Employee competencies – what are they and how to verify them?

What are employee competencies?

An employee’s competences are his abilities in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Used and developed during employment, they lead to the implementation of entrusted professional tasks. The set of all skills possessed by an employee can be divided into several categories. The most important and popular are hard and soft skills. The hard skills include, for example, knowledge of software, a foreign language, machine operator qualifications or a driving license. The soft ones include, among others: resistance to stress, independence, communication, creativity and analytical thinking.

When measuring employee competencies, the level of mastery of individual competences by given employees is assessed in relation to the requirements in the form of job competency profiles. This process is called a competency audit or balance of competences. Its main goal is to analyze and evaluate the competences available in the organization.

Ways of measuring employee competencies.

The subject of the analysis are work requirements and people’s behavior while performing their duties
and the effects of work. Employers are most concerned with measuring actual competencies.

Employee competencies can be examined in many ways. The most popular methods are tests, incl. knowledge tests, competence, psychometric and situational tests. On their basis, we can determine the level of the employee’s skills in the field of concentration abilities, predisposition to group work or conflict resolution skills. In addition, the personality traits of the employee can be outlined.

However, for many business areas, hard competences will be of greater importance, as measured by tests of professional knowledge. They check the level of knowledge in specific fields and verify the ability to use them in various situations.

The tests of professional knowledge include language tests and skills tests. They provide a good starting point for further competency analysis. Interviews with employees can be a good supplement to the data obtained using the test method. They make it possible to obtain a lot of additional information.

More information can also be provided by the so-called multi-source assessment – evaluation of an employee by his associates, clients, subordinates and superiors. The most advanced assessment method, however, is the Assessment / Development Center (A&DC). They take the form of a meeting where employees solve tasks prepared for them. At the same time, while performing them, they are subject to observation by specialists. Based on the observation notes, conclusions are drawn regarding the assessed competencies.

Why is it worth verifying competences?

Most employers focus on checking the employee’s professional competences at the recruitment level. However, it is worth remembering to regularly measure the current competences of the entire human capital of our company. For the study to make sense and bring the best results, we should define the time intervals at which it will be carried out.

An important element of competency verification is to define the needs of our company. This will allow the creation of competency profiles of current and future employees, which in turn enables transparent planning of the company’s development.

In addition, cyclical verification is slow to assess the development potential of employees. Thanks to this, the employer will learn about the shortages and training needs of the staff. It will also be able to optimally match positions to the most competent employees.

Tools for measuring professional competences.

Currently, there are many tools available on the market, from those enabling tests to be carried out to tools that constitute the competence base of all employees of the company. It is worth adjusting the tool to the needs of the company, both current and planned.

Regular research allows you to determine the level of employee development in the company. They also provide information on the pace and tendency of his development, as well as his level of motivation.

If you are looking for a comprehensive tool to collect a wide spectrum of knowledge about human resources, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with our SkillBox offer. Thanks to the built-in Qualification Matrix, Skills Matrix and Periodic Assessment System, you have an insight into the current state of competences of your staff. What’s more, your employees also have access to the planned development path.

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