Top 5 things to look for in a competency assessment tool

July 9, 2015 Sarah Beckett

As more and more organizations move to a competency-based approach for managing their talent, competency assessments are a key tool to determine how an employee is performing in their current role, and how they fit with future job prospects. Whether it is in the context of selection, performance or development, there are some key characteristics that you want to look for when selecting a competency assessment tool.

Here, we have identified 5 things that you need to look for when selecting a competency assessment tool.

1. Evaluates strengths and weaknesses across your workforce

An effective competency assessment tool should give you the ability to look beyond the individual and understand the make-up of your entire workforce. By examining the competency strengths, weaknesses and gaps across the organization–or within specific divisions or groups–you can make more informed decisions regarding training initiatives, allocate resources more effectively, and align development opportunities with corporate goals. Being able to catalog your organization’s collective competencies and address them systematically helps you stay more agile and responsive in the face of change.

2. Supports employee growth and empowerment

As the demographic make-up of the workforce shifts towards an increased proportion of Millenials, it is important for employers to be able to provide the tools that can support the needs of these young workers, as well as empower the entire workforce to manage their careers and understand their potential. Providing employees with easy-to-use assessment tools helps them see how they fit within the organization and empower them to seek out development opportunities that are beneficial for themselves as well as the organization. When selecting an assessment tool, make sure you understand how they can be linked in to your own learning management systems, or what capabilities they offer supporting employees in identifying self-directed learning opportunities and resources.

3. Analyzes individual performance against future job prospects

To use competency assessments for performance or development purposes, you need to be able to measure an employee’s performance against a set benchmark, whether that is their current job or future career aspirations. Look for an assessment tool that enables you to measure an individual’s competencies against the competency requirements for a specific job in order to identify gaps that can be address through targeted development activities, and strengths that would make and individual a good fit for future career progression.

4. Offers the flexibility to assess employees against ad-hoc requirements

Business requirements are changing at an ever-increasing pace and this is impacting that way we structure our work and teams. If you are an organization who needs to be able to quickly assemble teams for special projects, look for a tool with the ability to build custom competency profiles on the fly and assess employees against those competency requirements. You may also want to ability to assess employees against critical organizational competencies in order to evaluate the organization’s cohesiveness or its collective capacity to differentiate and compete in a crowded marketplace.

5. Provides individual and aggregate reporting capabilities

What individuals look for in their own personal assessment reports differs from what administrators or managers need in an assessment report. Look for reports that clearly outline personal strengths and development opportunities from an individual’s perspective, and provide more detailed information that’s exportable in an Excel-type format and gives you the ability to manipulate the data to suit your particular organizational needs.

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About the Author

Sarah Beckett

Sarah is an experienced marketer with over 10 years experience. She drives HRSG brand marketing strategy and the implementation of all related programs.

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