Helping employees learn new skills and get better at what they do to move forward in their careers has been one of the strategic agenda of most of the organisations. Upskilling and reskilling have been the talk of the town in today’s fast-changing disruptive market. Hi, I am Sheetal Malhotra, I am an L & D Professional, worked with IT organisations like HCL Technologies, NIIT Technologies in the past for close to 10 years.
Before I got lucky and became part of this very unique organisation called 3PIllar Global as Manager L & D where Learning and upskilling of employees are one of the key priorities. My role here is a very interesting one, it is to establish the global L & D Team by making L & D a strategic partner to business and a strong enabler to the supply chain of the organisation. To be able to really get there, we realised that upskilling is a great tool for us which has the potential of making employees acquire new skills that prepares them for future business opportunities the organisation might have. Acquiring new skills could be a long process, and hence periodic assessments play a vital role. In this video, I will be talking about elements of a successful assessment Framework, based on my experience.
A good assessment framework could be the one which has the ability to show the entire learning journey of learners by means of a scale, it could be 1-5, or Beginner to expert, most important is what does 1 stand for and what is 5 in the organisation’s context.
Let’s talk about it now. When we start upskilling, it is pivotal that we gauge the current skill level of the learner, so a great start point would be pre-assessment. It can be done by using various methods, face to face interview by a mentor or a subject matter expert, by using a computer-based assessment tool or simply by a questionnaire which can be created by leveraging the knowledge of an internal expert on the skill. Results of pre-assessments should be captured in the assessment tool which could be an automated tool or a simple excel sheet that has basic details of each learner(Name, current skill, project name).
Once this is done, it is highly recommended that a dummy project is to be assigned to each learner along with a manual that has milestones after which the mid-assessment will happen.
The next step towards assessing the learners is mid assessment, Now this has been seeing how the learners are doing with dummy project. The scale we use during the mid assessment has to be the same. It would be great to see if a learner scored 5(1 being the best and 5 being the lowest rating) in the pre-assessment to be scoring 4 in mid assessment this would show a positive learning curve. Remember the rating is getting captured on the same sheet. Now it depends on how many mid assessments are required, it depends on what is the duration of the upskilling program.
I prefer it a little differently and I will talk about it, Once the upskilling program is over, the pre-final assessment can be done, which could be a final review of the project the learner has put together and a conversation with the learner to check his readiness on the newly acquired skill. This being ‘the’ final‘the step is very critical. Two things as a reminder, the same scale is to be used and the scores are to be captured on the same sheet. Once we are able to capture this, it is time to ask the learner and do a self-evaluation and give both qualitative and quantitative inputs about himself/herself. The next step is to go back to the trainer/mentor ask for a qualitative and qualitative input about each learner along with this, capture inputs on the readiness of each learner as per their role. For eg, if a learner is a software engineer and he/she was in a python program, is the learner ready to play that role on the newly acquired skill.
Now for the final assessment, let’s go back to customers of the product, who could be the customer here, the project manager who would be deploying upskilled employees in their teams. The final assessment should be done by them and the final rating and the qualitative inputs to be capture in the same place. Now how do we show a green flag to employees who pass the upskilling program? Now it depends, organisations might decide on criteria that to be able to successfully complete the upskilling program, learners should be able to score a 2 or a 1 on the assessment scale. I would say even if the learner is able to show an upward trend by an increased score in the final assessment and the project manager’s feedback that the person is scalable. It is really good.
Author / Educator – Sheetal Malhotra, Global Learning and Development Manager, 3Pillar Global