Skills and Competency Checklists

Employers can manage their workers more effectively when they know which skills and levels of competency employees possess. Besides formal evaluation processes, employers can use skills and competency checklists to determine workers' skills. Checklists are also useful during the hiring process to screen applicants and compare them to current employees.


Each job requires its own type of skills and competency checklist for the list to serve any purpose for managers. Administrative positions require basic skills lists with general qualifications based on experience. Highly technical jobs require lists that include specific skills and abilities, as well as a competency section that includes special training or certifications. Most jobs can use life skills checklists that measure basic abilities common to most positions. Other types of job skills checklists include executive and management checklists.


Among the life skills on a job checklist, items such as time management, cooperation within a team and an ability to use constructive criticism in a positive way are all commonplace. Technical job lists include items on workplace safety, handling materials and operating tools and equipment. For example, a job skills checklist for a construction worker may include several pages of tools and safety gear a worker should demonstrate an ability to use. An executive checklist has items that relate to leadership skills, motivational techniques, business ethics and personal accountability.


Skills and competency checklists serve a number of purposes, many of which they share with annual evaluations. Checklists allow managers to identify weaknesses in their workforce. They also give a breakdown of each employee, which can help managers assemble work teams where members complement one another's skills and weaknesses. Checklists can also chart progress, showing which new skills and competencies workers develop over time, or which they lose because of disuse or by focusing attention elsewhere.


Creating a skills and competency checklist may be more challenging that it initially appears. A useful list needs to be more than simply a collection of positive qualities or specific abilities. Instead it needs to focus on the skills a worker uses to perform routine tasks, as well as those that come into play during times of pressure. Job descriptions are a place to start since they probably already list necessary skills. Recent job postings may include information about applicants' qualifications, which can appear on a checklist. Finally, workers themselves can supply items that they consider important for themselves and their colleagues.