How to Conduct a Skills Audit
In the first part of our talk about skills audits, we created a picture of what is a skill audit and the benefits of a skill audit for organizations and leaders. Now, it is time to provide more detailed recommendations as to how a skills audit should be conducted.
We must say that implementing a skills audit strategy can be easier than first imagined. In fact, there is no better way to ensure an ideal employee job fits better than a well-developed skills audit.
Generally, a skills audit comprises three main stages:
- Allocating obligations and responsibilities among the skills audit participants.
- Defining what skills and capabilities each employee must possess, preferably by job role.
- Deciding on a tool and method to conduct, collect, and analyze the information the skills audit provides.
One of the biggest mistakes made by managers in organizations is when they ignore the importance of their own and others’ responsibilities. In fact, defining responsibilities in skills audit is neither difficult nor costly. At the same time, it is through an effective distribution of roles and responsibilities that managers and employees participating in the skills audit can guarantee the efficiency and validity of its outcomes.
Within any skills audit, we usually define three groups of roles:
- Administration: skills administrators are central to any skills audit; they can operate individually or as a team of skills experts.
- Management: managers play a double role in skills audits – they monitor the way the audit impacts their subordinates and, at the same time, have their skills evaluated by chief managers.
- Employees: workers are the target population in any skills audit.
Defining the Skills and Capabilities Each Employee Must Possess
Once the responsibilities and roles are defined, auditors must determine the skills and capabilities each employee must possess. These are actually the criteria used by managers to judge the effectiveness and skillfulness of each employee. In addition, we have found that building the skills framework around job roles is a good way to start.
Each organization must develop a unique skills framework that reflects its business orientation, strategic objectives, and competencies. The benefits of having a skills framework are obvious. Organizations that have a skills framework, also:
- Develop a better understanding of the required capabilities and skills needed to meet their strategic objectives.
- Can help employees and managers develop a shared idea of how an “ideal employee job role” fit looks like.
- Enable a more powerful and empowered workforce.
- Rationalize skills and competencies to enhance the quality of the recruitment and selection process.
In order to develop an exclusive skills framework, organizations need to make two essential steps:
- Define the job roles and tasks associated with the job title – write down the range of skills and capabilities required to perform each task.
- Link these defined roles to tasks – assign a set of required skills to each task.
Next, managers and leaders can switch to developing a skills measurement system
Honestly, no measurement system is perfect. Simultaneously, no system is universal. Organizations must develop skills measurement systems that fit in the unique conditions of their performance.
Conducting the Skills Audit
- Employees can evaluate themselves and their skills. It is always better to set a deadline for self-appraisals.
- Then managers can evaluate their employees and compare the results of their analysis and employee self-assessment.
- A tool can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet using emails, or as efficient as a skills database meant for this purpose.
In conclusion, the goal of workforce planning using a skills audit is to ensure that your organization can achieve its mission by having the right people with the right skills in the right places at the right times. In the next article, we will go through the step-by-step implementation and analysis of a skills audit.