Employers the world over are increasingly appreciating skills tests and the benefits that they provide. Most frequently, companies will integrate skills assessments into their recruitment processes, as it is a fact that doing so leads to better hiring decisions. This is because skills tests can validate skills that candidates outline in their applications and act as accurate, objective performance predictors by measuring how successfully candidates can carry out the essential functions of a job, which in turn leads to lower employee turnover and higher employee engagement. However, we at SkillsArena do not believe that skills assessments should be confined to use within hiring processes, but used throughout employment. Evaluating your existing employees through skills testing is known as talent assessment, and it is a valuable tool for improving the productivity and performance of individuals and teams. In this blog, we will discuss why organisations should not leave skills testing behind at the recruitment stage and how such talent assessment can be beneficial for your employee engagement and a multitude of other factors.
Recognising training needs
Testing your existing employees is the key to highlighting which hard skills do or do not need improving amongst them. By assessing your talent’s proficiency, you can pinpoint the skills that require further training and use the information provided by the test results to put together an appropriate plan for addressing the issue. With access to this precise data, employers can implement relevant training or design workshops (such as our Character DNA Discovery Workshop) tailored to the specific skills that the workforce needs to brush up on. Not only this, but skills testing can even be a useful way for employers to assess and reflect on their own training strategies. For example, by skills testing a recent recruit who has completed the company’s onboarding process, employers can better judge how effective that onboarding has been and whether it needs changing to better serve new hires.
Having your employee pool take regular skills assessments can also be a fair way of identifying those who are performing best. In the same way that skills assessments can make recruitment more unbiased, using them to evaluate who is deserving of recognition ensures that any raises, promotions or bonuses are awarded based on merit. This approach to team management, which ensures that top performers are and feel noticed by employers, boosts motivation and helps maintain employee engagement. Talent assessment can also be used as a way of identifying potential leaders. While filling a management position with an external hire is an option, it can be costly, time-consuming and unnecessary if the right person for the job is already working for the company. So, by skills testing your workforce, particularly through assessments that measure the leadership capabilities needed for a specific post, your organisation can practice good succession planning by ensuring that crucial management positions are filled as effectively as possible.
Improving performance levels
Although talent assessment through skills assessments can help draw attention to those excelling, they can also indicate employees who are not adequately performing the duties of their role. Using an employee skills matrix, companies can map out the current skill levels of individuals and easily compare them to evaluate who requires additional support in their work. Once these employees have been identified, employers can provide additional training and set clear, personalised goals for improvement, using skills testing as a way of tracking the individuals’ progress. Having the right people in the right positions is vital for ensuring employee retention and optimising performance. Therefore, as well as being tools for helping people improve in their existing jobs, skills assessments can also be used to judge when a role change is needed altogether and what kind of alternative role that person is best suited to, based on their skill set.
Being able to employ effective talent assessment to accurately compare your organisation’s performance against that of your competitors is paramount to its success, and one way of doing this is through benchmarking. Having your talent take skills tests is an effective way for your company to benchmark skills, meaning that levels of company-wide competency can be assessed in preparation for comparison against industrial or geographical standards. Once skills assessments are implemented to measure employees' aptitude, the data can be used for either internal or external benchmarking; that is, comparing performance between teams, departments and branches within the company or directly against the wider market. Both of these forms of benchmarking can motivate team members and improve a workplace's productivity.
Adopting new skills
The Covid-19 pandemic changed workplaces almost overnight, thrusting a set of circumstances upon organisations which required people to rapidly adapt to new ways of working. Video meetings and remote work setups, new operating procedures and an abundance of different softwares and technologies are just some examples of how suddenly it can be necessary to get to grips with new skills and how important it is to keep up with the times. Testing your staff members’ success at picking up a particular new skill can therefore help to ensure that your workforce is performing this skill to the standard required. By upskilling the workforce in this way, employers can make sure that their organisation as a whole maintains a competitive edge and remains a front-runner in terms of workplace developments. Not only this, but implementing skills assessments as educational tools will benefit employee confidence, as doing this will foster a company culture that values learning and career development. Whether your company does not use skills tests at all, whether it only uses them at pre-employment or whether it uses them in a limited capacity, this blog has hopefully shown the range of ways in which they can be utilised to enhance the performance of employees and, by extension, the entire organisation. Take a look at our range of skills testing modules here. Should you need any help, you can reach our experienced team by calling 0203 693 2201. Alternatively, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for further information, or create an account with our self-service system so that we can get you started with a Skillsarena profile in the quickest way possible.