Assessing competencies in the workplace

So, you have a Competency Framework and an accurate Job Description for all your Employees. Is that enough? Well, not really. It is so easy for administrative pieces of work such as a Job Descriptions to quickly gather dust in a filing cabinet or be hidden away in a folder on someone’s PC. To make it work properly there are two facets of this system that need to be implemented.

Firstly, there is a JOB PROFILE. I will discuss this in more detail in a further blog but suffice to say, it details the expected routines, the  ‘Need to Know’ pieces of information required throughout the day, the Review Meetings and their purpose and the actions (routine or otherwise) that are anticipated on a daily or hourly basis.

The other critical element is an assessment tool. The Personal Assessment Questionnaire is a questionnaire built on over 30 years’ experience in Operational Management and provides a vital insight into how the individual and the organisation perform – and behave; it is an essential monitor for new recruits, aspirants and incumbents alike. Whilst it might be the responsibility of any Manager to assess their direct reports, this can be quite subjective and be heavily reliant on factors that are outside of people’s control. The Personal Assessment Questionnaire was devised and developed to provide an objective appraisal of employees’ current capabilities, influences, understanding and potential.

The PAQ takes the essential job requirements, whether they be ‘Continuous Improvement’, ‘Performance Management’, ‘Employee Engagement’ or other core skills that are deemed essential and matches them to a set of Situational Questions. The results provide an insight, not only into the competencies of each individual but also, the current cultural factors that drive certain perceptions and behaviours.

Matching this to what is actually observed is invaluable, not only to assess why certain people behave in a certain way but also exactly what is required in terms of training, development and support. It provides the platform by which people understand the gaps in competencies and knowledge, why performance factors are not understood and what individuals – and the business as a whole – need to do differently. Let’s face it, change and improvements are totally reliant on the individuals within the organisation and without them having the necessary tools and competencies, extremely difficult to achieve

The Personal Assessment Questionnaire is a vital instrument when people want to take the next step on the ladder. Nevertheless, we usually find ourselves in the situation of assessing employees in their current roles. They are neither new recruits nor potential candidates for promotion.  As a result, it can be quite uncomfortable to reach the conclusion that some – or many – in the organisation are not competent in the skills required to drive the business. This requires a substantial development plan that takes existing employees through a targeted training programme so that the requirements of the business can be met. It provides a development path that assures each individual and the organisation that the key, core skills can be achieved.

Isn’t this where we started? Didn’t we start by looking at the Lloyds survey on the current challenges facing Managers and Organisations, namely that 88% of manufacturers admitting to having a skills shortage? Isn’t this the real problem? The only solution can only be targeted learning, specific skill requirements and a fully functional Competency Framework that provides the necessary direction and objectives for employees to thrive and develop.

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