WorkKeys Works – Job Tasks and Skills – Huh?

By on October 25, 2013
WorkKeys Works – Job Tasks and Skills

After my last Blog post, “Aha Moment,” I received a number of inquiries as to what was WorkKeys Job Profiling and how are the results used. Here’s my elevator speech for WorkKeys job profiling: “a customized company and job specific task and data analysis used for developing selection/promotion/training criteria.” So what are the details behind this one-liner?

Instead of sitting in an ivory tower and making predictions as to what tasks are associated with a job, the WorkKeys profiling process uses a company identified focus group process to gather job task and WorkKeys skill information from job incumbents who actually do the job. This method contributes to meeting hiring requirements adopted by the EEOC. It also integrates with the ISO 9000 standards for quality business practices.

Nationally more than 19,000 job titles, ranging from white-collar professional to blue-collar technical positions, have been profiled by ACT-authorized job profilers. Extensive research has been done on these jobs to identify the essential skills and skill levels for employee selection, hiring, and training. In the St. Louis region, I have conducted profiles in the Aerospace, Automotive, Cement Plant, Chemical, Distillery, Healthcare, Hospital, Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical, Senior Healthcare, Sporting Goods, and Warehouse industries. Additionally, I have profiled apprentice and training programs such as Audio Visual Techs, Boilermakers, Cabinetmakers, Carpenters, Floor Layers, Heat & Frost Techs, Medical Assistants, Patient Care Techs, RNs, Sheet Metal Workers, and Solar Techs.

The WorkKeys job profiling results can be used in many parts of the Talent Development Cycle. The results have assisted with 1) Needs/Talent Planning, 2) Recruitment/Selection, 3) Skill Development, 4) Performance Evaluation, and 5) Succession Planning.

Companies have profiled jobs because they wanted to assist their selection process, have outdated job descriptions, or don’t know their current talent skill sets. For the selection process, companies wanted to know if people have the skills to learn their operation. By reducing the learning curve, they save money by increasing productivity faster and shorting the time existing staff have to spend with the new employees. In regards to lack of knowledge of current skill sets, companies have put off retooling/reorganizing or expansion just because they didn’t know if their talent could handle the new approach. The company specific job profiles have helped them map out an approach that made their companies more competitive.

Companies have pointed out that the WorkKeys system provides a comprehensive system to refine applicant pools, match candidates to jobs, and identify skill gaps. Besides enhancing the ability to develop and retain a high performance workforce, it aids in the reduction of turnover, overtime, and waste.

“The WorkKeys program has helped our organization hire and maintain a higher quality of employee. It has helped make us fully aware of the skills of the applicants interviewing for positions within our organization.” Sara Hagan, Human Resources Coordinator, Luxco Spirited Brands

If you are interested in more information about WorkKeys Job Profiling or the Talent Development Cycle, comment on this blog post or contact me directly at

About Jim Duane

Jim has more than 30 years of experience in the workforce development field. At St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group, Jim is the manager and lead WorkKeys job task and skill profiler for the WorkKeys Solution Center. Throughout his 10 plus years as a WorkKeys Job Profiler, Jim has worked with numerous large, medium and small size companies in the aerospace/defense, beverage, cement manufacturing, construction, drug manufacturing, electric utility, healthcare, hospital, petroleum-chemical processing, and sporting goods industries. His team has conducted approximately 50,000 WorkKeys assessments for companies, organized labor, schools, and organizations. He has also presented at national and regional conferences, chaired regional workforce resource committees, and conducted numerous local, statewide and national focus groups around workforce development. He has received the Missouri Governor's Award for Excellence in Leadership in workforce development. This award was based on the Malcolm Baldridge quality management criteria.

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