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Baseline measurement: what is it and how does it help an organization?

24th March 2016
by Faysal El Fassi

Baseline measurement“We would like to identify where we stand as an organization at this time, Faysal. In terms of knowledge. So that we know what we need to work on to meet our targets. Can you help us with it?” I was recently asked this question by one our customers. We advised this organization to have a baseline measurement conducted. But what is it exactly and how does it help an organization?

Baseline measurement: what is it?

Firstly: you identify the current level of knowledge within an organization by looking at the level of knowledge of its employees. Together they make up the organization, after all.

The level of knowledge of IT staff members, because that was the essence of the question by this organization, can be estimated by looking at the obtained certificates, of course. The level of knowledge of a staff member who possesses basic certificates differs from the level of knowledge of a staff member who possesses expert certificates.

That’s right, ‘estimated’. Because there is a lot that certificates won’t show. Does the staff member still possess the knowledge he or she had during the taking of the exam(s), maybe two years past by now? And how about his or her other skills, the so-called soft skills?

A baseline measurement measures all these things. Gut feeling and ‘estimations’ make way for hard results. The measurement consists of generic and specialized questions that are answered digitally by the staff members, and of interviews taken with the staff members. During interviews with staff members we validate the outcome of the question list and we evaluate their level of knowledge, ambitions, soft skills and ability to develop.

Baseline measurement: how does it help an organization?

To achieve targets it is important to know first where you stand at this time. Actions can only be taken after that. You can compare it to an athlete: when Usain Bolt aimed to become the Olympic champion in the 100 meters sprint they looked at his status of that moment before a training schedule could be made.

Many organizations base their current status for a large part on a gut feeling. The consequence is that the actions that are taken are not always the right ones and thus that targets aren’t met. A baseline measurement shows clear results and is a means for achieving targets in a concrete and focused way. As an organization you know exactly what state you are in.

Important with a baseline measurement: communication

Imagine this: you work on a IT department and your supervisor asks you to fill in a question form that will evaluate your knowledge. Your first question will probably be: why do I need to do this? And your second and third: what will they do with the results? Will they have consequences for me and my employment? The result is unrest within the organization.

Try to avoid such a situation at all times.

Communication with the staff members concerning a baseline measurement is of the utmost importance. Staff members need to understand the significance of a baseline measurement, but more important: all kinds of fear need to be taken away. The results of a baseline measurement has, after all, no effects on the employment of the staff members.

Baseline measurement at Fast Lane

When we apply a baseline measurement at Fast Lane we work according to a roadmap. In this roadmap the division of roles and responsibilities will be addressed, but also the compilation of an extensive report and (possible) training plans.

Curious about the roadmap? Or about the added value for your organization? Let me know. I will be glad to help.

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