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August 15th, 2022 · 5 min read

A simple guide to assessing employee skills and competencies

how to assess employee skills blog header image

The difference between skills and competencies

the difference between skills vs competencies

Skills vs competencies examples

The benefits of assessing employee skills

Benefits for employees

  • Foster clarity and transparency regarding performance expectations and pathways to career growth 
  • Construct a more personalized employee learning experience
  • Paint a clear picture of employee development progress 

Benefits for your business

  • Reduce bias
    Merit-based promotional practices can support better diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across your organization. Leveraging assessment tools that are mindful of bias will encourage placements based on skills and competencies, rather than biased advancement. 
  • Expose skills gaps
    Assessments are a critical component of any skills gap analysis exercise. To truly understand where employees are lacking knowledge, you first have to be able to assess their current skill sets. Some skills gaps you know about, while others may only come to light as a result of skills gap analysis. Knowing the gaps is the first step toward addressing them.

skills gap analysis template cta

  • Provide a benchmark for consistency
    Formal skills assessments provide an alternative to the more common anecdotal evaluations by management. By incorporating formal assessments into your processes, you’re capturing  a constant and measurable metric for tracking  the efficacy of your L&D investments.
  • Pinpoint needs for personal development plans
    Every individual has a set of skills and competencies unique to themselves, along with areas for growth. Skills assessments allow people leaders to gain insight into those needs, informing L&D strategy in the process. 
  • Measure progress and areas where training isn’t enough
    Skills assessments help you to expose skills gaps and then determine if your existing L&D program has the learning options necessary to address those gaps. If the content you offer isn’t sufficient for addressing your employees’ skills needs, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and rethink your approach to employee education and training.
  • Boost employee engagement
    Employees are more likely to take advantage of educational resources and upskilling opportunities if they can see progress towards a tangible career outcome. This is where regular evaluation and assessment can be a major asset in helping employees to understand their progress and be acknowledged for it.
  • Evolve your organization’s skills taxonomy
    Your skills taxonomy gives a big-picture understanding of the skills and competencies required by your organization. Just as your company may change, expand, contract or shift course as needed, so should your skills taxonomy. Consider it a living, breathing compilation that requires regular updating to match the present direction of technology and your organization, with an eye to future needs as well. As you see the beginnings of trends in your workforce or industry, make sure the skills and competencies needed are adequately represented in your master taxonomy.

How to assess employee skills and competencies

Design measurable assessments

Gather existing feedback from teams

Solicit feedback from customers

Administer employee self-assessments

Using skills assessments to inform your L&D strategy

You can address talent development challenges