WorkKeys is a job skill assessment system used in the United States. It was created in the late 1980s by ACT, Inc. It is used by businesses to measure workplace skills of employees and job applicants and by schools and colleges to help prepare students for the workplace. WorkKeys consists of three elements:
Job skill assessments, which are designed to measure foundational and personal skills as they apply to the workplace
Job analysis, which pinpoints or estimates skill benchmarks for specific job positions that individuals must meet through testing
Skill training, which helps individuals boost their scores
WorkKeys Skill assessments
WorkKeys includes twelve workplace skill assessments:
Applied Mathematics – applying mathematical reasoning to work-related problems
Applied Technology – understanding technical principles as they apply to the workplace
Business Writing – composing clear, well-developed messages relating to on-the-job situations
Listening – being able to listen to and understand work-related messages
Locating Information – using information from sources such as diagrams, floor plans, tables, forms, graphs, and charts
Observation – paying attention to details in instructions and demonstrations
Reading for Information – comprehending work-related reading materials such as memos, bulletins, policy manuals, and governmental regulations
Teamwork – choosing behavior that furthers workplace relationships and accomplishes work tasks
Performance – related to attitudes toward work and the person’s tendency to engage in unsafe work behaviors
Talent – includes dependability, assertiveness, and emotional stability
Fit – how interests and values correspond to a particular career
WorkKeys Job analysis
The job analysis component of WorkKeys helps to set benchmarks that correspond with WorkKeys scores, giving the examinee a target score to hit in order to qualify for a job.
Employers use job analysis to determine which skills are required for a job, and the level of each skill needed to perform the job successfully. This helps employees determine the standards for how an applicant must score in a particular WorkKeys skill assessment in order to be qualified for the job.
The job analysis element validates the use of WorkKeys foundational skills assessments for hiring, complying with legal standards set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In the job profiling process, ACT-licensed profilers visit with the client company or organization and determine background information on the job to be profiled and how specifically the job relates to the company. The profiler tours the company and collects materials – such as training manuals, annual reports, company newsletters – that define the company.
The profiler then compiles an initial list of the tasks most relevant to the job being profiled. Subject matter experts – those who know the job best through incumbency or supervising the job – refine the list and rate each task based on two factors: importance of the task to the job and relative time spent on it. The subject matter experts then decide what minimum level of each skill is required to perform the job successfully.
When taking a WorkKeys test, the skill level at which an employee scores corresponds to how prepared he or she is for the job, or how much remedial training an incumbent employee needs.
WorkKeys also offers two job analysis products that can be used without the help of a job profiler. SkillMap, an online service which links job tasks to the skill levels of WorkKeys assessments, is used primarily to identify employees’ training needs. WorkKeys Estimator is a paper-and-pencil system that gives quick estimates of the WorkKeys skill levels needed for a job.
WorkKeys Skill training
The WorkKeys system also includes computer-based and classroom-based training for individuals that corresponds with WorkKeys exams. There are curricula available for every skill level of each WorkKeys foundational skill exam.