George Harrison said, “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”. This is often the case in the assessment space. In our experience, many practitioners are caught off guard when they are challenged to explain how their assessment practices add value to the business. In most cases, this challenge is the result of a lack of clarity as to why, where and how assessments fit into the broader talent management strategy.
The development of a holistic assessment practices framework empowers practitioners with a clear plan and rationale for answering some of the more challenging questions about why, when and how they assess.
Assessment practices are the activities (practices) involved in the management of the data and inter-dependencies between assessment criteria, methods, processes and stakeholder needs to create business value from assessment information. A well-developed assessment practices framework adds value to the business because it allows organisations to:
– Audit their current practices;
– Track their growth on a maturity curve;
– Identify specific areas that need attention;
– Build strategies and specific action step to grow the value from assessment;
– Create a governance framework for the implementation of organisation wide assessment practices; and
– Guide decision-making before contracting with service and product providers.
In fact, within many countries such as the USA and South Africa, not having a clear assessment framework can have negative legislative consequences.
Applied in the context of the organisation’s talent strategy, mature assessment practices can create business value through:
– The assessment of integrated and aligned talent criteria;
– Using quality and cost effective measurement tools;
– Consistently delivered through standardised, best practices processes;
– Using competent and professional practitioners;
– Producing results that are presented in the most understandable and integrated manner;
– Ensuring the satisfaction of all relevant stakeholders, and
– Allowing for the tracking and measurement of return on investment.
The figure below shows the full TTS Assessment Practice Maturity Framework (APMF).
The next series of newsletters will discuss each of the elements in the framework. We will aim to provide you with some useful questions to ask, that, if answered sensibly, will allow you to develop a more robust, integrated, contextual and flexible framework.
Start with the end in mind
Assessments can add significant value if results are used to drive effective decisions about people. This is only possible if assessment results provide answers to strategic people decisions.
It is critical to consider your talent strategy as a first step in the development of your framework. Start by asking (and answering) these questions: “What talent related decision do you need to make?” and “What information will assessments provide that will help you make a better decision?”.
– What is the nature of your business strategy?
– What are the implications of the strategy for talent sourcing, selection, development and retention?
– What are your current talent challenges and key talent questions?
– Which skills or roles are critical and scares?
– What are the implications for critical competencies?
– What is your current staff turnover? In which roles is this more acute?
– Where can evidence based information and assessment add the most value?
If you cannot answer these questions, you might be on a road to nowhere. Our next article will focus on the importance of understanding the assessment purpose and context before determining what, how and when to assess.