Use the Right Assessment for the Right Reasons

The word Assessment is on a board in the midst of multiple related concepts like survey and goal

Assessments are all the vogue these days in the workplace. Recent estimates peg the assessment industry’s revenue at somewhere between $500 and $800 million per year. Assessments are popular because they can be very helpful in making all kinds of business decisions. There are training needs assessments that provide information on employees’ skill gaps; there are hiring assessments that help in sifting through job candidates; there are even assessments that purport to measure emotional intelligence. 

The challenge is to select the right assessment for the right reasons. What kind of information do you seek?  Will the information lead to better, faster or cheaper decisions? 

  1. Know what you want to learn. 
    If you hope to learn how job candidates or current employees manage themselves, how they deal with change, how they work with others or how they prioritize their activities, you should explore different kinds of behavioral assessments. If instead, you want to learn more about their knowledge, skills, cognitive abilities and experience, you should check into training needs assessments that measure competency levels.

  2. Know what decisions will be made as a result.
    The data you gather should help to inform decisions better than if you did not use the assessment. The investment of time and money should also be worth the value received.  Used properly, assessments can help play an important part in assigning the right people to the right roles because you have a more complete measure of their strengths, weaknesses, motivators and de-motivators. With employees in the right roles playing to their strengths, you not only decrease turnover, you increase employee engagement and performance.

  3. Know how to use assessments appropriately. 
    Assessments should be used in the corporate setting only to help with job-related decisions. Otherwise you may be in non-compliance. The business purpose should be clear and should be shared with those taking the assessment. They should understand that the assessment is a way to learn more about them during the hiring process or perhaps to select participants for a leadership development program or to uncover skill and knowledge gaps to inform a learning solution or coaching plan. When assessments are administered to current employees, the results should be shared so employees have an opportunity to benefit from improved self-awareness.


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