Evaluate skills to develop your talents

Evaluating skills is crucial to the success of internal mobility schemes. How can skills be reliably measured in the light of their diverse realities?
Assessing skills to develop talent
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Measurement is becoming a healthy habit in HR. Whether reporting on CSRD or gender diversity, HR teams are called upon to manipulate figures whose purpose is toimprove resource management. As far as talent management is concerned, one of the challenges is to overcome the subjective nature of this process. In particular, we are thinking of the multiplication of assessment opportunities and the use of methodologies that are better explained to colalborators. The aim of this article is to look at the best ways of integrating this mechanism into day-to-day business, in particular to make it a pillar of internal mobility.

What is proficiency assesment?

Skills assessment involves measuring your employees' competencies, knowledge and capabilities, with the aim of assisting them in their growth and reaching their full potential.

The skills assessment is like a treasure map for your company. It allows you to discover your employees' hidden talents and help them develop their skills. In this way, you can map out all your company's assets and ensure that they are aligned with current and future challenges. An assesment must include a formal dimension through tests or appraisals by managers and colleagues, as well as a self-assessment aspect. In fact, this exercise is the prerequisite for full ownership by those concerned.

How to asses them?

In the context of exploring internal mobility, the initial step is to assess all the proficiency within the company. This entails recognising the diverse range of knowledge and in-house capability and employing appropriate tools to formalize and render them visible to all HR stakeholders. These tools will vary according to the techniques measured:

skills techniques and career progression

Hard skills refer to the professional proficiency obtained through training and career experience, which can be tangibly demonstrated. These experiences are readily observable in the practical contexts of specific roles and typically relate to specific technical proficiencies.

The OECDstates that technical skills have a lifespan of 12 to 18 months

As a result, the potential for internal mobility depends on the organization's ability to leverage these assets across various business scenarios. For example, a graphic designer proficient in a particular software should have the opportunity to apply this knowledge to projects in the marketing department, as well as in HR or Finance, thus expanding and maximizing their proficiency.

How to evaluate technical skills or "Hard Skills"?

Hard skills, often referred to as technical proficiencies, are quantifiable and verifiable. Here are several methods for assessing them:

  1. Skills Tests: These are practice evaluations conducted either online or in person. For instance, the Central test is a recommended solution for evaluating programming competences, where a test can be administered to assess an individual's ability to code a solution for a given problem.
  2. Certifications: Certifications are formal credentials often provided by third-party organizations, such as skill value. Professional certifications are numerous and highly valued in cases like IT security, project management and finance.
  3. Peer reviews: While peer reviews involve a degree of subjectivity, they serve as an excellent complement to the tools mentioned above. Peers provide feedback on a colleague's proficiency level and offer recommendations for further development.

Soft skills and career development

Soft skills are the behavioral capacities acquired outside the academic realm. Every employee possesses interpersonal and personal aptitude, which typically aren't job-specific. 

The versatility of these "soft" skills is notably significant and, therefore, plays a prominent role in the development of "job bridges" that facilitate internal mobility.

How to evaluate "Soft Skills"?

Due to their subjective nature, assessing soft skills can be more challenging than hard skills. It can be more difficult to quantify them.

Here are some methods for assessing soft skills:

  1. Behavioral Interviews: These interviews are designed to evaluate non-technical competence by posing questions about past experiences. The aim is to gain insights into how candidates have handled challenging situations and collaborated within a team. Sample questions may include, "Can you share a project where you had to work in a team? How did you collaborate with your teammates to achieve the results and project's objectives?"
  2. Personality tests or personalized diagnostics: These tests aim to measure personality traits linked to professional success. Solutions like Assesfirst enable the assessment of qualities such as openness, empathy and the ability to perform under pressure as criteria for success in a given role.
  3. Gamification: Simulations and role-playing games can be used to assess non-technical abilities by creating realistic work situations. For instance, the Niaouli solution places candidates or employees in situations that evaluate their problem-solving abilities, decision-making competences, communication effectiveness and teamwork capabilities.

Evaluate abilities based on established benchmarks

To conduct scalable examinations across the entire organization, utilizing two points of reference is crucial: one about your business and the other concerning your employees' aptitudes.

1. The job reference system

This composition begins with the most specific element, "the position" (as indicated on the salary slip). It gradually expands to a broader concept of "the job," which can be common to multiple positions.

2. The repository of  proficiencies

Many companies organize their experiences based on the two dimensions mentioned earlier: hard and soft skills. This structure facilitates the adoption of a shared internal language. The objectives of the proficiency framework are twofold:

  • Associate experience with specific job roles, limiting them to a maximum of 8 to 15 competences per role.
  • Highlight the skills cross-cutting issues that are essential for future professional mobility.

What additional tools can be used to measure changes in skills ?

Each employee can apply for various skill evaluation methods; let's dive into the details of these options:

1. The balance sheet of expertise

The skills assessment can be initiated either by the recruiter or the employer, but it is not mandatory for the employee to do so. This appraisal facilitates a comprehensive inventory of professional experience, personal evaluation and those that need development to align with career objectives. In the context of internal mobility, this approach assesses the employee's willingness and motivation to progress, redefine their career path and secure a position that matches their qualifications or aspirations. 

2. The Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

For employees, this approach involves obtaining additional certifications by having the experience acquired through various professional experiences formally recognised. It can be implemented in all types of companies, either at the employee's or employer's initiative.

VAE can be mobilized as a tool for internal professional mobility policy, particularly within the framework of the Strategic Workforce Planning (Gestion prévisionnelle des emplois et des skills). In this way, VAE enhances the value of employees and supports the transformation of the company's professions. 

3. Professional development advice

The Professional Development Council (CEP) is a government-funded, personalized service provided at no cost. It is designed to assist individuals who want to assess their professional situation by offering personalized guidance from advisors representing authorized organizations. The aim is to help individuals create a professional development plan.

4. The professional assessment

Professional assessment is one of the tools that can be offered during a professional interview. It involves an operational process that merges the company's skill requirements with the employee's expectations.

For the employee, it serves as a means to identify their experience and align them with available job roles and internal projects. This process addresses professional aspirations, motivations and objectives without going into intricate details.

Our primary concern with these internal mobility programs is their one-time nature, which fails to promote ongoing HR support.

Indeed, the relevance of an internal talent mobility policy depends on the combination of skills and the motivation of employees to develop them. This is why we suggest that you now consider assessing each individual's skills, in order to master all the individual factors that can trigger long-term mobility within your organization.