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Monday, 04 January 2016 23:12

Adding Spunk with Assessments

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The importance of assessments and testing in learning programs
Mike is a star performer. He comes to work on time and is willing to put in long hours. As a team leader, he is extremely dedicated to the organization, is eager to expand his knowledgebase and completes his work ontime. He joined the organization as a project coordinator, and the time seems right for him to become a project manager. But is he ready for the job? Are his skills commensurate to the performance requirements of the new role?

To confirm the deployment of the right people in the right places with the right amount of talent to perform the job in the right manner, there is a simple method - assessments and testing.

More on assessments

Exposing employees to more learning programs results in hearty dividends in terms of low hiring and attrition costs. Organizations that continually invest in developing their human assets and business processes enjoy the added benefits of efficient operations and more customers.

A former survey of around 900 learning professionals revealed that a staggering 97 percent believed that employee development and skill growth are critical to organizational success. The survey also identified three distinct organizational characteristics that foster learning and business growth:

·         A commitment to development of human capital

·         Reviewing and refining learning programs in response to changes in the business environment

·         Measuring learning impact on business results

Relevant scientific assessments can help identify skill gaps. Doing so provides training managers with ample guidance to implement those learning programs that are targeted specifically to reduce or rid employeesof their knowledge and skills gaps.

Learning assessments arean integral part of any valid learning program. Training analysts like to think of assessments as instruments that compel learners to think of ways to improve their productivity. Productivity enhancement is what allows employees to adjust to increasing economic pressures and decreasing budget allotments.

Measuringright

Measuring or quantifying an employee’s knowledge level is quite a challenging task. However, the use of assessment and testing helps link competency levels with performance expectations. Test questions based on predetermined knowledge levels help training managers categorize learners according to their learning styles. This results in better decision-making in terms of selecting programs that work best for a given audience.

Additionally, some organizations like to hold their employees accountable for their success or failure as learners. Such employees are more than eager to know what is expected of them. The organization needs to be armed with well-defined expectations. Assessments and testing help determine expectations logically and fairly with the help of a three step learning process.

The three key steps – assessments, learning, testing

This easy to comprehend and manage three-step process involves assessing skill levels, ascribing relevant learning programs and measuring the impact of these learning programs on business success. In the first step an employee’s skills and knowledge levels are assessed using various tests. The organization also determines the skill levels required for various jobs.

Step two involves recommending relevant learning programs aimed at improving employee or job centric skill levels. In the final step an organization can test the success of their learning programs.

Mike and the three-step process

This three-step process will help determine whether Mike is ready to shoulder the responsibilities of a project manager. The organization is aware of the direct link between successful IT projects and a project manager’s skills.

Working at the first level, Mike’s manager has a fair idea of the skill requirements for a project manager. However, to determine where Mike stands, his manager puts him through various tests and assessments. He rates highly competent in business knowledge, database management, creativity and change management but scores low in people management. As a project manager this skill is highly critical.

Learning assessments are considered to be highly credible, valid and accurate. Therefore, when Mike is informed about his skills gap he doesn’t misread his manager’s intentions. This reflects an earnest attempt on behalf of the organization to support employees’growth plans. It also allows employees to participate in the learning process by suggesting learning programs that they think will work best for them.

Back to Mike!

In Mike’s case, what he needed was a mentoring program interspersed with opportunities to gain practical experience in coaching members of his project team. While designing a formal mentoring program his manager also threw in a couple of seminars on how to build team-collaboration skills and a course in employment law. This customized learning program plugged in Mike’s skills gaps and also formatted a learning plan for training other new project leads.

When he is tested again on his people management skills, Mike shows a marked improvement. He is soon declared competent to be a project manager!

Bonus points

Testing and assessments have another benefit – keeping training up-to-date. All learning programs need constant updating to maintain their legitimacy and relevancy.

Assessments and testing consistently validate what works and doesn’t. They also ensure that learning programs are objective, legally defensible and relevant and no kind of bias (cultural and geographical) affects employees during the learning process.

Technology based assessments provide instant reports of the impact of learning. They also provide employees on-going and instant feedback on their progress. This helps them identify their shortcomings and duly sign-up for relevant learning programs.

Signing off

This process of assessments-learning-testing has proven advantageous to many industries. A good assessment-learning program helps develop valuable learning initiatives and productive employees.
  


At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at admin@TenStep.com
Read 3150 times Last modified on Monday, 04 January 2016 23:34
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