Setting the Standard in Performance Assessments
Successful client outcomes start before the project even begins—they start well before the first day of work. Putting together a winning project team begins by selecting team members with the right skills to do the job at hand. How do you ensure you have chosen those people for your project?
APTIM uses hands-on evaluation centers to identify a person’s knowledge and skill set in a particular craft. This system allows us to provide superior service to clients. “Permanent and mobile Craft Evaluation Centers™ are a tool that helps us drive quality of craftsmanship and ensure we only put quality craftsmen on client sites,” says Lance Allen, Senior Manager.
Craftsmen typically are not asked to show anything except possibly a National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) card—oftentimes, this alone is not enough. The card does not really inform whether a candidate can perform the job at the necessary skill level. Do they have the direct skill and knowledge required for a particular project? “Frequently we are told ‘I am an A-class craftsman,’ only to find out they have never done the actual work required of a specific position,” Lance said. The assessment conducted at the Craft Evaluation Center™ provides tangible evidence and validation of a craftsman’s skill level and peace of mind for our clients. The evaluation is the beginning of the hiring process. Well before we begin work and even before we hire a craftsman, we evaluate all candidates for A-Class skill level. We conduct this level of evaluation through hands-on craft skill evaluation and thorough and meticulous guidelines. “Evaluations are not subjective—they are very black and white—you can either do it or not,” said Lance. “Our evaluators know right away.” Evaluators use a nine-part system of guidelines including categories such as safe work practices and PPE, tool and valve identifications, and other handson tasks that allow candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and ability to perform the job to the highest of standards. The same guidelines are used by all evaluators for each craft. Safety, Lock out / Tag out, tools to be used—all these things make a good craftsman. Evaluations always start with safety “we are a safety first, people first company,” said Lance.
A-Class evaluations are performed for millwrights, pipefitter/fabricator, pipefitter/bolt-up, and boilermaker. Soft craft evaluations are conducted for scaffold builders, painter/blasters, and insulators. Evaluation centers are not training facilities. “We are not training anyone to be an A-Class millwright—we are evaluating whether or not they are,” Lance explains. What happens to candidates that go through the evaluation and do not qualify with an A-Class rating? “We only evaluate A-Class,” says Lance. “If a candidate is B or C-Class, we send them back to recruiting to find availabilities for this skill level. They still have a chance to work for us—just not as an A-Class journeyman.” This does not mean that people are left out or left behind. “It just means we are meticulously matching the skill set to the position.” Our clients have seen a significant difference in quality of craftsmanship and team dynamics. Word gets around. Not only does the evaluation process enable us to match the highest skills to the job at hand, we are finding that the most skilled workers are gravitating toward us, wanting to be in a position that demands the highest craftsmanship. “Not only are our clients happy with a greatly reduced amount of rework—our nested workers are happier as well,” said Lance. They do not have to bring new team members up to speed—everyone is able to be fully applied right away each day, and they know that more skilled craftsmen are joining the team. Further, better craftsmen really like this evaluation. “We often hear candidates tell us that ‘if everybody went through this, we would all have better workers,’” he said. Senior management asked site managers what they need to make APTIM “extraordinary” and all agreed that a way to put better craftsmen on client sites was essential. The Craft Evaluation Center™ is a result of commitment to innovation, collaboration, and differentiation.