The capabilities of your employees can make or break an organisation. That’s why competency assessments are vital for ensuring your company’s ongoing success. 
 
 
Why competency assessments are invaluable assets
 
Competency assessments look at potential or existing employees’ skills, knowledge and performance relative to specified performance standards to determine their aptitude and suitability for certain roles. 
 
For high-performance organisations (that wish to remain so) and their human resource (HR) departments, these assessments are critical for a number of reasons: 
 
  • They help HR recruit, select and retain talented individuals for their workforce.
  • They provide a benchmark for performance management and employee development.
  • They assist in succession planning.
  • They help identify areas in which organisational change needs to happen.
 
“These processes [competency assessments] add robustness to an organisation’s talent development and pipelining,” says Randstad Singapore’s Head of HR for Southeast Asia, Claire Smart. “They make it easier for a company to identify the right talent as well as understand what competencies need to be developed internally.”
 
At Randstad, for example, competency tools are used to help identify the skill sets required in each business function to achieve the organisation’s strategies. 
 
“The learning & development (L&D) and HR teams need to spend time immersing themselves and partnering with the business to really understand what is required and (what are) the key pressure points,” explains Smart.
 
 
How insights are revealed 
 
Competency assessments can shed light on both personnel and organisational issues. They can:
 
  • Highlight potential or existing employees’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours in relation to the organisation’s goals.
  • Emphasise employees’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identify organisational competencies, skills gaps, pain points and areas where development is necessary.
 
FAA has designed a competency mechanism – the FAA Individual Accreditation – that recognises the knowledge and skills that employees possess or gain in formal, non-formal and informal environments – based on a competency profile for a job function that has been customised for a client. 
 
“The Individual Accreditation involves a series of assessment methods,” says FAA’s Director of Research and Development, Sarala J Marimuthu. 
 
“The two main assessment methods are portfolios and interviews. The portfolio is a comprehensive document in which employees present their knowledge, skills, and the application of knowledge and skills to a particular competency or role. This takes the form of personal reflective statements using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) format. These statements are accompanied by evidence that is verified by trained assessors who are subject matter experts in their respective areas.”
 
Once the portfolio is done, the assessors then conducts an interview with the employee to substantiate the evidence, and the employee has the opportunity to explain his or her portfolio and evidence in greater detail, adds Sarala. 
 
 
9 ways to turn insights into actions
 
Once you’ve gleaned these insights, you need to make them work for you. Here are nine things your company and employees can do once competency assessments are completed. 
 
Your organisation can:
  
  • Validate benchmarks for performance and reassess employees’ reference for their job expectations and achievements.
  • Better communicate job expectations, address performance issues and recognise employee accomplishments.
  • Determine where to allocate resources and budgets for training. 
  • Introduce this training – and other necessary professional development undertakings – to zero in on pain points and skill gaps, develop employee knowledge, bolster competence and increase productivity so they can better do their jobs.
  • Identify potential candidates and their preparedness for specific roles within the company.
  • Create a culture of continuous improvement and organisational change. 
  • Establish practicable succession plans, as you’re developing employees to progress into new roles and achieve promotion.
 
Your employees can:
 
  • Gain more flexibility and learn additional competencies as organisational roles either evolve or come into play.
  • Use the insights to inform future career decisions.
 
Don’t underestimate the value of competency assessments. They not only reveal important insights, but also offer short- and long-term benefits to your business and your workforce.

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