Develop a value adding assessment practices framework: Competencies and Assessment Criteria

This is the third article on how to develop a value adding assessment practices framework.

In our previous article, we discussed the importance of understanding the assessment purpose and context when developing a value adding assessment strategy. In this article, we focus on assessment criteria. In the context of an assessment strategy, criteria can refer to anything, backward- or forward-looking, that should be assessed to predict future performance.

Backward-looking criteria includes areas like qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience, while forward-looking criteria typically refers to job related or leadership behaviours (competencies) or the ability to solve a range of job related problems.

Assessment criteria that adds value to the assessment strategy must align with your talent strategy. In this regard, the key challenge for most organisations is to define relevant, specific, up-to-date and measurable descriptors of ‘what good looks like’ now and into the future. Depending on the assessment devices you have at your disposal and the application of the assessment outcomes, criteria could include:

  • Potential (predictors),
  • Behaviour (competencies),
  • Outcomes in the form of impacts (effect the person has on others) or results (measurable achievements).

When considering your options in the development and choice of assessment criteria, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your organisation have a standard competency framework?
  • Do you have a clearly defined talent strategy that forms the basis of all your assessment practices?
  • Do you review your talent strategy and competency models to ensure they are accurate and aligned with the business strategy?
  • Are you intending to use or implement the criteria as part of various talent management processes?
  • These could include various applications in talent acquisition (selection, placement) and or talent activation (development, performance management and succession).
  • What method or methods are you intending to use to define or identify the criteria that is important for future success?

Organisations with more mature assessment practices:

  • Use clearly defined criteria models that are used in more than one talent management process (for example selection and development and succession planning); and
  • Regularly review the talent strategy and competency models to ensure they are accurate and aligned with the business strategy.

In order to improve your assessment practices, you should:

  • Implement a formal job analysis process with competencies as the outcome;
  • Ensure job analysis methods are used consistently and across the organisation;
  • Implement a formal review process to ensure assessment criteria is relevant and aligned to your talent strategy;
  • Align multiple criteria models to a single integrated framework that is used across the organisation with multiple levels of detail.

Once your assessment criteria have been established, one would typically consider the assessment methods that will be most effective at providing valid information for decision-making. We do believe, however, that determining ‘when and where’ in the assessment process you would like to use the assessment information plays a significant role in the selection of assessment methods. In our next article, we will therefore consider a number of issues related to the assessment process.

August 2, 2017