There's something powerful about using job assessments in your organization—especially if you can tap into the right information at the right time. Like that one time you hired the candidate who had the stellar interview and you just knew they were going to be a fantastic addition to the team. The new hire was onboarded and trained in the usual manner, and then the wheels fell off in surprising and unexpected ways that turned out to be irreparable. Horrifying at the time (seriously, you never want to make that mistake again!), but when you describe the situation later to fellow HR Directors, it's a familiar story and makes everyone feel a little better about that same situation happening to them. That is the precise reason why I love great employee assessments—they somehow manage to identify the internal, unseen, and unanticipated drivers of a person’s behavior that impact many phases of organizational growth and change.
The following 7 assessment uses reveal the importance of assessing all the employees in your entire organization. If you've had a rough time getting the right people in the right seat, or just need a few suggestions on how to get even more out of the profile results your organization is already using, check out the list of uses below.
1. Screening Job Applicants
Using employment tests as a quick, inexpensive screen for job applicants seems to be the most common practice among American businesses. According to Forbes, this is especially true with larger organizations where one opening might attract more than 100 applications, encouraging the use of talent management software to whittle away at least 50% or the responses before resumes are even consulted. While this is certainly understandable, it is important to make sure the right types of tests are being used for this purpose. Though many pre-screening tools claim to accurately assess a candidate’s behavior, integrity, motivation, or teamwork, the truth is most people know how to say what a potential employer wants to hear. Therefore, it is best to use tools that test cognitive skills and role-specific aptitudes for early screening.
2. Right Hiring Decision
Just as any good hiring process has multiple phases, the best hiring decisions can be made by comparing several candidates for the same position. In most organizations, much of the decision to hire centers around interview performance. And yet, interviews are quite subjective and tend to result in the best candidate being chosen only about 50% of the time. Assessing a candidate is a different way to interview, and the results provide structured, objective data that allows for a direct comparison of candidates as well as a significantly more informed final decision.
I am not suggesting that reports could or should replace the need for interviews. Instead, the two methods should be combined for extra insight. There is so much to say on that use alone, I must save it for future posts.
3. Manager-Employee Pairing
Sometimes the same position is open across several teams, each of which has its own manager. In these situations, reports—both on the new hire and the team manager—can help you make the most effective assignment. Trait and characteristic surveys can help everyone anticipate the natural interpersonal dynamics (strengths, weaknesses, and points of contention), which are likely to surface. When all who will be involved are given advanced notice of the benefits and the challenges they are likely to experience, better-informed decisions can be made that will lead to more productivity and less conflict.
4. Improving Team Performance
Manager-Employee Pairing only multiplies as you add more people to the team. Finding reports or training that help each person understand teammates can produce space for everyone to function most productively. This is a major factor that leads to the high performing teams every C-level craves. Looking at a team view of profile results can also reveal changes to the team that need to be made.
- Is someone struggling to meet the team performance standard? Why?
- Are they lacking a key element in their wiring that is necessary for success?
- Does the team have a hole that needs to be filled?
- What are the characteristics the new member needs to have?
Every team leader wants to answer these questions with more certainty.
5. Focused Employee Development
The same profile reports on an employee’s traits just before or just after being hired hold powerful information for continued, personalized employee development—all at no extra cost to the company. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Instantly an employee’s motivations, perspectives, decision-making style, energy direction, response to challenges or obstacles, emotional behavior tendencies, strengths, weaknesses, and more can be worked into a very focused, very personalized growth and development plan. When managers are able to evaluate the known performance of a direct report through the filter of a trait profile, a level of clarity is available that allows for focused improvement and new opportunities. With the ever-increasing arrival of Millennials into the workforce, these tools equip managers to meet a key value that can increase retention rates: Young energetic employees want to know there is opportunity for growth and advancement within their organization, and they want to work with a manager who will invest in their development.
6. Effective Problem Solving
In every business, there are problems to solve; and where two or more people are involved, there will be conflict because people do what makes sense to them. What makes sense to one person may not naturally make sense to another. Trait profiles provide the necessary translation or explanation for quick resolution. The terminology used to explain standard personal traits provides a vocabulary that allows everyone to discuss motivations, perspectives, and responses in a neutral and non-personal way. Addressing conflict in this manner allows for the necessary training and correction that makes it possible for everyone to get back on track and work together effectively.
7. Promotions, Transfers, Succession
The life of a business runs on change. A stagnant organization is a dying organization. Much of this change centers around additions and replacements within the workforce. Those same profile reports can be consulted for promotion, transfer, and succession decisions. Anytime someone is being considered for a new role, the question is always: Will this be a good fit for the person and for the company? Much of that answer can be found in the candidate’s natural traits. Without this knowledge, the typical approach is what has become known as the Peter Principle. In a hierarchical organization, successful employees are allowed to promote out of what they are great at until they finally land in the position that is their undoing. This is their reward for a job well done. And the organization is not better for it either. Coming back to the assessment results when considering these decisions allows you to ensure that employee traits are effectively aligned with the responsibilities and expectations of the position.
The use of job assessments can be helpful throughout all phases of organizational growth and change. These are just a few suggestions you might consider.
Do you have any others to add? Let us know in the comments.