Competency Assessments

Incompetence in your workforce can be costly. Mistakes by unskilled workers can lead to accidents, injuries, property damage, spills, defects, delays, inefficiencies, customer and revenue losses, regulatory trouble, and even lawsuits. What is at the other end of that spectrum where safety, quality and efficiency rule? Competence. And how to you ensure Competency? Assessments!

The problem with incompetence is its inability to recognize itself. If you have the stomach, do a quick search for videos of people trying hover boards or unicycles for the first time. They usually start with some poor bloke thinking the new skill is simple enough and can be mastered in short order. This is usually followed by an epic fail. Your workplace is no different. Your new hand will no doubt watch an old pro effortlessly perform a task, misjudge the complexity of the task, and fail to grasp the subtle nuances exhibited by the veteran.

No doubt your organization has a system of training and overseeing new hires before they are exposed to operational risks, but this process likely has:

  • No way to assure prompt readership
  • Nearly impossible to audit who received and who read
  • Hard to get feedback on messages
  • Tough to classify or target teams / locations

Find out how our

Why Competency Assessments need a system.

can help your organization

Set Prerequisites and Performance Criteria

Invariably, some tasks or procedures performed at your workplace are difficult, unsafe or otherwise prone to screwups. Ideally you'll have already loaded up Workhub's Procedures module with the steps involved in executing those procedures safety, identified the potential hazards that might throw things out of whack, and listed controls to mitigate or eliminate those hazards. You'll want to make those procedures, plus any related policies, online training and certification prerequisites for your "Competency".

Then you'll want to identify actions, behaviors, or even awareness of certain concepts that are relevant to the successful execution of task that the operator should be able to demonstrate. That sentence is a bit of a mouthful, so at Workhub we just call these things "Performance Criteria". Ideally, each Criterion will be verifiable using one of the five senses. A verifiable criterion would be "Can safely back 52' trailer into loading dock". An unverifiable criterion would be "Can make customers happy".

Build up a list of Qualified Assessors

Every Assessee first needs an Assessor, just like every egg first needs a chicken. It should be fairly easy to identify your qualified Assessors, as they're usually the ones that have been performing said tasks successfully up until now. Administrators in Workhub can prequalify these assessors, but a reason should be recorded, such as "15 years experience" or "Journeyman ticket".

Assessees Request Assessments

We're not entirely sure that Assessee is a real word, but it's the term we've given to the newbies that need to prove their competency to the aforementioned masters in your organization. They can see the performance criteria that have been set for their competencies, and so know what to study, observe and practice (under supervision) in preparation for their assessment. When they're ready, they can choose from a list of available assessors, and request their assessment. Workhub sends the assessor a notification of the request, and ideally a suitable time and place (if applicable) are arranged. Administrators in Workhub can see a list of all pending assessment requests, in case some of them get too long in the tooth.

The Competency Assessment

When the Assessor and Assessee get together for the penultimate competency assessment, it's usually a good idea for the Assessor to have a mobile phone or tablet with the Workhub assessment page for that individual open. [The Assessor can optionally print an assessment form and record the results later.] The process simply involves the Assessee performing the task, and the Assessor observing to see if all criteria are being met. If the individual being assessed is unable to even one criterion, the Assessee continues to be marked as "Requires Supervision" for that task. If all criteria are met, then the Assessee is marked as "Independently Competent" and their compliance score improves accordingly.

One last thing... There is another competence level to which a Assessee can attain through an assessment, and that is "Instructor / Assessor", which allows Daniel-San to someday assume the role of Mister Miyagi. The idea is that as your workers skills and proficiency improve over time, you build up a larger pool of Assessors.

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