What is a skill assessment

A skill assessment is a survey done online or during an interview to conduct ratings aimed to measure skill and knowledge. Skill assessment topics are either focused to support a program, like diversity, or the assessment covers all skills for a job role. Skill assessments provide data showing who knows what and identifies gaps where training may be needed to maximize the growth and potential of the individual or group.

Why skill assessments matter

Skill assessment reports helps users clearly understand the skills expected for their role and measure their abilities on those topics. For many users, self-awareness is a key result. The other key result is clarity around skill gaps in terms of what’s expected. Solving gaps helps the organization and also energizes the individual who can better meet the demands of their work. Benefits include a more capable, energized and productive staff. Skill gaps found in many people may be hurting your organizational morale and performance. Skill Assessments are an ideal way to collect data to inform and guide training investments.

How to design a valid skill assessment

There is a simple four-step process to running a successful skills assessment:

  1. Inventory the skills to be measured – Start with the list of skills that are required for a role. There are generally skills that are expected of everyone, like communication, and skills that are unique for each role.
  2. Design the Model(s) – The best practice is 4-7 competencies of 5-7 skills each for a total of 30-50 skills per position. The competencies should include digital skills, domain skills, business skills and professional skills. Start by looking at your job descriptions. Ideally, you’d interview a few top performers to confirm that your list matches their skills. You can do part of the job, like a diversity program, or all of the job.
  3. Validate the model(s) – Send the model to a handful of insider cohorts to gain feedback and iterate on ideas that improve the model. Conduct one on ones, send spreadsheets and survey tools to collect the data from your team members. Make sure someone is available to answer questions that may arise.
  4. Iterate and keep it current – The only way to keep the model current is to update it as the marketplace changes. We recommend quarterly reviews with a few people who have a vested interest. One-on-one discussions to review data model is most important. Look at trends in other departments, competitors, and other markets to help prioritize skills and training investments, staff augmentation, and learning plans.

If you’d like to learn more about designing skill assessments, please get our free ebook and reach out to our team. Our technology was purpose-built to automate the skill assessment process and includes valuable reports to analyze the data. We can also automate a learning path uniquely designed for each person based on the gaps found in their assessment.

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