Human resource practice:
Skill assessments are used in the selection of project personnel
Research (and practical experience) has shown a significant correlation between project success and skills of the people on the job. The shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry, coupled with changes in how companies deliver projects, is changing traditional project roles and responsibilities. This makes determining the skills needed on every project and ensuring the availability of personnel with those skills a priority to ensure projects’ success.
A more formalized skills assessment when selecting project personnel provides insight on how and where we can improve on a project team and this has become a key activity in large construction companies. An effective assessment should be knowledge, skill and abilities-based (e.g., cognitive ability tests, job knowledge tests, personality tests), and task-based (e.g., situation judgement, work sample tests, physical ability tests). It should also assess technical, behavioural (including emotional quotient) and contextual competencies.
Further background on this human resource practice can be found by viewing the BuildForce webcast series discussing construction productivity at the link below. In particular, episode 1 covers the link between performance and human capital and episode 4 presents some key concepts on building competency.
- BuildForce construction productivity webcast series:
- Edum-Fotwe, F. and McCaffer., R. (2000). Developing project management competency: perspectives from the construction industry, International Journal of Project Management, 18(2), 111-124.
- Keiles, L. and Fried, R. (2004). Project management skills gap assessments— what they really show. PMI® Global Congress 2004—North America, Anaheim, CA. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. Available at www.pmi.org/learning/library/project-management-skills-gap-assessment-8222.
- Pulakos, E. (2005). Selection Assessment Methods A guide to implementing formal assessments to build a high-quality workforce. SHRM Foundation, Alexandria, VA. Available at www.pdri.com/images/uploads/Selection_Assessment_Methods.pdf.
- Shahhosseini, V., and Sebt, M. (2011). Competency-based selection and assignment of human resources to construction projects, Scientia Iranica, 18(2), 163-180.
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ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKING TOOL
The free Performance Benchmarking Self-Assessment Tool is designed to assist construction and maintenance employers in measuring their organization in relation to a specific set of recognized best practices. In addition, you will be able to compare your organization's efforts against other construction and maintenance employers. From the results of the self-assessment tool you will also be able to identify areas for continuous improvement.
The self-assessment tool is designed to be completed either individually by a member of your management team or in a collaborative setting. Consider bringing your leaders/managers together to work through the tool and take time to discuss the perspectives of each group member.
This initiative is supported by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).