How To Conduct A Successful Skills Assessment For Your Corporate Audience: 6 Points To Consider
Skills are the most important assets your employees possess. Well-honed skill sets give them the opportunity to master tasks and improve their work performance. This is why skills assessments are an essential part of a successful online training program. They allow organizations to fine tune their online training initiatives, increase productivity, and narrow the performance gaps by identifying the core skills your corporate audience needs to fulfill their work responsibilities.
- Test both technical and soft skills sets.
It’s vital to test both technical and soft skills when you are conducting skills assessments. This is due to the fact that both types are required in the workplace. For example, a corporate learner may know a great deal about the equipment they repair, but they might not be able to communicate effectively with clients in order to troubleshoot common issues. A technical skill is typically a skill that is closely related to a specific field or profession. A soft skill, on the other hand, is a skill that helps them relate to others, communicate, and collaborate. Simulations are one of the most effective tools for testing both types of skills, as it allows them to interact with a virtual environment, as well as characters who can test their understanding of body language, emotions, and behaviors.
- Focus on job-specific skills.
Rather than testing generic skills that every employee should know, try to focus on job-specific skills assessments that are based on work responsibilities and everyday tasks. Essentially, you want to concentrate on skills that actually matter and directly relate to their on-the-job performance. You can discover which skills are truly important by observing them in the workplace, speaking with their supervisors, and conducting surveys.
- Find the ideal testing method.
After you’ve identified which skills need to be assessed, you must determine how you can effectively assess those core skills. While some skills can be assessed through written exams, others may require a more creative approach. Online scenarios and serious games can be used to test skills that may not have a valid grading rubric. For example, customer service skills or problem solving skills can be assessed by asking employees to choose paths and make decisions. Their choices will lead to positive or negative consequences, which will indicate whether or not they need to work on specific skill sets. This is yet another reason why audience research is so vital, as it gives you the chance to learn as much as possible about your employee’s preferences. If they would like assessments that are mobile-friendly, for instance, you can develop responsive tests that automatically adjust to fit the screen size.
- Personalize each skills assessment.
Skills assessments should not have a "one size fits all" approach. In fact, every employee should be given a personalized assessment based on their needs, preferences, and position within the company. At the very least, every department in your organization should have its own skills assessments. This gives you the opportunity to test skills that are tied to employees' work performance, rather than assessing skill sets that may be irrelevant. A sales employee does not need to know how to repair a computer, for instance, just as an IT technician does not need to know how to negotiate with a customer. Personalizing skill assessments also improves the value of your online training program, as employees will be able to relate to the subject matter and understand why the assessment is necessary. Otherwise, they may question whether the testing is actually going to allow them to improve their work performance and achieve their goals. Thus, they will be less likely to actively participate and give it their all during the skill assessment process.
- Offer your employees testing resources.
Instead of asking your employees to complete a skills assessment without prior notice, give them the opportunity to brush up on their skill sets by providing online testing resources in the workplace. An example of this would be a tutorial that centers on a task or simulations that feature characters and challenges that they must overcome. Also, during the skills assessment you should give them access to the same equipment, tools, or references that they would have in the real world. For instance, if your employees would normally be able to look up information in a job manual, then allow them to use the job manual during the skills assessment test. Remember that the main goal of a skills assessment is to test their real world skill sets and talents. Thus, the skills assessment must mimic real world environments and challenges.
- Self-assessments can be a valuable tool.
Create a series of self-assessments that your corporate learners can use to test their own skills as they progress through their online training. You may even want to develop a list of resources, such as articles, eLearning videos, and websites, and divide them up by skill category. Your corporate learners can then use these online resources to study for their self-assessments or brush up on skills that they need to develop. The key is not to make these self-assessments mandatory, as corporate learners will be more motivated to learn if they are intrinsically motivated. With that being said, you should offer them additional support resources if they feel they need it, such as forums, mentoring, or online training courses that will help them develop the necessary skills.
Skills assessments offer your organization the power to personalize your online training strategy to meet the evolving needs of employees. Use these tips to carry out a successful skills assessment and develop your next online training course.
A skills assessment paired with a task analysis can help you customize every aspect your online training experiences. Read the article 6 Tips To Conduct A Successful Task Analysis For Corporate eLearning to discover how to conduct an effective task analysis for your next corporate eLearning course.