Competency testing is not just a useful HR tool for some industries, but something that can save lives, reduce risk and even prevent major disasters from occurring. For many companies, staff testing is an everyday part of the employment cycle. It is done when new employees start so as to identify their core strengths and skills levels. It is done at various other points too, such as at promotion or bonus time for instance, or on a scheduled yearly basis. But in some industries, the need as well as the overall process for competency assessments is quite different indeed. In these cases, it becomes an essential process that simply cannot be overlooked by supervisors, managers and other senior staff.
Industries That Require Competency Assessments
In this article, we will be focusing on just three of these industries. Of course, there are many other ‘high risk’ type industries that would also put more emphasis on competency assessments – emergency response, police, chemical, aviation, transport, military and many others too. Industries that we will be looking at include the following:
- Power – from nuclear to coal and everything in between, energy is one of the biggest industries world-wide. It is also an industry that relies heavily on global standards to ensure that quality measures are met. In nuclear for example, assessments are done for employee selection, training, qualification, requalification, authorization/certification and promotion. Poor testing (or a lack thereof) does not only affect performance levels, but also safety levels. A systematic, ongoing approach is essential in order to identify potential risk areas, knowledge shortages and even basic understanding of everyday protocols.
- Medical – then there is the medical and healthcare industry. WHO (World Health Organization) has its own standards on competency testing, with a minimum of one tests done per year. Observational assessments are also recommended as part of the process. The US College of American Pathologists (CAP) have the motto: “Every number is a life”, and in regards to labs, doctors, nurses, aids and every other employee within this industry, the motto is very apt for the huge cost of even a single mistake.
- Manufacturing – whether it is weapons or children’s toys; cars or cooking utensils, every item that is manufactured both here on home soil or far afield has to meet stringent standards. There are also many employees who need to meet these standards too – line workers, packers, quality checkers, supervisors and even cleaning staff all play a big role in the manufacturing chain – as do suppliers. High-hazard plants with risk of accidents are even more in need of an effective competency testing process.
Ideally, testing should be done on a regular or at least on a consistent basis. All too often, knowledge, understanding or even motivation gaps occur when too long is taken between testing. Using the right tools is also important to ensure that the process is stream-lined from start to finish. If competency assessment software is used, risks can be reduced, and quality levels can be guaranteed at least to the point of meeting standards.