Are skills audits a total waste of time? The trend currently is for an employee to stay at a place of employment for no longer than 2 years. Is it therefore possible to complete a full and comprehensive skills audit, implement training and measure results in such a short time?

What should we be doing to ensure that there is a significant and measurable return on investment on such a time consuming exercise?

Firstly, we will need pre-selected criteria regarding areas of development, specific and desired outcomes, employee buy in and management goals.

In addition to these the following five criteria make for a more successful audit. It should be:

- Designed to reveal predictive results used for effective decision making -- rather than to create merely comprehensive
or descriptive data (which often has limited value)
- Standardized, with the same exact measures across all positions -- rather than using different measures for some jobs, which create skewed results
- Completely objective -- rather than colored by personal or political agenda
- Flexible, enabling key data to be compared and cross-referenced in endless varieties -- rather than limiting access to a single individual, job function, or group at a time
- Easy to interpret -- free of complex mechanisms that waste valuable time without adding clarity or analytical value

Having adhered to these criteria management should also acknowledge:

The need for speed and decisiveness
The need for training follow up (refresher courses)
The need for sustained motivation
The need for retention
The need for self responsibility and accountability as a company ethos

Linked to retention can be the following:

Agree skills development plan with your employee in advance
Agree increased remuneration as a result of increased skills in advance and subject to measurement criteria
Agree measurement criteria in advance

It has become more and more apparent that the average employee is no longer a disinterested onlooker on his career being shaped quite subjectively by a senior manager. Today's employee is actively involved in self improvement; this includes demanding fair wage, demanding fair treatment and quite often demanding advancement. This behaviour is forcing change.

As a good manager, you need to be up to it!