How to Do a Skills Audit and Why You Should

As we enter the new year, we inevitably look back to what we have done and ahead to what we want to do and where we want our lives and careers to go. You can do a skills audit at any time, but this is a particularly good time to do so.

One can conduct a personal skills audit to gauge their skills and prepare for their future. In organisations, a skills audit can be done through a number of methods including surveys and one on one interviews with employees. In this article we discuss why you should do a skills audit and how you can carry one out, whether you are an individual or a company.

Here’s why you should do a skills audit for your organisation:

  •       It will help in matching employees to the right roles
  •       Helping to identify and prioritise training needs
  •       Getting an inventory of the organisation’s skills: This ensures that skills don’t go under utilised
  •       Improving retention, attracting talent and increasing engagement: employees are attracted to companies where skills development is a priority.
  •       Helping the organisation achieve its strategic goals: Knowing what skills are needed and equipping people will help to tick off those goals.
  •       Future proofing the organisation: Conducting regular skills audits helps the organisation keep up with the changing skills needs of the work landscape.

How to conduct a personal skills audit

Make a list of your skills

Write down a list of the skills you currently have, ones you may have learned from work or school. To help you do this accurately, think about specific jobs or projects you have done and what skills you used to execute each of the tasks presented to you.

Don’t neglect to include the skills that you use in your day to day life. You might be a good negotiator, good at planning gatherings for your friends or the go to person for financial advice.

Rate your skill level for each of these skills. This means noting how good or not you are at the given skills.

Where do you want to go?

It is possible that you are satisfied with your current job but if you want to change your career course or want a different position, it is important to ask yourself this question. Write down what your next career move will be and include the skills you will need to excel at it.

This is where your skills rating will come in handy. Gauging where you are vis a vis where you need to go will help you see the gaps between your current skills and the skills you need to have.

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Once you know this you can make a plan to attain those skills. You might need to do an internship, study, get a mentor or volunteer in order to get your new desired skills.

Consult someone

To get your personal skills audit right, consult a third party. Oftentimes, someone else can have a good view on your skills and weaknesses. Be careful when you choose this person. You want someone who can be objective, who knows you well enough and whose insight you trust.

Think about consulting more than one person; perhaps one who knows you in a personal setting and another who knows you in a professional capacity.

How to do a skills audit for an organisation

A skills audit can be done for employees within an organisation in order to get an understanding of their skills. It can be done to better prepare for training programs, as part of performance management, to prepare employees for new roles and so much more. Here is how you can go about carrying out one for your team.

Get stakeholder buy in

In order to conduct a successful skills audit, there needs to be management support. They need to approve both budgetary and time resources required to conduct the activity.

The second group of stakeholders whose buy in you need are the employees. Employees should be told why they are doing a skills audit in the first place.

They should know that it is not a test and they will not look bad if they are honest about not having a certain competency. If they know the reasons behind it then they will be more forthright in their responses.

Set your goals

It is important to have set goals for the organisation. These will inform how the company responds to the results of the skills audit. For instance, if you want to position your company as a customer service brand and you discover from the audit that there are major gaps in this skill, then you can plan to have programs that will address this.

Define the scope of the audit

To conduct a successful skills audit, define the scope ahead of time. This will help you get actionable results as well as help you remain organised.

As an example, you might break down the skills into technical skills, leadership skills and soft skills. Anything outside of that will not be included in that particular audit.

The scope will define what information you are looking for. This can then be distilled into a document or framework.

You can opt to start with auditing just one department. This can help to refine the process, see any loopholes and help to better manage the skills audit before it is rolled out to other departments and the whole organisation.

Survey the employees

Once you have created a framework, have employees do the survey to audit their skills. They can conduct a self-assessment to identify their weaknesses and strengths as well as share where they feel they need improvement.

Follow the self-assessments up with one on one interviews. To eliminate any biases the employees might have, engage their direct supervisors or managers. They will likely be able to clarify where employees have exaggerated their abilities and where they have sold themselves short.

An analysis of an employee’s history will additionally reveal information on their skills.There’s the option to couple these methods with a formal skills test.

In Summary

A skills audit helps individuals and organisations in assessing what talents they have and to plan for those they will need to achieve their goals. It also helps in the nurturing of latent skills. When done periodically, a skills audit can help you to reach strategic objectives.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.