Skills Assessment

Bridging The Gap – On Line Tutorial – Part Two

Let me start with a rhetorical question; “Why do we need a skills assessment before we start?”. There are a number of reasons;

1) If you will be required to show a Return on Investment to your senior management then you need to be able to show how the skills have improved. By having a skills assessment before the program has started and regularly performing further skills assessments over time will provide the proof of improvement.

2) Part of the skills assessment will include Training Needs Analysis which will identify gaps in knowledge and skills and what your employees will need to learn in order to be fully competent in the jobs they will be doing now and in the future.

3) Identifies the gaps in your corporate knowledge and ensures there are sufficient skills to meet the business objectives, short and long term.

The final decision on whether to perform a skills assessment before you begin your training program is yours, however when your training program is underway at some point you will need to do this; so let us discuss a few ways to perform the assessment.

The first decision you will have to make is dependant on your company size and the number of employees you want to assess and the resources available to you. If you are the only person on the project with a limited budget and thousands of employees in many different locations then your approach will be very different from someone who has a dozen staff members all in a single office. But what will be the same for everyone is the process, this is that you will have to collect and analyse a lot of data.

What I want to clear up is that what we are discussing here will not replace the function of the HR department in your organisation, in fact you may find you get caught between two objectives that may not be compatible, that is the company strategy and the skills needed to met this and the career plans of the employee, if it turns out these are compatible, consider yourself lucky (or thank your HR department).

Another big consideration before you start is that the information you collect will be confidential and your staff must be confident of this or they will not give you honest answers. Although your conclusions and recommendations will be distributed the individual responses must be kept secure.

To have three basic approaches to performing a skills assessment, these are;

1) Contract out to an external company, here consultants will work with you and if required perform all the tasks on your behalf. This can be quite expensive but will give you the benefit of their expertise.

2) Use specially designed software. There are a number of packages around that you can use. These range in price and applicability, the skill here is to find the right package.

3) Collect the data yourself; this is usually by sending out forms to be completed by your employees.

Depending upon the size of your organisation you can do this in a number of ways;

1) By directly interviewing the employees yourself

2) By training the managers of each department to perform these interviews as part of their regular review.

3) Send the forms directly to the employee for completion.

What ever approach you use then you will probably benefit from looking at some of the questions asked on these forms. There is a wealth of these you can use on the Internet.

The next section will discuss different methods of delivering training that can compliment e-Learning.