Observation Checklists - Overview

Observation checklists enable organizations to assess and record an employee's skills and competencies while directly observing specific activities in the field. Automating this process makes it easier to track and validate proficiency in specific skills, as well as gain insight into competency levels across an organization. Observation checklists exist within the Performance Management system and expand on the existing Competency Assessment functionality, leveraging the bank of competencies and competency models.

Different from assessing a user's competency rating, the purpose of an Observation Checklist is to observe and check off if a user is competent in some task or skill. Competencies used in a checklist can be a wide range of activities. Some examples include simple and singular competencies like "Wears a Helmet when driving a forklift," or competencies requiring a series of steps or items or skills that when demonstrated define a nurse competent in "Administration of Medicines."

Usually the observation checklist is used for a simple yes or no documentation; in other words, was the skill performed according to required criteria? Yes or No. However, some organizations need to be able record levels of mastery in an observation checklist, via the use of a rating scale, rather than a simple yes or no response. Observation checklists can be implemented with a Yes or No rating or with a rating scale.

Organizations using observation checklists have the ability to:

  • Ensure that regulatory reporting is accurate and timely.
  • Use pre-integrated competency models specific to certain industries.
  • Specifically define observation ratings and methods.
  • Identify gaps and areas in which additional training and support is needed.
  • Run reports on-demand for access to completion data, upcoming deadlines, or specific competency achievement by roles or units.

Within observation checklists, a verifier is a user granted the responsibility of checking off a competency for another user. This term is interchangeable with validator or preceptor. A verifier is usually a more experienced peer, subject matter expert, instructor, or manager. For example, a verifier in healthcare may be a senior nurse responsible for training new nurses. A skill is a step contained beneath a competency. A user must demonstrate all skills under a competency to be competent. Skill may also be referred to an item.

Use Cases

Healthcare Example

A hospital is hiring and training new nurses throughout the year. New nurses must complete orientation. Orientation consists of training and to graduate or be compliant the nurse must demonstrate competency in the skills his/her job requires. Currently a paper checklist is used. When regulators call on the hospital to confirm staff competency, gathering evidence from a paper system is difficult. Automating the competency verification process would better aid reporting to regulators and make it possible for the Hospital to quickly assess the competencies of the staff and the distribution of those competencies across the hospital's units.

Manufacturing Example

A manager in a warehouse must review the competencies of his/her workers. The manager observes and checks off that the employees are performing certain functions correctly: functions such as proper equipment or machinery use or demonstration of proper safety protocol. The manager does not carry around a lap top, but the manager does have his/her phone. Instead of having to record what he/she has observed and perform data entry at another time, the manager checks off competencies for the employee he/she is observing on his/her smart phone.


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