Gathering A Skills Inventory List


A skills inventory is a list of qualifications, abilities and career goals of employees in a company. A skills inventory can assist managers and human resources identify employees who may be interested and qualified to move to new departments or positions, especially promotions.

The best way to obtain a skill inventory list is to simply ask your employees. A survey is a great way to get this information, and I recommend having employees complete an electronic survey (it’s easier to gather a spreadsheet of information rather than writing it all out).

Gathering the best information is better than gathering the most information, so think about the questions you want to ask your employees. I recommend having three options for each topic: I have this, Would like to improve, No interest. I prefer adding the no interest option for individuals who really just have no interest in that specific job skill. Some people just do not want to be a manager or leader. My experience is that this option really isn’t used that often, but when it is the information really helps the supervisor and HR to determine how to help the employee. I also recommend dividing the questions up into categories so the survey flows smoothly.

Some sample questions include:

Written Communication

  • Ability to communicate clearly through my writing.
  • Adapting my writing style for different audiences.
  • Thinking through and proofreading my written communication before sending.

Verbal Communication

  • I listen to what others say before thinking about what I am going to say.
  • I keep business calls short and to the point.
  • I am comfortable speaking in front of groups.


  • I remain calm during stressful situations
  • I think quickly to respond to sudden changes in my environment.
  • I plan several courses of action in case something goes wrong.


  • I enjoy being the leader of a group.
  • I am comfortable making decisions.
  • I accept responsibility for individual and team mistakes or wrong decisions.


  • I like working with others in a team environment.
  • I take a share of the responsibility when things go right and when things go wrong.
  • I listen to others’ opinions.


  • I manage my time and work effectively.
  • I set priorities on a regular basis.
  • My work-space is neat and organized.


  • I pay attention to the details.
  • I have the ability to work under my own direction and initiative.
  • I take the opportunity to learn new skills.


  • I have programming abilities.
  • I know how to use the internet and email systems.
  • I know how to use spreadsheets (Excel).

There are tons of other questions that can be asked on a survey as these are just a few sample questions that can be asked. The questions you develop will be based on your company, industry, and the skill inventory you are looking to gather on your employees.

Once you have a spreadsheet or database that outlines the skills of your employees you can look at who would like more responsibility, who would like to increase certain levels (training opportunities), and who already has the skill sets you are looking for. Offering training opportunities that interest employees and showing them that the company is interested in their future will increase employee retention, saving the company thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. This is a good practice for businesses of all sizes.

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