3 Methods To Assess Competencies
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How To Assess Competencies

In order to effectively and efficiently access competencies, it is first and foremost critical to have formed competency models that are measurable.

eBook Release: A Guide To Competency Based Training For Organizational Excellence – Part 2
eBook Release
A Guide To Competency Based Training For Organizational Excellence – Part 2
Discover how to assess competencies, get insight on the basics of the concept of CBT as viewed by an employee, and study the step-by-step process for implementing CBT.

According to training experts Rothwell and Graber, measurable competency models identify “the competencies of the position or job, as well as the behavioral indicators, behavioral anchors, or work outputs and quality requirements.” If you work in a large organization, it is typical to receive competency models from your HR manager, corporate headquarters, or even a consultant manager[1].

Once you have obtained the competency model, it is time to begin assessing the individual worker to identify gaps and levels of competence. Here are the top 3 methods that Learning and Development managers typically use for assessing competencies.

1. The Self-Assessment

While not to be used alone, self-assessments are a great method for providing individuals with the opportunity to rate themselves against a competency model that is measurable. Self-assessments allow individuals to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses while getting a sense of the areas in which they need further development, to match the competency model[1] model needed for that role.

It is important to note that self-assessments used on their own cannot provide accurate assessments — they must be used in unison with a manager’s assessment. This is due to individual bias where one will either rate him or herself below or above the competency model[1]. There are seldom cases where individuals rate themselves accurately. See figure 1 below for an example of a self-assessment.

Figure 1 / Source: William J. Rothwell and Jim M. Graber, Competency-Based Training Basics (New York: ASTD, 2010)

2. Manager Assessments

A competency assessment completed by a manager can only be conducted after the manager has had ample time to monitor and assess the individual. Depending on the managers ability, this can be anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

A good way to do this is to provide the employee with projects and tasks that test the competencies in the competency model for his or her position (see figure 2 below for rating sheet). Managerial assessment is typically easier for entry-level positions where competencies are fairly introductory, and more difficult for senior level positions where competencies are more complex. Similar to how individuals bias self-assessments, it is important for managers to be aware of their own biases in order to be as objective as possible.

An additional limit to manager assessments is that they fail to take into account how peers rate the individual’s competencies[1]. Often times, co-workers have a unique perspective into their teammates’ competencies—these perspectives are addressed in 360-degree assessments.

Figure 2 / Source: William J. Rothwell and Jim M. Graber, Competency-Based Training Basics (New York: ASTD, 2010)

3. 360-Degree Assessment

360-degree assessments will yield the most accurate results because they rate the individual as objectively as possible from every conceivable angle[1]. Due to this, 360-degree assessments are one of the most popular and widely accepted methods for measuring competencies. To complete a 360-degree assessment begin by getting the individual to rate themselves against their position’s competency model. After this is completed, seek out others, who directly work with the individual such as his or her supervisor, co-workers, subordinates, and even internal or external customers and suppliers. Once all assessments have been collected, average the scores to find the individual’s competency score.

After an accurate assessment of the individual’s competencies is determined, gaps will surface placing the Learning and Development manager in an excellent position to clearly create a competency-based training path. Subsequent to competency-based training, the employee will have effectively developed to come as close as possible to their position’s competency model.

If you want to learn more about assessing your employees’ competencies, download the eBook A Guide To Competency Based Training For Organizational Excellence - Part 2.

Reference:

[1] William J. Rothwell and Jim M. Graber, Competency-Based Training Basics (New York: ASTD, 2010)

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