Subscribe to My Feed   Follow Me On Twitter   Join Me On LinkedIn   Friend Me On Facebook

Preparing for Effective Skills Assessments

Upfront communication is essential!

Effective Skills Assessments

When I’m working with a client to gather information as part of a skills assessment initiative, the first steps I take are to understand the client’s overall goals for the initiative and to get to know the client overall. Has such a project been undertaken before? Was it successful or not? And what made it successful or not? Often times we jump into assessment initiatives without doing enough upfront “selling” of what we are trying to accomplish to the staff being assessed. Let’s face it, while we are all interested in what others’ think of our performance, the other part of us really doesn’t want to hear anything negative! Plus, depending on our position in the organization, we may be worried about losing our jobs, or worried that something we say about someone else will get back to us. These are all valid concerns and must be addressed in order to ensure full participation in the assessment project.

Here are some best practices for preparing for a skills assessment prior to actually sending out the survey questions or meeting with folks being assessed:

  • Send a preliminary email notifying people of the assessment project. Include information on:
    • The reason behind the initiative – what are the goals? What is the purpose of doing this assessment?
    • The benefits to the organization and to the individual in moving forward with this project
    • How it will be conducted (online survey, in-person interviews, or some combination)
    • What is being done with the information (how it is being shared)
    • Approximate timing of the initiative
    • How people can learn more or provide comments on the initiative
  • After the email is sent and people have a chance to digest the information; hold small group meetings or meet with departments/business units to review the process and answer any questions
  • Prior to sending out the assessment questions or setting up meetings with individuals, hold informal “information sessions” that anyone can attend to get any additional questions answered.

The more time I can spend up front socializing the initiative, the increase in participation and the more valid, detail-oriented, and valuable information I receive. Whatever decision you make around how data will be used and shared – stick with it! Do not go back on what you tell people – this will only damage your reputation and set future initiatives up for failure. Once you lose the trust of your employees, it is very difficult to get that trust back. If something changes in your plans, share the information sooner rather than later – explaining what changed and why.

Comments are closed.