What is Competence And How Do We Measure It?
How do you increase plant operating efficiency, decrease training time for new employees, make huge gains in profitability and reductions in overhead? Simple. Workplace competency, as measured by competency profiles. What's a competency profile? A set of observable workplace behaviours. If it's observable, it can be assessed. An assessment of competency has four components:
1) employee knowledge assessment, such as a quiz
2) workplace-based evidence
3) trained, credible assessors
4) Objective assessment criteria.
To keep things fair, make sure you use a formal statement of performance criteria that lists variables such as the conditions of observation. Breaking the general competency into discrete blocks aids in the assessment process. For example, if the competency we want to measure is someone's ability to build a wall, the units might be:
1) chooses the correct type of bricks for the job.
2) Pairs the appropriate mortar or other fixative with the bricks
3) demonstrates proper building techniques
4) follows company safety policies
These units allow a behaviourally anchored assessment of the employee's abilities and knowledge. Documentation taken along the way provides evidence supporting the assessor's judgment. Doing this kind of assessment puts the focus on workplace performance. We all know workplace performance improvements bolster all the key business metrics. Who doesn't want an increase in productivity and profitability? As a bonus, when the outcomes of learning are directly associated with workplace performance, you are not only evaluating the learners but also the relevance of workplace learning resources. Wait a minute, I hear you saying. Isn't all that measuring and collecting evidence going to result in a bureaucratic nightmare of written reports no one has the time to read or track? it might, if you insisted on forcing people to write those reports. You could save yourself the trouble by using an e-portfolio system, such as Skilsure, which accepts a spectrum of submission types. Why make someone write a report when a photo of their work uploaded from a smart phone will do? An assessor approves the submission against the criteria set for the competency, and bob's your uncle. This sort of evidence makes assessment more objective, and is trusted by employees, unions, and supervisors. The e-portfolio also provides an auditable record of the assessment in compliance-based organizations. Competency assessment like this builds a real-time database of employee and team data, letting you know where your company's skills gaps are and what progress is being made on filling them. Exactly the information you need to build strategies for the future.