In a study by The Muse, 80% of new hires said they’d leave a job within six months if it wasn’t living up to their expectations. In today’s job market, employers can no longer wait for new employees to “feel their way around” in their new roles and hope they’ll begin to contribute “in due time.” Instead, organizations need new hires to hit the ground running.
The quicker an organization can understand their new hires’ skills and capabilities, the easier it can be for managers to customize learning and development (L&D) opportunities for them. Though preemployment skills assessments have been used for years during the recruitment process, many companies also utilize skills assessments post hire.
If deployed effectively, post-hire skills assessments can help employers reduce new hires’ time to proficiency. It can also work to help new hires feel valued by the organization and acclimated in their new role. Let’s take a look at how post-hire skills assessments can help facilitate development opportunities to new hires.
What Are Skills Assessments?
Skills assessments are used to provide unbiased measurements and evaluations of a candidate’s or employee’s ability to perform the tasks and responsibilities within a job description. They may be used in preemployment, during onboarding or in the development of existing employees. Unlike knowledge or personality assessments, skills assessments are focused on how well a person can perform various tasks using certain abilities.
The Effectiveness of Skills Assessment Tests
The key to effective skills assessments is relevance. If an assessment tests for traits or skills that are not important to the role or used in new hires’ day to day, the data obtained may not be helpful. Ensure that assessments are customized for each new hire’s job role.
After new hires complete the assessment, the results should be applied not only toward their development, but that of their team’s. The organization would be doing itself a disservice if it only applied assessment results to the individual. The test results can not only help employers identify new hires’ current skill sets, but also the collective skill sets of the team and company.
Once skills assessments have been deployed and skills gaps have been identified, the organization has several opportunities during onboarding to utilize this data to maximize new hires’ time to proficiency and improve their experience. Let’s take a look.
When To Use Skills Assessments
Skills assessments in onboarding can be valuable for the preparation of other critical phases in the employee lifecycle. The data pulled from these assessments can help managers tailor learning experiences for their new employees from onboarding and beyond. Here’s how skills assessments can promote lifelong learning:
- Onboarding: During onboarding, new employees are acclimating with the physical layout, the social environment and the culture of the new organization. Managers are also learning how to manage their new employee’s performance and development. With data about the new employee’s skills and preferences, managers can tailor their work and learning experience to meet specific L&D needs.
- Coaching and development: Strengths and weaknesses identified during onboarding can help ensure that new employees are well equipped to handle the challenges of their new role. The data obtained from skills assessments can help inspire coaching discussions about their future career plans and how the organization can help them reach those goals.
- Team building: Skills assessments can also help determine how employees’ individual skills can impact the team dynamic. In most cases, each team member works to fulfill specific tasks in their role that contribute toward the team’s objective. Understanding a new employee’s skills can give managers foresight on how they can help the team achieve success now and in the future.
- Succession planning: Data from skills assessments can give managers insight into future roles and opportunities that could be a fit for their new employee, which could include a leadership role. At the time of hire, the best-fit role may not be available, but the potential to move into a different role in the future may be the incentive for a top performer to join the organization.
Today, many organizations are opting in to using skills assessments from the start of the employee/employer relationship. Skills assessments can help give organizational leaders the data they need to facilitate the right training to the right new hire.
When new employees feel like their training is customized to their needs, it can help them feel more apt to stay with the company longer, increase workplace engagement and reduce the chances of stress and burnout.
Since many of these benefits affect a company’s bottom line, it’s important to ensure skills assessments are deployed effectively. Here are a few questions to consider before implementing skills assessments in your organization:
- Which roles will skills assessment tests be used for?
- Have you clearly identified the skills for each role the assessments will be used for?
- Are the right evaluation methods in place?
You can also turn to third-party vendors to determine whether skills assessments are right for your organization and how to get started. The right services can assist with the development and implementation of the assessments as well as analyzing and tracking the results. Successful adoption of the right skills assessments can be the competitive advantage your organization needs to build high-performing teams.