Dear Workforce What Questions Should We Ask During Assessments

By Staff Report

Sep. 16, 2005

Dear Questioning:

Understanding what you seek to measure, and the value to be obtained, are critical success (of failure) factors for assessment initiatives. I refer to this process as “needs analysis,” which provides a clear understanding of the outcomes you seek, as well as the specifics skills/competencies that contribute to those results.

The first step in a good needs analysis involves defining your objectives, or understanding what you expect out of the assessment process. For instance, are you looking to use assessments to help with decisions on internal promotions? Or are you trying to help employees understand how they can enhance their skills?

Once you define the objectives, examine the specific outcomes you want to obtain. For example, are you interested in assessing specific bodies of knowledge or skills, or more general behaviors and traits? Each of these requires a very different type of assessment. If you are interested in several types of outcomes, a variety ofassessment tools will be needed.

Next, pinpoint the skills andcompetencies required to succeed at the jobs. This also will influence your decision regarding assessment tools. If you are assessing every employee, define the specific key elements that cut across all the jobs in your organization. If you are assessing only specific jobs, look closely at each position to determine the key elements needed for accomplishing your objectives.

Employees who work with sophisticated equipment, or whose jobs require familiarity with certain processes or procedures, would be assessed with assessment tools that measure the specific knowledge of skills they need. On the other hand, personality tools are best for measuring specific behaviors or personality traits that relate to an employee’s ability to perform a specific job.

You must be able to draw a clear link between your objectives and the assessments you are using. Ask questions that help you define those objectives, as well as the specific traits that allow your employees to achieve them.

SOURCE: Charles A. Handler Ph.D., PHR,Rocket-Hire, New Orleans, June 9, 2004

LEARN MORE: How to Develop Competency Models.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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