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When it comes to assessment, companies look to review every aspect of the organization, some using a comb with fine enough teeth to catch every minute detail. P&L statements, earnings reports, revenue numbers, and other financial elements are scrutinized (and rightfully so) to an incredible degree. But what about assessing the very generators of these results – your workforce?

Companies everywhere are using workplace assessments, but are they using them correctly? Are they measuring what they should be measuring? Are they using personality assessments for hiring (a no-no)? Are they losing out on effectiveness by simply being content to look at assessments through the prism of employee engagement and not employee development?

These are all questions to ask of employee assessments and workplace assessments – the answers aren’t easy or perfect. What we can answer, though, are key ideas to execution to ensure that workplace assessments give companies bang for their buck.

On a pre-employment assessment basis, making hiring assessments work starts with three key principles:

  • Great knowledge of what it takes to be successful on the job. More commonly referred to as a job analysis—it’s critical to know what you need in order to hire for that position.
  • A clear understanding of how well each and every prospective employee fits the job. Here’s where the assessment comes into play. Assessments that measure personality aren’t going to do the trick (and could open you up to a lawsuit!); you need an employment assessment that measures things (like motivation and skills) pertinent to a particular job.
  • Many different ways to understand a candidate’s skills and motivations. Hint: candidates lie on their resumes (nearly ½ of candidates according to a SHRM study), so basing your hiring decisions around everything—from resumes to job interviews to hiring assessments—means that results can actually be seen on a more consistent basis.

It’s all about hiring for fit and testing for what you need now in order to find that precise fit. On a talent management and employee development level, making assessments work means getting these things right:

  • Knowing who your employees are and allowing them to work in a way that works for them. Everyone’s different…no kidding, right? But how many times are people forced to do a particular job in a boxed-in way outside of their strength set? Just because it’s an auditing or engineering job doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be lots of opportunities for teamwork and collaboration and big picture thinking. Through thinking and behavior assessments, you can help your employees find the way they work best, no matter what the job.
  • Put people together who think differently. It seems like a productivity killer, but cognitive diversity can boost productivity in amazing ways. This post on Blogging Innovation explains this idea in depth.
  • Tie thinking and behavior into competencies. The way people think, behave, and communicate can be tied into the competencies they need for the job or those competencies that your company sets as its most important. Tying this kind of employee assessment into competencies can take talent management to the next level.

Making workplace assessments work is, well, hard work. But the payoffs are huge, so think about how to do it with your own company.

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