13 Minutes of reading

How can we assess employees' skills?

A professional skills assessment is an essential step for companies, with the interest being better human capital. Measuring the level of skills means shining a light on a workforce's strengths and weaknesses, and therefore a company's ability to perform in its market. Evaluating skills also means promoting the harmonious career progression of employees within the organisation. Nowadays, employee retention is a crucial issue in a context of "great resignation".

 

Rise Up Content: discover our off-the-shelf training offer

 

What is a skills assessment?

 

The two major categories of skills: hard skills and soft skills

 

Skills assessment concerns both hard skills and soft skills. On the one hand, technical and business skills will be taken into account: management of social networks, use of specialised machines, mastery of a computer programming language, use of accounting software, etc. On the other hand, the skills tests will focus on behavioural skills: leadership, ability to solve problems, sense of initiative, rigour, team spirit, communication

 

Skills assessment definition

 

Assessing skills is all about measuring employees' level of proficiency in different skills when performing his/her duties. In other words, it is a question of verifying his or her ability to carry out the tasks and missions entrusted to him or her. The skills assessment must reveal the needs of each employee by answering the question: what skills must he or she improve or acquire in order to obtain better results but also to feel more fulfilled and evolve within the company?

 

Reviewing skills can also be done at the team level, based on specific standards, and will show how far we have to go to achieve the strategic objectives.

 

Skills analysis thus opens up perspectives for the development of developing employees' skills and abilities, on the short term but also in the longer team. This approach also leads to a trade-off between internal training and recruitment to fill the gaps detected.

 

Smiley faces with a blue background

 

Why assess your employees' skills?

 

Generally speaking, comparing the skills needed for performance (individual and collective) with the skills actually possessed by the employees of a company reveals a 'gap' that needs to be filled. It is in the interest of managers and HR departments to use a skills assessment grid in order to have a concrete vision of the needs to be met.

 

Let's go into some more detail...

 

List the skills

 

The first reason for assessing skills is to establish a clear, complete and precise list of skills. Objective: to verify that the company has the capacity to meet the demands of its market on the one hand, and that it has one or more advantages over its competitors on the other. This requires carrying out an audit. Its purpose? To measure the level of the different skills that employees have in their job.

 

Uncovering potential skills gaps

 

A thorough assessment of professional skills leads to the detection of potential skills gaps in the workforce. It is essential to target both hard and soft skills in order to draw up the specific profile of each employee and to identify any gaps. Indeed, an excellent technician is not necessarily able to work effectively in a team or to manage stress well; in the same way, being an outstanding negotiator does not mean that one masters a CRM software. Each individual has a unique set of skills. By conducting a skills assessment, managers and HR managers are able to detect flaws.

 

Developing better training plans

 

Listing skills and identifying gaps in employees' knowledge leads to readjusting and improving training plans. The idea is obviously to offer the most personalised systems possible, in order to provide concrete answers and solutions to each individual. Enrolling an entire team on the same training course: this happens so often, but we must put an end to it! From now on, we must move towards individualised training, both in terms of content and teaching methods (we will come back to this...).

 

Assessment also takes place at the end of the course. The aim is to measure the effectiveness of the sessions attended. The result is a series of improvements to ensure that the training plans are as engaging and relevant as possible.

 

Helping your employees to develop in a more obvious way

 

A manager who knows exactly what the strengths of his employees are, what their potential is, but also what motivates them and what makes them develop professionally will be perfectly equipped to support them in their career development. HR teams will then be able to design training courses that are consistent with individual perspectives and objectives.

 

Upskilling and reskilling will save you money on recruitment

 

Upskilling and reskilling initiatives can be implemented to meet the expectations of employees and to develop talent, all of whom have unique visions of their professional future, their own desires and different ways of fulfilling their tasks.

 

Upskilling will allow an employee to evolve in his or her job, to ensure constant expertise. Reskilling, on the other hand, will give employees the opportunity to make a change in their career by changing position or even profession.

 

Furthermore, establishing this type of training plan leads to a reduction in the number of recruitments, thus saving on this budget line.

 

Curbing the "great resignation:"

 

Skills assessment is a way of preventing the "great resignation", a phenomenon that sees more and more employees choosing to leave their jobs. Why are they doing this? Because they no longer find meaning in what they do on a daily basis in their company.

 

An organisation that takes care of the career path of its employees, that offers a framework conducive to the development of skills, and that does so on the basis of a detailed analysis of skills and abilities, will be better able to retain its staff.

 

Developing your employer brand

 

In line with what has just been said, an organisation that cares about the development and career progression of its employees will be much more attractive to talent. In other words, a relevant skills assessment combined with support for employee development is one of the key elements of a company's attractiveness.

 

How do we carry out employee skills assessments?

 

The essential skills reference framework

 

The skills reference framework is a repertoire, an organised and synthetic inventory of the skills needed to do a job. Very often, it is organised around two skills categories: soft skills (behavioural and interpersonal skills) and hard skills (technical skills related to the job). Transferrable skills (i.e., those that can be used in several professions and professional disciplines) also appear in the reference framework. Finally, when it comes to listing the skills for management positions, the reference framework also presents managerial skills.

 

The concept of skills refers to knowledge, know-how and behaviour.

 

This tool, developed under the responsibility of the HR department, provides the essential basis for assessing professional skills. It is particularly used during the audit phase, as part of an Employment and Skills Plan.

 

A distinction should be made between a skills framework and a skills map. The difference is subtle, but it does exist: The skills map is a comprehensive document that lists all the skills required by the company to be successful in its market. As we have seen, the repository focuses on a job.

 

The organisation therefore has a single skills map, but a large number of skills frameworks!

 

These two documents are of great value. They will enable training managers to put in place measures to reduce the gap between the skills needed by the company and the skills available internally.

 

Two people performing a skills assessment

 

Use an LMS to assess your employees' skills

 

It is essential to use an LMS in your skills assessment! Learning Management Systems collect a large amount of data from training activities, which is impossible to obtain (or very difficult to obtain!) via other means.

 

What's more, thanks to an LMS system, it is possible to carry out an individual (employee by employee) as well as a global (company-wide) skills assessment.

 

Here are the main metrics to be analysed in order to carry out this work.

 

The completion rate

The first information measuring the effectiveness of a training course (i.e. the acquisition of a skill) is the completion rate. It is simply a matter of viewing the percentage of employees who have completed their training once they have been enrolled.

 

The success rate

A logical consequence of the completion rate is the success rate. Most training courses are certified and thus validate the mastery of a skill. A low certification rate means that most learners have not progressed in the targeted practical or behavioural skill. It will therefore often be necessary to propose a new training course, focusing on the points not acquired.

 

The time taken to complete a task

This is a lesser-used indicator, but it is nevertheless very interesting. It allows us to assess a skill by analysing the time required for an employee to complete a task. Let's take the example of a "conflict management" course. If the learner takes a while to find the right reactions during a simulation involving him facing a disgruntled employee, it is easy to conclude that the skill is not well mastered.

 

The assessment itself, quantitative and qualitative

End-of-course tests are instructive. The questions asked should be carefully considered beforehand. These must cover all the dimensions of the targeted skill. The analysis of the results will show the overall level of knowledge and/or technical skills acquired.

 

The score obtained reflects the quantitative aspect of the assessment. The performance reports, obtained at the end of specific activities (situation scenarios via serious games, for example), make it possible to qualitatively assess a training action.

 

Learner feedback

At the end of the training course, the employees themselves provide an analysis of their learning path. They judge whether or not they have acquired the targeted skill, and point out any remaining gaps. To do so, they simply have to answer a survey available on the platform. It is important to carry out a detailed survey in order to obtain as many analysis elements as possible.

 

This data is crucial for HR teams as it allows them to determine the strengths and weaknesses of training courses, and thus to improve them, with a view to increasing the skills of employees more effectively.

 

The ROI

The idea here is to evaluate the employee's performance when they apply what they have learned once back at their job. Is the operational implementation of the skill taking place? If so, does it lead to improved results, better productivity, the performance of new tasks, etc.? Answering these questions means evaluating the level of skill acquired, but also measuring the return on investment (ROI). In other words, it means analysing the impact of the training in relation to the allocated budget, which makes it possible to redirect the training strategy if necessary. This work makes it possible to reorientate the training strategy if necessary.

 

In conclusion, the answer to the question "how can we assess skills?" can be summed up in a few words: prioritise the use of the skills framework, the skills map and the LMS.

 

The Rise Up Content offer is precisely designed to fill the "gap" between skills mastered and skills to be acquired.

 

The Rise Up Content offer is precisely designed to fill the "gap" between skills mastered and skills to be acquired. Several thousand pieces of off-the-shelf content are available to employees and can be accessed with a few clicks from their LMS platform.

 

A multitude of technical and behavioural skills are covered. Here are some examples of off-the-shelf training courses focusing on soft skills:

  • "knowing how to manage conflicts"
  • "stress-free decision-making"
  • "knowing how to listen"
  • "remote teamwork"
  • "managing your team"
  • "successful meetings"
  • "motivate your troops!" 
  • “recruit the best: recruitment and selection”.

 

Each course is adapted to the learners' availability and encourages their involvement through innovative teaching methods.

 

Rise Up content: discover our off-the-shelf training offer