The L&D Forum

Skills Audit advice needed

Hi all

Just want to pick your brains if possible...

I'm giving a presentation on introducing a skills audit into my organisation, I have a few questions just to help guide my thinking/reassure me I'm going along the right track -

  1. How would you introduce the skills audit so if effectively informs training needs?
  2. How will you capture the information gained?
  3. What will you do to ensure the identified training needs are addressed? 

I have a few ideas already that I want to cover in the presentation:

  • Match training requirements to the new/revised job description following the merger & identify any gaps against that
  • Make sure employees are legally compliant where necessary and refreshers are booked in advance e.g. health & safety requirements
  • Look at what technology/systems are available to help capture the information
  • Get skills information from more than one source - manager, employee, company standard etc
  • Obtain clear measurements of what the current situation is so you can assess and evaluate the progress/impact following the training at a later date
  • Explore training options, not just training courses

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Jill

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Replies

  • Hi Jill, a couple of additional thoughts from me.

    What's the purpose of the skills audit? Is it clearly defined?
    Is it different to a competency assessment?
    The reason I ask is because I would do these differently.

    One of the potential sticking points that needs consideration is communications with those being audited or assessed.

    At our place we would have to start with the Union, to reassure them regarding the usefulness of anything like this. We would have to assure them that it was to identify training needs or for purpose of raising profile for better project engagement or whatever the positive reason is, rather than for any sinister reason that they might suspect.

    A "skills audit" sounds like identifying the available skills in the workplace, which may be helpful as you discover skills you didn't know people had.
    A competency assessment should be against a prepared framework, with levels required to do roles, so that you can prioritise training needs.

    I don't disagree with anything you have suggested above though:)

    Our company did a competency assessment of our engineers about 18 months ago, using external consultants who interviewed the staff ( once the union had agreed to it - they wouldn't agree to internal staff being involved in the assessment, which was against an agreed framework.)
    Since then, managers have changed and we are finding that new managers are disputing the assessments made and deciding training needs on different grounds now ( such as equipment needs) so it might be seen as a bit of a waste of money. A lot of stress was involved and some demotivation for some staff. Shame.
    Our engineers have been strategically prioritised for training for the last couple of years and it feels like a meal has been made of it and money potentially wasted. Fine to say with hindsight I suppose. (I wasn't involved in the engineers competency assessment work, but have recently been involved in organising their training plan.)

    Hope some of that helps.

    Alison
    • Sorry Jill, on reflection some of the typos in that post are terrible! - must be the mobile phone!!
    • (mobile phone post!!)
      have some of the same accountabilities/performance indicators as the previous ones, and as you've said your reviewing existing skills, so they will carry over. I'm involved in a similar project at the mo (restructure/new roles), still ongoing but my experiences so far are on very similar trails of thought to you.

      I created a self assessment that acknowledged current skill set first - everyone started with 'fully effective'. It was then up to the individual, in discussion with their line manager, to decide whether they were confident in staying there or they needed to develop a skill or in an area of their new role that they weren't as familiar/confident/experienced.

      This has been a success on several levels - engagement and accountability as no one has been 'told' where their gaps are or been assessed per se, individuals have ultimately built their own skills gap analysis which link directly to PDPs.
      In L&D (and wider HR) we've seen success because any learning folk need on the back of their assessment is tailored - An individual who has no experience of X has a different learning to someone who 'sort of understands it but not overly confident' and different again to someone who is almost fully effective. Workshop type delivery is minimal (available but minimal) pushed the 'BAU' in terms of "if this project didn't exist what would you use to support your people?', recognised those who are confident and skilled and promote collaboration/coaching etc.

      It was a challenge to get this approach off the ground with the business, (takes longer, not straightforward, new concept) so I'm particularly proud of the results!!

      If that's helpful Jill, I can add more regarding measures and confirmation, challenges around facilitating a few hundred individual learning paths, comms and so on, but don't want to push info on you if you've already delivered pres - if you have, it'd be great to share thoughts on approach you've suggested/taken.

      Andy
    • Hi Jill,
      Apologies if you've already presented your proposal, but a couple of thoughts that may still come in handy for you.

      I'm assuming that the new roles will
    • Hi Alison

      Thanks for your thoughts on this.

      I think my understanding of a skills audit is that you're reviewing the existing skills against what you need now and in the future.  That makes sense in the context that my organisation is currently working in - just gone through a merger and have lots of plans for the business etc so we need to ensure we have the right skills to be able to do our jobs.  Definitely nothing sinister but yes very wise to involve the TU's early on! Really it's an opportunity for development (where necessary) & I hope employees would see it that way but it would have to be communicated properly to avoid stress or demotivation.

      Jill

      • Hi Jill,
        In that case, you are right about the comms needing to be clear and well managed. Definitely a lot of listening will be needed - not just telling.

        Also the business needs to be clear about the skills needed in the future and the roles within which these skills will lie, and how that differs to the current situation. A merger can build up hopes for opportunities, but there could also be some fear and anxiety around any potential change of course.

        Transparency will be key to ensure that trust is maintained.

        Good luck with your presentation, i'm sure you'll be great. Who is the audience? Be ready for their questions - make sure you know what they might be!

        Alison
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