We discussed the actual tasks performed in the last post. Today we will focus on the second element of capability:
In this model, a skill is an ability that enables task performance. To perform a task properly (i.e., do it as perfectly as possible as often as possible), a number of enabling skills may be required.
Here are some examples: delivering raw material from a warehouse to the production location would be a task or activity. To properly perform the task or activity, it may be necessary to use a fork lift (or “powered lift truck” as OSHA refers to it). If the task performer has not acquired the skill of “forklift driving,” the task will be performed inefficiently, and likely dangerously.
In an office, an employee may be required to maintain computer files (schedules, etc.). To perform this task may require the ability to use Microsoft Excel or a specialized software program.
In these examples, forklift operation and use of software are not tasks, because there is no defined beginning and end to either.
In terms of training skills, they are learned independently of the tasks on which they are used, and often accompanied by some sort of certification (whereas task training is ultimately accompanied by qualification). The organization may require that employees obtain these skills outside of work (or possess them before being hired).
In determining what skills are required for any position in the organization, the skills should be limited to those actually identified as necessary to perform the tasks the individual will perform.