What is a skills assessment

A skills assessment is a survey or interview measuring skill and knowledge. We recommend a 1-5 Likert scale where 1 is emerging, and 5 is mastery. Skill assessment reports help leaders visualize who knows what and identifies gaps where training may be needed to maximize the growth and potential of the individual.

Why skill assessments matter

Skill Assessments are an ideal way to collect data to inform and guide training investments. Addressing skill gaps helps the organization but also energizes the staff 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.

How to do a skill assessment

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

  1. Inventory the skills to be measured – These can vary by role, and they’re in your job descriptions. Ideally, you’d interview a few top performers to confirm that your list matches what they do for you.
  2. Communicate your positive intentions – State your purpose to help staff build plans to close skill gaps. Encourage honest responses. Gain trust by assuring them that results are confidential and will be used to help them.
  3. Collect the data – One on ones, spreadsheets, and survey tools can be used to collect the data from your team members. Make sure someone is available to answer questions that may arise.
  4. Analyze the data – There is a great value to be leveraged from one-on-one coaching discussions based on the data. Looking at trends in departments and locations can help prioritize training investments, staff augmentation, and hiring plans.

If you’d like to learn more about skills 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.

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.

What makes a great manager

A great manager comes from many things but a key theme is bringing out the best in their people. Great managers tune into issues, listen and coach, and guide success with a trusted relationship. One of the most important and easiest activities used by great managers are to run well organized and frequent one-on-one meetings.

Why one-on-one meetings are so important

One-on-one meetings are places for staff to bring up things that don’t fit into status reports or email. They provide an excellent forum for information and ideas to flow up the organization. They’re also a time for conversations about family and other non-business topics that build trusted relationships and make people feel valued.

Benefits include a more engaged, capable, and productive staff.

The simple formula for great one-on-ones

A best practice is to make this the employee’s meeting. To reinforce this, have them send you the agenda in advance. Have a set of categories that you cover every single time. Managers should try to spend most of the meeting listening. When offering feedback, make sure to give praise first and try to hold back on criticism. If a course correction is necessary, be constructive. Take notes.

Start the meeting by reviewing progress from the last meeting. Finish the meeting with short-term plans and ways you can help. Listen much more than you talk.

Key and recurring topics 

Here are some themes you’ll want to cover each time such as:

  • Current events and workload
  • Accomplishments and progress
  • Challenges and obstacles
  • Personal development goals and progress

This is your time to be an advisor, guide, and coach. Help staff with their struggles, suggest solutions, promote reflection, and advise on new skills and how to build them. Have empathy and coach them to meet the demands of their work.

Have questions on hand

While it’s not the manager’s job to set the agenda or do the talking, the manager may need to facilitate the conversation. This is very important for introverted staff. Drawing out issues is a key management skill.

Here are eight good questions for your one-on-ones:

  1. If we could improve in any way, how would we do it?
  2. What’s the biggest problem with our organization? Why?
  3. What’s not fun about working here?
  4. Who do you admire in the company?
  5. If you were me, what changes would you make?
  6. What don’t you like about the product?
  7. What’s the biggest opportunity that we’re missing out on?
  8. What are we not doing that we should be doing?

If you’d like to learn more about delivering great one-on-one meetings, please reach out to our team. SkillNet technology was purpose-built to bring key employee data and progress to your fingertips so you can run excellent one-on-ones and be a great manager.