

6. Hard Skills Tests

Now, hard skills differ in that they are more technical. Examples are the software an employee uses or the technicalities a specialist knows.

Hard skill sets are easier to measure. You can set quantifiable standards that an employee must reach.

For the assessment process, you may also use online resources for measurement. You can then remedy deficiencies in hard skills more easily. You can provide online courses or other educational programs to close knowledge gaps.

7. 360-degree Feedback

The 360-degree feedback approach is like self-assessments and peer reviews combined. It takes information from peers, managers, and direct reports, if possible. The information creates well-rounded pictures of employees’ skills and competencies.

You can better measure an employee’s strengths and weaknesses this way. People around the employee observe him or her daily. They will have considerable knowledge you can use.

8. Psychometric Testing

Psychometric testing may not be the one on employers’ minds for assessing employee skills. But psychometric testing also has its advantages. It’s a method that accurately measures the aptitude of employees.

Aptitude includes numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning. These abilities indicate how well an employee can perform specific tasks or fulfil certain roles.

For skills, psychometric testing may help you predict employee matching. Certain employees, although lacking in related skills, may learn and perform well in certain tasks or roles. They may need only a little more learning.

You can then use psychometric testing as a support assessment tool. It may further inform you of the suitability or qualification of existing employees.

assess existing work history

Following-up on Assessment Results

After the assessment of employee skills and competencies, it’s critical to follow up. Follow-up will maximise the value of the process. Here are some things you should consider:

1. Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is an essential first step. This focuses on the strengths as well as areas for development.

Clear, specific, and actionable suggestions can help employees improve. They may also leverage their skills more. Deliver feedback in a manner that encourages employees. They must engage in continuous learning and improvement.

2. Provide Development Opportunities

Customised training and development opportunities can be designed. These instances will address identified skill gaps. They offer employees the opportunity to further hone their skills and abilities. They won’t have to figure their way forward on their own.

3. Analyse Results for Hiring & Promotion Decisions

You can also use assessment results for strategic decision-making.

In recruitment, results may help identify skills and competencies required for specific vacancies. They ensure a good match between job descriptions and abilities of prospective employees.

Similarly, in promotions, you can peek into an employee’s readiness for increased responsibility.

4. Track Current Skill Levels with Matrices

All in all, you may use a competency matrix or skill matrix. Matrices keep track of your workforce’s skills and competencies as identified. You can then see follow progressions. And you can ensure that you don’t miss out on any development opportunities.

Key to Success: Employee Skills & Competencies Assessment

Necessary skills and competencies constantly shift, regardless of what industry you belong to. This ever-changing environment calls for constant attention to remain relevant.

Your organisation can evolve through the changing times. But you must thoroughly understand your workforce’s skills and competencies. Through the approaches we’ve discussed, identify skill gaps and push learning or recruitment.

With the right talent in place, your organisation may see growth and long-term success.

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