Knowledge, Experience, Skills, Aptitude, Attitude (KESAA)

Description 1)National Business Research Institute, Inc., “Employee Attitude Surveys,” 2)“Self-Assessment Resources,” The Riley Guide,

The knowledge, experience, skills, aptitude, and attitude (KESAA) model focuses on job skills match, company fit, and task fit.

Knowledge is the learning of theory for a discipline or job description. Generally, most secondary education requirements are based on industry standards or established by governing bodies. For breakthrough service offerings that have few or no standardized knowledge requirements, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology and cell phone technology, in the beginning stages the service provider should define initial required knowledge, conducting frequent reviews as development progresses.

Experience is the demonstrated application of knowledge over a period of time. Areas of experience should be defined for each position (each business sector would require experience in certain areas for a defined frequency).

Skills involve the application of both knowledge and experience toward a level of competency in a given discipline. For example, a utility lineman may have both education and experience in line repair, but when it comes to employing them effectively in the repair of a line, the individual’s skill level can still be low.

Aptitude focuses on the individual’s inherent ability or tendency in performing certain tasks. Aptitude evaluation occurs through the use of testing, usually in a practically applied fashion. Personality indicator tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Keirsey Temperament Sorter help determine personality tendencies for individuals.

For service industries, expected aptitudes should be outlined prior to administering aptitude evaluation tests. For example, the postal aptitude test evaluates the individual’s ability to discern differences in addresses on a timed basis.

Attitude is generally developed over time, as a result of exposure to and assimilation of behaviors.


  • The KESAA model is most effective when deployed in its entirety. Employers should evaluate all five elements and develop a cumulative scorecard when determining and defining position requirements.
  • In a service industry, it is particularly important to understand the impact that attitude may have and to develop and cultivate employee attitudes that are appropriate to customers’ needs.
  • Senior leadership plays the largest role in establishing and monitoring the development of attitudes through …
    • Effective and constant communication of company goals
    • Establishment of desired attitude traits
    • Constant support for roles that reinforce desired attitude traits
    • Regular review of employee surveys


References   [ + ]

1. National Business Research Institute, Inc., “Employee Attitude Surveys,”
2. “Self-Assessment Resources,” The Riley Guide,