Assessing the Value of Assessments
Of all your corporate assets, employees are the most valuable. It doesn’t matter whether you offer a premier product or service, if you are first to market with a new idea, whether yours is the cheapest or most expensive, what keeps customers coming back is how they feel about your company, and that’s about the service they receive, which always comes back to the people.
Not only are they the most valuable asset, they are the hardest to replace. Finding the right people, training, motivating and retaining them is an ongoing challenge for any organization.
The secret begins with learning how to identify the right people during the interview process. Assessments were developed for this reason. The benefits of using assessments can’t be overlooked.
1. Common language.
A significant benefit of assessments is they provide a common language to be used when discussing people. We assume that when we use words such as good attitude, bright, fast learner, and good communication skills, that everyone’s definition of these words is the same. Assessments provide the basis for common language and common definition of terms so that there is consistency in the evaluation process, regardless of who is involved.
2. Hiring the Right Candidate.
Assessments measure skills, abilities, personal attributes such as work preferences, motivation, personality and other qualities that will assist you with understanding ‘who’ they are, not just ‘what’ experience they have. ‘Who’ will always be much more important than ‘what’ – what skills or experience they have.
3. Reducing or eliminating Bad Hires.
What are the costs associated with making a bad hire? It depends on the job but the American Management Association estimates that the cost is 1.5 times an employee’s annual salary. As the complexity level of the job increases, the cost of a bad hire also increases.
4. Performance issues identified quickly.
Assessments can help us manage more effectively and thus more quickly identify performance issues. Quickly identifying these issues allows us to ascertain if it’s a training issue, or if we simply have the wrong person. While you may not want to think about terminating and starting all over, knowing an employee’s performance is not a training issue helps you make the decision with facts, not emotions.
5. Improved Performance.
Assessments can provide you with information on how to train, manage and motivate new hires improving your chances of attaining high performance quickly. Additionally they provide insights on how to improve the performance of new hires by understanding their preferred work style, their motivations, and their personal and behavioral characteristics. Assessments are used to help current employees understand their performance, how others perceive them and how their behavior impacts their ability to perform (think 360 assessments). This promotes open communication around performance, reinforces organizational values and provides insights to the employee for personal development and improved performance.
6. Improved Team Dynamics.
Using assessments can improve the communication between individuals, teams and departments reducing this friction. Misunderstandings trigger conflicts that always relate back to communication. Assessments can help teams and departments understand each other reducing the assumptions and judgments and the obvious outcome is improved communication.
7. Reduced Management Time/Intervention.
Leaders spend too much time resolving conflicts or issues that should never have occurred, and too much time doing damage control because their staff doesn’t see the big picture and consequently gets mired down in the details. Huge amounts of time are wasted discussing performance issues, handling the backlash from these issues or in conversations with disgruntled employees or clients. While assessments aren’t the solution to these challenges, they can significantly reduce management time resolving them. Better hires lead to better performance. Terminating poor performers quickly reduces friction and complaints from staff and customers. Improved communication leads to positive team dynamics. All of these mean the leaders spend less time and energy on these issues, allowing them to focus on strategic initiatives.
Assessments are not a quick fix, instant solution or panacea guaranteeing 100% successful hiring. They are a tool, one of many that you will use in the hiring, training and performance evaluation process. Used along with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, an awareness of your corporate culture, an understanding of the personal attributes of your current staff and your instincts, they can improve your hiring success. With successful hiring comes improved performance, reduced turnover, increased customer satisfaction, decreased conflict among staff and with the inevitable outcome of more money in your pocket and less headaches and energy drains for you.
© 2015 Incedo Group, LLC