Skill assessments useful addition to employee evaluations

Kirstin Guptill
Kirstin Guptill

The debate over the usefulness of performance evaluations has raged on for a long time. There’s one argument performance evaluations don’t provide relevant information to determine if an employee is succeeding or failing. The other argument poses a legitimate question: If no performance evaluation is completed, how do you really know how an employee is doing?

One thing remains certain whether or not we continue with formal performance evaluations or move on to something slightly different.Employers still must track the performance and skills of their employees not only to ensure they’re doing the  required work, but also determine if employees should be promoted, given a wage increase, provided additional training or terminated.

What if we took what we know about performance evaluations and created skill assessments to really guide supervisors when evaluating their staff. Rather than ask questions about whether or not an employee meets expectations, perhaps we should pose measurable questions that can be presented at different levels of employment to accurately gauge successes and struggles.

When creating a skill assessment to be used alongside or instead of performance evaluations, a clear picture can be drawn to show where an employee might shine as well as struggle. This not only helps supervisors when attempting to make staffing decisions, but also allows provides for employees a better idea of what they know and do.

Taking it a step further, these skill assessments or a variation can be used to evaluate a job applicant to determine if they have the needed skills, knowledge and abilities for the position. Using aassessments from recruiting through employment also helps in identiying shortfalls.

A common complaint among employees is that the path to career advancement seems clouded in uncertainty. If organizations create clear, reliable and valid assessments to assess employees, perhaps employees would be able to better identify what’s needed to advance. Moreover, supervisors would be better equipped to identify employees who show potential for success in promoted positions.

It’s important in human resources to focus not only on employee retention, but also employee engagement. While one more assessment or test won’t address every issue, the approach can identify areas that help or hinder retention as well as engage employees to be more successful in their current positions and strive for greater success.