Talent managers, eager to find new ways to measure talent — the engine to grow business — have taken a liking to assessments as a leadership development tool.
Using a series of questions, post-hire assessments offer an objective way for organizations to determine the critical competency levels for talent, addressing who’s ready to move up or across in an organization. Although most companies don’t use post-hire assessments with every employee, many find there is hidden value as they put related data to work.
“I think there are more organizations that are more sophisticated in their talent management process,” said Matthew Such, chief scientist at First Advantage, an employment screening vendor. Those organizations increasingly use assessments as a tool for succession planning and leadership development, he said.
That’s how Shay Myers, vice president of talent management at Advance America, a financial services firm, uses them. Advance America occupies small storefront locations to provide short-term loans to its customers and uses Web-based assessments to gauge leaders’ ability to grow its business. “We have a group of 10 individuals right now who are considered to be high-potential directors that we’re grooming to be at the next level,” she said. “We’re working with them on a variety of post-hire assessments to gauge where they are.”
Many post-hire assessments are competency based; they deliver statement-centered or scenario-based questions to determine people management skills for their high potentials.
One assessment Advance America uses tests individuals on how well they recognize assumptions, Myers said. A scenario is presented, and individuals are asked to make decisions based on those scenarios. Similar assessments are given in areas such as critical thinking and argument evaluation.
“Are they listening to the reasoning thoroughly, or are they failing to question and probe, and ask more questions to make sure they don’t get emotionally caught up in the person’s argument?” she said.
Post-hire assessments are still not as popular as pre-hire assessments where employers can use a validated system to make hiring decisions. Such said he doesn’t think many organizations focus on assessments once they have employees on board.