The validation of skills and knowledge acquired should not be a preoccupation reserved to candidates. On the contrary, it’s a challenge for both candidates/employees and companies (see Insights No 5 for the first part of article).
Skill Assessment Tests for Employers
To manage current skills and those that will be necessary for a business and its future is a crucial element for a management that is synonym of results. Such an approach requires, for example to be able to identify the gaps in competences according to the company’s objectives and the occupied positions and, to put in place a skills development plan. It’s in that context that skills assessments are essential. They allow us:
- to identify potential talents within the company,
- to evaluate staff performance in a neutral and impartial way according to specific competences,
- to measure in a proactive manner the gaps in skills according to teams in place or according to the goals set by the management.
Once the information gathered, the employer can prepare in the best conditions a strategy according to the company’s specific needs. For example, to the question do we need to acquire a new competence, an advised recruiter or employer will have the choice between several thoughtful options:
- to recruit an external consultant or expert to guide employees and then proceed to an internal transfer of competence,
- if an employee possesses the specific competence, to provide him or her with a coach or mentor to obtain his or her commitment and understanding of the goals and needs of the company,
- to recruit a new collaborator internally that possesses the adequate potential of development, which would have been identified by the results of a skills assessment,
- to recruit a new collaborator externally that will fit the needs and the level of skills of the team, which would have been identified by skills assessment results and gap analysis.
In either case, a continuous training strategy and a staff development policy will definitely lead to a relationship based on results and a profitable win-win solution. To consider employees and their skills like “something never acquired”, of high-value and that demand constant development, guarantees the performance of the company and the employees, and this in a long term vision, adapted to the evolution of jobs and positions, as well as the market requirements.
In addition, evaluations and validations allow employees to understand and appreciate the level of performance requested for their position and the responsibility required. They also give the occasion to develop, to motivate oneself and to increase employee satisfaction as well as his or her employability either internally or externally. Such a strategy increases the level of staff commitment towards the company and its retention and offers internal talents the possibility to climb the hierarchical levels.
What kind of professional skills can you assess?
As an active player in the job market and through our close monitoring, JobProfile developed an expertise on the transition of the jobs of tomorrow and the new requirements of the professional world. JobProfile proposes this knowledge and vision through its career development programs, as well as within the context of its recruitments. To this end, we’ve adopted two key tools, business and technical skills assessments (IKM) and Vadequa, a tool designed to identify corporate culture and organizational values of a candidate and/or a business.
What’s the need of those two solutions? We all possess both « soft skills » and « hard skills », assets that makes us unique and professional in our field of activity. Very often, talents mix those two categories. Yet, in the process of self-marketing and positioning, and in the step of choosing which skill to validate, it is essential to have a clear knowledge of what are our real business and technical competences on one side. But it is also essential to know what culture and professional values are in adequacy with our way of being and operating.
Know-how : business and technical competences, linked in a specific manner to a function, a task or an activity. These skills are generally defined by the specific field of activity of a company, a department or a team, or job specifications.
Life skills, self-management skills or soft skills: culture, motivations, organizational values, professional and personal values. These skills are basic elements or starting points like your personality, but also values forged during your existence that guide your manner to operate and to manage situations. For example, the way you think you should be managed or treated in a company, by your boss or your colleagues, what your salary should be based on: success or seniority, your level of responsibility, etc.
Note: Leadership and management are competences linked to your soft skills and not business skills, like a lot of people often imagine. Like shyness, leadership is a personal attribute that some of us have more or less developed. But like shyness, we can, all the same, work on it and learn to control it. We will then learn to communicate better, to work on our decision-making ability, to motivate and inspire others, to handle management techniques, etc.
Returning to our topic, when it’s time to identify and choose what type of competence to develop, one should still ask him/herself how the need for that specific competence on the market will evolve. This requires using some imagination, creativity and to regularly monitor and watch your field of activity. I’ll add that it is essential to consider cross functional and cross discipline approaches starting from your field. This is a trend that will be more and more sought and valued.
To conclude, it’s up to you and only you to undertake this process of identification and validation. Don’t wait for your company to offer it to you. And if it’s the case, make sure that it corresponds to the company needs, but also to a productive and useful step for your own employability, for this employer or the next one.
Unfortunately, companies are often more likely to look externally then internally when it’s about new competences. With professional networks, your employers often know better about external potential talents than they know about their own employees. That’s one of the many reasons to develop your own marketing, your positioning and a thoughtful development of your competences.