The 7 Components of Effective Skills Assessment

There are several approaches you can take when assessing your employees’ skills, however, the traditional approaches have disadvantages that tend to outweigh their advantages.

The Skills Base skills assessment software and Structured-Subjective approach uses a blend of the traditional approaches (subjective and objective) to balance the pros and cons of each. The following seven components support this approach and enable it to operate effectively; we’ll outline their benefits and then explore each in more depth below.

Organization-Authored Assessment

Above all else, it’s important that your organization defines, authors, and controls your own skills assessments. This allows them to be purposefully designed to achieve your organization’s specific objectives and ensures the best possible chance of success.

It also helps establish consistency and fairness across your organization when skills assessments are centrally managed; facilitating the ability to effectively compare individuals and teams.

The organization-authored assessment component sets the foundation of this approach and influences the remaining six controls.

Curated, Structured List of Skills

A small team of relevant people within your organization should curate a structured list of skills which specifically align with your needs. This ensures only necessary data is collected and the right level of abstraction is achieved from the outset.

This process should be ongoing to make sure the list evolves over time and always remains relevant to your organization.

Did you know we just released The Skills Base library helping you get started with a structured list of skills in seconds? Click here to check it out.

Skills Assigned by Job Function

Considering every area of specialization can mean the list of skills that’s created can grow exponentially. To overcome this, skills should be assigned to people by their job function, specifically relating to their day-to-day work responsibilities. This will also help reduce the size of assessments you need to give and make them easier for team members to complete in a shorter timeframe.

Assigning skills by job function allows for consistency in tracked skills between similar roles in the organization. For example, a group of Business Analysts can be better compared with each other because they have assessed the same set of skills.

Single, Standardized Numeric Rating Scheme

One of the benefits of using the Structured-Subjective approach to skills measurement is that the assessment results can be quantitatively analyzed. Using a single, standard numeric rating means you’ll end up with a consistent, cohesive data set. That data set can then be sliced and diced in any direction, across any group, role, location, or skill set.

This data-driven approach removes the complexity that comes with a traditional subjective approach.

Defined Rating Criteria

When it comes to skill assessment, a numeric rating scale on its own is not enough. Assessors need to have minimal doubt about the rating they should select, so it’s important to define and set out clear and comprehensive criteria. This gives meaning to each rating and greatly improves the accuracy and consistency of responses, reducing bias.

Rating criteria are generally defined as a set of bullet points, since some criteria may better fit a particular person and skill, and others may better fit a different person or skill. The key is to be comprehensive so you can cover as many scenarios as possible.


It’s certainly beneficial to have a deep and intimate knowledge of each individual’s skill levels in order to effectively assess an organization as a whole. In reality though, there’s no one more knowledgeable of a person’s skills than themselves. Guided by the previous controls, a skills self-assessment provides first-hand information about your employees’ skills and can be an accurate and valuable input into skill insights. It’s also a way of supercharging the time it takes to get worthwhile data.

Skills Management is no longer mystical, secretive process run by management — it’s now tangible and visible to everyone in the team. People appreciate that their input has been sought; this greatly enhances the cultural change activity inherent with any new process in an organization.

Supervisor Assessment

While a tightly controlled self-assessment yields rapid and accurate data, no amount of controls can eliminate all inaccuracies. Introducing an additional supervisor assessment serves to verify and validate self-assessment responses, further increasing accuracy.

It’s recommended you conduct the supervisor assessment after the self-assessment, so your supervisors can factor the self-assessment ratings into their decision criteria. Any disparity between the self and supervisor assessments will highlight a potentially interesting point of discussion. Why did one assess a lower or higher rating than the other? Is there a perception misalignment, or are there real skill gaps to discuss? The disparity can often draw out needed discussion items.

Get in touch with the Skills Base team today to get a better understanding of what’s involved in a Structured-Subjective approach to skills assessment.

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