The world of work is evolving. Every employer must consider the critical skill sets their organization requires today and in the future. Evaluation and assessment tools provide a lens into an employee’s technical and qualitative skills, offering unique insights to learning leaders. Using these tools can also help ensure that each employee is being evaluated consistently and equitably.

You can also collate the data to analyze your team’s strengths and gaps. This way, you can determine each team member’s strengths and how they can complement each other. Technical skills and business expertise can be easy to test — for example, you could ask your data scientists specific questions about programming languages or neural networks that demonstrate their skill level and your accountants about analyzing a budget. But qualitative assessments to determine skills gaps can trickier. It’s essential to ensure that assessment questions align with training needs in your organization. For instance, a great core value for many organization’s today is diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). So, evaluate how employees align to this value. Ensure that employees do more than appreciate diversity but can practice skills like cultural competency and allyship.

At Atlas, we use an assessment tool to determine leadership abilities across all levels of the organization, regardless of the position. We use the results as a way to learn what makes individual employees tick and their strengths. Once you collect this data, you can use this information as a development tool building human-centric training programs. In addition, it can help you determine how to better engage learners in your training programs.

Behavioral Assessments — Virtues and Challenges

Behavioral assessments are a study of a person’s behavior. It’s a method of assessment can allow learning leaders to understand how individual learners respond to different situations. Behavioral assessment tools are effective because they allow learners to self-reflect. Another significant advantage is that there aren’t any right or wrong answers. Behavioral assessment tools offer individuals the opportunity to learn more about themselves. They can validate different employee’s skills and abilities, as well as highlight any gaps. Having this kind of data can be very helpful when determining which skills employees need additional training on.

However, not every employee may be willing to share personal information about themselves. Therefore, when using behavioral assessments, try to be as reassuring as possible, letting learners know that there is no wrong or right answer. Communicate that the assessment is for self-discovery as well as for the organization to learn how to personalize their learning and development (L&D).

Recently, I sat in on a training session where the entire team shared their behavioral assessment results. Before the session, we set expectations and told the team, “This is what we want to do. If you’re not comfortable, that’s fine. But this is a safe space.” We ensured that participants understood the value of the exercise.

Consider Global Perspectives

Global organizations must also be sensitive and aware of how different cultures may receive the information they share. Therefore, learning leaders must ensure that their people understand the value of behavioral assessments and how they can benefit the organization’s training programs.

Many organizations in today’s world of work have team members located all over the world. So, it’s crucial to consider how cultural norms might differ from one learner to the next. How can we engage in a way that will be respectful of different cultural norms and ensure that employees’ strengths shine through? Some individuals may not be comfortable speaking up or publicly sharing their thoughts. For example, in many Asian countries and cultures, there is a lot of deference toward individuals in higher-level positions. So, some employees may not be open to offering suggestions during a training program.

This is important information for leaders and managers to have. For instance, if an employee from that specific culture is quiet during a training session, it can allow that leader to not assume that the employee is unengaged. And in response, the team lead could give the employee an opportunity to share their ideas or suggestions, maybe even outside of a public team setting. Assessment tools can help leaders identify team members’ natural strengths and comfort zones, as well as provide a frame of reference to evaluate and look at that information.

Looking to the Future

It’s critical that learning leaders champion buy-in for assessment and evaluation tools as essential for designing and deliver training — especially in a global capacity. Without buy in, managers might question the value of these tools and how it can improve the impact of training.

As you bring on tools for evaluation and assessment, it’s also critical to ask the right questions regarding much-needed future skills. Along with being responsive to your business and the industry you operate in, you need to use your crystal ball and predict the future skills your workforce will need to stay afloat amid rapid changes. As L&D leaders, we must continue to ensure that we’re upskilling our talent with continuous development and that all training initiatives align to core business needs.