Here is a short guide for KS administrators, which shares some tips from other KS customers, on how to prepare for a skills assessment rollout.
Communicate your plans
It is important to explain to users precisely why you are asking them to undertake a skills assessment. You might do this by including the assessment in a wider discussion about training needs and more efficient use of the overall CAD & BIM infrastructure within your company. This could include training needs, recruitment, induction and annual appraisals processes.
Improving technical software skills is a continuously improving process – the KnowledgeSmart tools simply highlight a likely starting point. As with most things, good communication goes a long way. An effective strategy is to hold a team meeting and explain your overall plans for improving CAD & BIM performance within the firm. This can include a Q & A session, where people have an opportunity to clarify any aspects of the assessment process – and understand how it fits into the bigger learning picture.
It is important that people don’t feel the results of their skills evaluation may be used in a negative context, particularly if they don’t perform well first time around. Ensure they understand this is a designed to be a learning process – and everyone has to start somewhere. If you have a CAD or BIM software upgrade scheduled, this can also feed into the process. By taking a snapshot of each individual’s current skills at a basic level, you can feed this data into your training plans moving forwards.
Evidence shows that better overall understanding of basic commands can also benefit the implementation of in-house Standards. Once you have explained to your teams the business case for measuring and improving CAD & BIM productivity, you need to set a timeframe for rolling out your assessments.
Prepare a timetable
You need to decide over what period of time you want to complete your assessments. This will depend on 4 variables; 1) the number of people to be assessed 2) the number of PC’s you can make available (with a licensed copy of CAD or BIM software and a network connection) 3) the number of offices in your organisation and 4) general day-to-day work pressures.
You need to decide what your preferred assessment environment will be. Some companies prefer their teams to use their own work stations, whilst others favour a more formal setting. In truth, there is no right or wrong answer to this question; you want people to feel comfortable and remove any potential for apprehension or pre-assessment nerves.
Experience shows that a formal assessment environment makes for a smoother rollout, where people simply take an hour or so at a specified time to sit their assessment. This way, they aren’t distracted by project work, email, ringing phones or interruptions from colleagues.
Use the invite tools in the KS dashboard to manage your assessment programme. For multi-office firms, it is best to start with one office and, when this office is done, gradually ramp up the level of activity until the assessment programme is complete. Principal admins will need the support of regional project technology co-ordinators if this is to be a success.
Prepare your team
We recommend you brief your teams prior to their assessments. You might like to share with them a simple Q & A document or present your plans at a team meeting. Here's an example of what other KS customers have done: http://the-knowledgesmart-blog.blogspot.com/2011/04/sample-ks-candidate-q.html.
Here's a brief user guide to taking a KS assessment: http://the-knowledgesmart-blog.blogspot.com/2011/04/taking-ks-assessment.html.
It is best to circulate the information at least a few days before people are due to take their assessments.
Send your invites
Use the invite tools in the KS dashboard to send your test invites. You can send invites individually, or add a list of users via csv import and invite them as a group.
Here's a brief blog article about sending invites: http://the-knowledgesmart-blog.blogspot.com/2011/04/inviting-users-to-take-ks-test.html.
Next, you may customise your welcome message in the invite mail and on the test landing page. You might wish to present users with specific instructions on where to locate their sample test files (if you have chosen to store them on your network, for example).
Here's a brief blog about editing your invite text: http://the-knowledgesmart-blog.blogspot.com/2011/03/customising-your-test-invite-text.html.
Complete your assessments
You can monitor your team's progress, as they complete their assessments. Admins receive an email with a link to test results, as and when they are completed.
You can use the invite history page of your dashboard to track invites and completed assessments. You can also re-send invites from here.
After the assessments
At the end of their assessment, users may receive an instant result and report with a breakdown of their score, training keywords and coaching notes. In addition, they can be sent an email containing a link to their summary report.
Account admins can access all assessment results, feedback, training keywords and coaching notes – for each candidate – in the KS dashboard.
Via the dashboard, it is possible to search results, view performance charts and export data into Excel for in-house reports. It is important to provide the opportunity for individuals to access a structured training programme, after their skills have been evaluated. The results will highlight areas where future training workshops can be focused for maximum improvement.
Here's an 8-step guide to better training needs analysis: http://the-knowledgesmart-blog.blogspot.com/2011/04/using-ks-for-training-needs-analysis.html.