“A needs assessment is a systematic process for determining and addressing needs, or 'gaps' between current conditions and desired conditions or 'wants'. The discrepancy between the current condition and wanted condition must be measured to appropriately identify the need. The need can be a desire to improve current performance or to correct a deficiency.” (Wikipedia)
Needs assessment can identify gaps in the skill and knowledge set for a group, team, or individual where the differences are due to insufficient skill and knowledge. The assessment can focus on major or strategic skills, or on skills for everyday activities. There are many ways to do this—from productivity statistics, to incident studies, to focus groups, to surveys and self-reports. Focus groups and studies require planning and facilitation, while survey tools for assessment of employee skill levels are available “off the shelf” in a variety of categories. The result of a needs assessment often includes a set of priorities for filling the gaps through recruiting or training employees.
Software review sites, such as the three listed below, can identify specific assessment tools for a variety of skills. Some of the tools use artificial intelligence to generate personalized competency plans within occupations such as healthcare, while others are more generic for communication, literacy, and numeracy, supervisor skills, cognitive ability, and planning. Other survey tools provide feedback to employees to suggest areas to concentrate on.
Capterra provides a tailored list of assessment software used by education and HR professionals to test knowledge retention and skill levels of students, employees, and job applicants. Choices include assessments that are free, suitable for small businesses, and assessments that are made to run on systems such as:
- Web-based use
Choices are listed here.
Software Advice provides a buyer's guide to assist in well-informed selection of online assessments for current employees and for candidates pre-employment. The choices can be selected by industry and company size. Cloud-based assessment software has registered increased adoption among enterprises due to benefits such as flexible payment options, low upfront investment, better scalability, and zero maintenance hassles. Choices are listed here.
TrustRadius lists assessment products that won a top rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. The list includes products for educational institutions and corporate employers—select a product tailored for your use case. Choices are listed here.