TrackStar supports the use of “offline” skill sheets, as part of its comprehensive Skills Tracking solution. Offline skill sheets allow people to create skill assessments using Excel, and then import the information to TrackStar. This document describes offline skill sheets, and other terms and concepts utilized by the TrackStar system.
The TrackStar Skills system allows companies to identify skills that are relevant to their organization, and then to have people self-assess their skill level for each. The self assessment process can be as simple as selecting an appropriate level from a list (e.g., Expert, Proficient, Rookie, etc.) for each skill, or may be more comprehensive by choosing other values for each skill. For example, you could extend the skill system by requiring employees to select the level from a list, but to also enter the “Years of Experience” or “Date last Used” for each skill. You can also include descriptive text information when performing skill assessments.
Offline versus Online Licenses
When licensing TrackStar, customers will determine how many skill licenses they need, and purchase a license accordingly. The system will allow entry of skill assessments for the maximum number of licenses purchased. Two types of licenses are available with TrackStar. An Online license gives the employee to whom it is assigned the ability to log on, perform assessments, and any other system function that has been enabled in their security profile. An Offline license is one that enables the associated employee to be tracked by the system, but have no ability to log on and use the system. From a pricing perspective, offline licenses can be purchased for less that full online licenses. A mixture of offline and online licenses often helps to keep costs down. Please contact sales for a proposal on your desired configuration.
To illustrate, consider a consulting company that has 100 “W2” employees and another 200 contractors that are used on projects. The company might purchase 100 online licenses, and 200 offline licenses. The online employees would use the skill system to enter their assessments online, and run reports or perform other actions as needed. Offline employees would use the offline skill sheets (described herein) to perform their assessment, but would have no access to the system.
Before discussing offline skill sheets, it may be helpful to review how TrackStar presents customized views of the skills database to employee. System administrators and managers have the ability to create skill lists for employees. A skill list defines a subset of skills that are relevant to an employee. For example, you might have hundreds of skills in your database, including categories such as IT Skills, Legal Skills, Management Skills, etc. Rather than ask an employee to assess themselves against all skills, it might be more efficient to create a list containing the subset of skills for different groups of employees. Once a list has been created, it can be assigned to one or more employees, to limit the skills they need to assess.
Offline Skill Sheets
The offline skill sheet is simply an excel spreadsheet that contains a list of skills, and a selection list for choosing a rating value. The offline sheet will be customized based on skills and rating values setup in your system. Offline sheets will also include any user defined fields that you have setup, and will be limited based on the active skill list.
Creating offline skill sheets is easy using TrackStar. This is typically done by a manager or administrator, who has access to all employees. Using the “Skill Assessment by Manager” tool, the operator would select an employee (which chooses the skill list), and then export. When using Skill Lists, you may need to create multiple offline skill sheets (one for each list or view), and give to employees. You save the spreadsheet created by the export function and distribute to people to perform assessments.
Performing Offline Assessment
Once the offline skill sheet has been created, it can be freely distributed to employees, contractors, potential employees, or anyone you wish to record in your skills system. You simply email the spreadsheet to people, who will enter their assessment, and return it to you for input.
The offline skill sheet can be modified prior to distribution to include any special data validation rules you may wish to implement.
Importing Offline Assessment
Managers or administrators can import offline skills sheets through a standard import process in TrackStar. Excel data is saved as a text file, and then the data is imported to the TrackStar database. Once imported, the manager can review the information, make any necessary adjustments, and then mark it as approved. Once approved, the skill sheet becomes visible to all searching and reporting features of TrackStar.
Automating the Offline Skill Assessment Process
An automation tool is included with TrackStar to assist in keeping skill sheets up to date. You can setup a scheduled task which will automatically generate export files for selected groups of people on a schedule. For example, you could setup a job to export skill sheets for all “contractors” who have not updated their assessment in the last 90 days. The system will send out an email to each selected employee, with a worksheet attached showing their current skill ratings.
The employees can then perform their offline assessment, and then reply to the original email with their updated skill sheet attached. The TrackStar system monitors a mailbox setup to receive these emails. When an updated skill sheet is received, TrackStar creates an assessment for the employee and sends a notification message to the manager so it can be reviewed and approved.
The offline capability of the Skills system provides an excellent way to capture skills for a broad base of people, whether they are employees, candidates, or contractors. Building your knowledge base of people skills can make you more efficient, and allow you to better leverage your people resources. Having the ability to designate people as offline versus online can decrease the cost of a skills system, allowing for a broader base of people that you maintain.
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