Critical thinking is regarded as a key competency for all staff, with particular relevance to graduates and managers. In fact, the Department of Labor identified critical thinking as the raw material that underlies fundamental workplace competencies, such as problem solving, decision making, planning, and risk management.
With globalization and the increased speed of business, employees at every level are facing a flow of information ever increasing in its intensity.
Critical thinking is an organized and disciplined way of thinking. It is:
Critical Thinking is an intellectual skill.
It’s about you
Work settings are changing rapidly, and employees are moving into new roles, often with limited direction. Employees can no longer rely on others to make key decisions. They often must make them on their own, and quickly. The decisions have to be good ones.
Good decisions require focusing on the most relevant information, asking the right questions, and separating reliable facts from false assumptions – all elements of critical thinking.
Critical Thinking is here to stay
Study after study has confirmed that the skills gap is real for both the current leadership pipeline within organizations and for the talent pool accessed by recruiters.
Specifically, when it comes to skills like critical thinking, it is consistently rated by employers as being a skill of increasing importance, and yet a recent study showed 49% of employers rate their employees’ critical thinking skills as only average or below average.
Additionally, even though in higher education there has been a concerted effort to focus on critical thinking as a measurable outcome, employers are not seeing the results. Employers claim that the critical thinking skills gap is a significant problem with new hires, specifically in recent graduates. In fact, only 28% of employers rated 4-year graduates as having “Excellent” critical thinking skills. So, the burden and expense of training/developing those skills rests on the employers.
Ask any executive about the importance of critical thinking, and you will hear nothing but support and admiration for this essential skill. Most (69%) will even tell you about how they assess critical thinking skills in the selection process.
Measuring Critical Thinking
The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal is known as the global gold-standard measure of an individual’s ability to think critically. The Watson-Glaser™ II Critical Thinking Appraisal is the leading critical thinking test used to assess and develop decision making skills and judgment.
It is available as a 30 minute online test or in print and scores are based on the easy-to-follow RED Model of Critical Thinking:
- Recognize Assumptions: Separate fact from opinion
- Evaluate Arguments: Impartially evaluate arguments and suspend judgment
- Draw Conclusions: Decide your course of action.
- Assesses critical thinking ability and decision making
- Predicts judgment, problem solving, creativity, openness to experience & more
- Long history of use in business, government, and education
- Correlates with other leading ability and personality tests
- Online administration at TalentLens.com - Register now and start assessing
- Quick 40-item, multiple choice test with many reporting options
Research conducted in recent years by Pearson, as well as by a variety of independent academics, has shown that people who score well on critical thinking assessment are also rated by their supervisors as having:
- Good analysis and problem-solving skills
- Good judgment and decision making
- Good overall job performance
- The ability to evaluate the quality of information presented
- Job knowledge
- The potential to move up within the organization
Critical thinking, perhaps more than any other business skill set, can make the difference between success and failure. Fortunately, these skills are not out of reach – they are readily available to employees at all levels. Once gained, critical thinking skills last a lifetime, and become a powerful asset for organizations seeking a competitive edge.
Learn about the benefits of using Watson-Glaser when assessing candidates and developing leaders.
Learn more about critical thinking by downloading the Think About It! eBook.
Editor’s Note: Breanne Harris is the Solutions Architect for Pearson TalentLens. She works with customers to design selection and development plans that incorporate critical thinking assessments and training. She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and has experience in recruiting, training, and HR consulting. She is the chief blogger for Critical Thinkers and occasionally posts at ThinkWatson. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter for more of her thoughts.