How to Conduct a Skills Audit

A skills audit is a process of building a professional team and employee job satisfaction. Here are the most important moments of forming an effective team.

We discuss the ways of assessing visible and hidden capabilities of the staff as a method of forming a corporate culture.

The concept of a skills audit

Skills are the knowledge and competencies from a professional point of view that make a person be wanted on a particular job. Many variables depend on the quantity and quality of skills, from the employee’s salary to the company’s overall success in which he or she works.

People say there are no indispensable workers. The reason for this opinion is one can develop any skill one wants. You can do it before you get a job, to withstand the competition, or you can do it while holding your current position. It’s never too late to learn.

A skills audit is a method of reviewing and evaluating the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to perform a specific job.

When do you need a skills audit

A skills audit makes sense on several occasions. Large enterprises are likely to encounter a problem like their employees’ skill gaps sooner or later. This can happen for two reasons: superficial recruitment estimates, and gaps which are growing as technology and industries evolve.

Sometimes employees simply can’t keep up with all the changes and innovations. In the latter case, a skills assessment can help identify gaps and train employees in a timely manner.

Assessing skills identifies knowledge gaps, skill deficiencies, helps identify strengths, and the need for targeted training.

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Before you submit your resume

A resume usually consists of a list of professional experience and an overview of professional skills. If a person wants to grow within one company, for example, and build a career horizontally rather than vertically, then this is a necessary measure.

What does it mean to progress on a horizontal career path? It occurs when an employee doesn’t go for a promotion but changes the field of activity if one possesses enough skills.

For example, a member of the marketing department who has been creating selling texts for several years has mastered Python programming language during that time and wants to transfer to the development department. Then HR audits the skills and makes a job offer if any available.

When interviewing a candidate for a position

Assessing professional skills is an important part of the interview process. Yes, recruiters don’t always do this part. However, it is important not only to be able to read how beautifully the candidate describes himself/herself in the resume but also to see the correspondence between what is desired and what is real.

If the position is technical, preferably cooperate with the head of the department or another expert in the field to make a checklist or a test assignment for the candidate. The lack of a clear understanding of what knowledge is and how it can be tested often leads to hiring those who only seem competent.

The result of such assessments will determine both the company’s productivity and the employee’s success. In addition, it will be possible to project a plan for the development of this employee, as well as the costs necessary or not for the improvement of his skills in the future.

When optimising a company’s performance

The competency-based assessment proved to be useful for more than simple hiring. It allows using the method efficiently in selecting employees for promotions and in building the company’s talent pool.

Tips on how to conduct a skills audit

If you are conducting an interview, the first thing you need is a well-designed questionnaire. In addition to assessment, you will be able to use the questionnaire for comparison and analysis. Which, of course, will help you make the right choices.

Pay your attention to whether the candidate has practical achievements in his professional sphere. Expertise is always validated by results. It is the practitioner who knows what to ask and how to check to determine the candidate’s level of training and to understand whether he or she is proficient in the field.

If you are evaluating the skills of current employees, it’s not only the trainees’ or juniors’ skills to evaluate. Senior and executive employees can also be audited from time to time. We can suggest a universal skills audit method applicable in almost any field:

Make a list of important competencies

Assessing a candidate using absolute, formal units for each of the competencies is unrealistic; it is only possible to determine the degree of his/her compliance with different qualities required for a particular position.

We can roughly divide all competencies into 4 types: specific professional skills, personal qualities, motivational qualities, and the candidate’s safety qualities for the company. Develop a competency assessment tool together with an expert.

The main method of interviewing a skills assessment is a case study. In a properly structured interview, devote at least half of the time to it.

Conduct the interview

The standard practice for a proficient interviewer is to ask for specific examples from personal experience, explaining one’s actions and their consequences, providing details, covering the topic, etc.

The interviewer uses the list of competencies during the interview to ensure that no point is overlooked for the evaluation. Do you think you have received enough information on this competency? Check the list, and then continue with the other skills.

Conduct a structured evaluation of an employee

A structured assessment is an outline of skills that gives a quantitative rating of the candidate’s suitability for the position according to the requirements. If a candidate scores low on any competency, he or she should not be considered as recommended for the position.

Using technology in your HR work

On the surface, it seems the task of expert skills assessment is easy to accomplish. However, it is relevant if the company is small. If a company has a three or four-digit number of employees with a wide variety of objectives and skills, it is difficult, if not impossible, to qualitatively assess the talent pool by hand.

One person, and in our case HR, doesn’t have the expertise in all fields to make the evaluation on his or her own. Likewise, pulling an expert or department head to interview every employee in a huge company is hard.

HR software development can help with this task. In a large company, skills audits can be conducted using advanced technology, incorporating them at different stages of the process.

Automated diagnostic tools enable a large number of employees to fill out special questionnaires and conduct instant competence analysis. This optimises the time HR`s could have spent if they had done everything on their own. Besides, there are specialty companies that are ready to do a talent pool diagnostic of any business.

Engineering a productive and a happy team

Undoubtedly assessment of professional skills and personal qualities helps to improve the effectiveness and productivity of the team.

However, it is worth remembering in addition to the expectations, the team efficiency depends on all sorts of rewards. These encouragements offered may vary greatly, including not only monetary bonuses.

Employee pulse survey

Building a healthy relationship with employees requires keeping abreast of current issues and needs. An interesting phenomenon has recently begun to spread, such as the employee pulse survey.

This concept slightly overlaps with skills assessment, as it is carried out in the form of filling out a questionnaire once in a certain period of time. IT technology has made it possible to conduct it online using cloud services.

This sort of procedure is aimed at improving the corporate culture. Reviewing the problems and needs of employees will help management eradicate negative factors that reduce the quality of the company’s work.

In addition, employee surveys give everyone the opportunity to have their say, to get information about the company’s activities if necessary, and to receive feedback. They provide a chance to assess not only professional interaction but also one of a personal nature.

Anonymous questionnaires allow getting honest answers both about the internal relations of the team and about the opinion on the general work of the team, identifying milestones and trying to eliminate those problems.

To make a company work as one entity, it is necessary to work constantly on improving the quality of communication not only with customers but also with employees.

Raising morale

The success of any company depends not only on the management but also on the coordinated work of the entire team. Corporate culture doesn’t shape itself. The responsibility for team building rests on the shoulders of management and HR.

You can enhance your team not only by upgrading the skills of your employees but also by unleashing the rich potential of the individuals. When team members reach their full potential, perform tasks with satisfaction and have a personal interest in achieving goals, that’s when business success occurs.

An advanced leader ought to be open to employees, educating them about processes and cause-and-effect relationships. Regular meetings for information sharing will increase employee engagement over time. They will understand the impact of their daily work on processes and the company as a whole.

Regular team building, corporate events, sports, and recreational activities raise the motivation and the desire to work even more efficiently.

Expressing gratitude

Working on a daily basis with no visible outcome is depressing for the team. Everyone needs public recognition. Gratitude coming from a person who is higher on the career ladder is twice as pleasing.

Proper and effective behaviour, timely and clever suggestions, achievement of good performance – all this should be celebrated to raise the self-esteem of employees. Public encouragement is an important process in motivation shaping.

Tools for additional motivation are rewards, a new project or career advancement, the goodwill to experiment and take reasonable risks, etc. If all of this leads to improved performance and skill development for the gifted employee, it is a huge bonus for the entire company.

In Summary

From all of the above, we can conclude that the assessment of personnel skills is an extensible concept. It can be conducted during a job interview, as well as at any stage of work. It can be one-time or regular.

Evaluation should include both specific technical skills and personal qualities in order to continuously improve the employee’s qualifications and interaction in the team.

Having the information about the dynamics of the team’s development on hand, it is possible to correct and improve tendencies of work, give and receive feedback, receive and give recommendations.

In the practice of large companies, the skill audit is a common tool of HR management to motivate employees, audit human resources, find out the reasons for personnel turnover, and make decisions about training expenses.

About the Author

Louis Sawyer is a professional writer, editor and a web design expert. She loves writing about technology trends, web development, mobile games and business issues. Also, Louis works as a proofreader at Computools. Follow her on Twitter.

Team 6Q

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