360-degree skills assessment

What does a modern-day skills assessment strategy look like?

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Integrating a 360-degree skill assessment is vital for the growth of your organisation. Dan Tesnjak explores how introducing a positive learning strategy that provides opportunities for your employees to grow internally, will help to build a solid foundation for the future. 

17th Jan 2022
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Historically, skill assessments have been reserved for top-tier workers, but to integrate a truly positive learning culture in the company, this needs to change dramatically.

Moving away from a selected few having their skills rated by the HR team, this should instead be seen as a 360-degree strategy with workers company-wide receiving feedback from peers, managers, and external providers, on a regular basis. 

Regular feedback and insights reinforce learning and help people to continuously progress, and one simply cannot afford to neglect this for most of the internal workforce – there needs to be a global strategy in place to assess and develop internal skills for the benefit of all.

This focus on continuous assessment and development will help immensely to keep the entire workforce motivated, as well as assisting to increase retention and avoid losing your best talents, which is even more of a danger in the current climate. 

Ensuring employee growth, is ultimately the biggest driver of organisational growth and innovation, and the cost is higher than ever for companies that neglect the assessment and growth potential of their internal talent. This is primarily due to the current Great Resignation, which is threatening costly workforce turnovers that could devastate businesses large and small. 

Companies consequently need to meet their employees where they are with dynamic, democratised, and data-driven growth opportunities, based on a 360-degree skills assessment, or they will not only risk their bottom line, but they will handicap their best talent as well.

The data shows that workers that receive feedback from peers, managers, and external providers are much more likely to be promoters.

As shown in the recent report conducted by Degreed, which surveyed 2,400 global employees, team managers, and leaders, across all sectors and company sizes to understand what employees want from their organisations in 2021.

There was a clear difference between those who rated their company learning cultures as positive (promoters), and those who rated their learning cultures as negative (detractors).

The data shows that workers that receive feedback from peers, managers, and external providers are much more likely to be promoters, highlighting the importance of skills assessment.

Among other key differences illustrated in the report, promoters were found to be the most likely to be assessed by others, and to have updated their own skill profiles in the past year to document both the skills they have and those they want to learn.

How to integrate 360-degree skill assessments and with which benefits

Implementing a 360-degree skill assessments strategy, which invites colleagues and peers to participate in giving feedback, brings with it a multitude of benefits. Below are some of the ways in which this can be incorporated, and the benefits associated with these actions:

  • Use tools that offer skill reviews, skill ratings, and informal assessments, so individuals can get the feedback they need, whenever they need it.
  • Inspire and cultivate a culture of psychological safety that values continual, immediate, and informal guidance.
  • Give your people a reason to update skill profiles more regularly and make sure they understand how their skill data can benefit them from a social and developmental standpoint. 
  • Use things like leaderboards or influencer programmes to give people incentives to update their profiles. 

How the Workforce Learns data shows that in a positive learning culture, skill data is tracked across more employee profiles and updated more frequently. This shows that people are clearly motivated to keep up their skill profiles when these are being regularly assessed, to signal their strengths and identify their next learning steps.

In fact, promoters are almost 200% more likely to update their company job application system to look for internal learning and growth opportunities. Without a positive learning culture, people are 86% less likely to say they regularly update their digital profiles.

One step further

If you’re serious about implementing a skills-based strategy in your company, with the foundation of skills assessment and skills rating in place, you then need to ensure your talent strategy offers and values internal growth opportunities based on the skill data and profiles.

It’s essential to think about the tools you’re using, how they speak to each other (or don’t), and how you can align them.

This can be done by using solutions that can integrate with your entire learning and HR ecosystem, so that skill data isn’t stored in silos but can aggregate for a holistic picture of individual and organisational capabilities.

Word of advice: it’s essential to think about the tools you’re using, how they speak to each other (or don’t), and how you can align them – results conveyed through inconsistent terminology will muddy your data. 

Assessing the learning journey to support your peoples career growth

In a positive learning culture, there will be a dedicated focus company-wide for workers to continuously learn, including time set aside for this and objectives evaluated, which is why it’s important to regularly assess the development of this journey.

Constructing a positive learning culture based on guidance, feedback, and internal growth opportunities is key to not only keeping up with the needs of your business but staying ahead with a skill-based, agile development strategy.

Learning and employee growth will play an ever more vital role in helping organisations prepare and adapt for the likely challenging times ahead.

Understanding what your people are learning today, what they would like and need to learn, and offering them the opportunities to grow internally in all directions will help you build a solid foundation for tomorrow and the many years ahead.

Interested in this topic? Take a look at 'How to create the right environment to grow a learning culture'.

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