Develop a value adding assessment practices framework: Assessment process considerations

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

In our previous article, the focus was on assessment criteria where we discussed the importance of defining relevant, specific, up-to-date and measurable descriptors of ‘what good looks like’. 

Once these criteria have been defined, it is typical to consider the best and most reliable methods to use for their assessment. However, the value of assessments is significantly affected by where and when they are used. It is therefore beneficial to first carefully contemplate the assessment process before deciding on which assessment methods to use. This will form the focus of the present article.

The value of assessments is directly related to, amongst others, the following factors:

  • Selection ratio – significant value can be added to your selection process when an assessment is used that is able to differentiate well between more suitable talent versus those that are unlikely to be successful. Using such an assessment method on a larger group of individuals will invariably add more value than if used on a small group.
  • Cost of assessment – the administration costs for some methods might become prohibitive, especially if the assessment is administered supervised. The cost of the assessment will also increase if it does not clearly differentiate between talent.
  • Current baseline – assessments add more value where current practices are not effective in selecting better talent. If current practices are already highly effective in differentiating between applicants, adding an additional assessment at any stage of the selection process might have little additional decision value.

The above-mentioned factors are all affected by the validity of the assessment method used. An unreliable and invalid assessment has very little value regardless of where it is used in the process. The relationship between the assessment method and assessment criteria is therefore paramount (see the previous article in this series on Assessment Criteria).

In summary, when considering an assessment method, it would make sense to use the most cost effective, most valid, highest differentiating method first in the selection process. For example, an online, unsupervised Situational Judgement Test (SJT) or short reasoning assessment as a screener, rather than a more elaborate, supervised assessment device. Best assessment process practice standards demand that the assessments are delivered in the same way every time. Consistent delivery is not just important for fair decision-making, but critical for test security and the credibility of assessment practices. The consistent delivery of assessments is one of the biggest challenges for larger organisations where assessments are delivered by multiple practitioners across multiple sites.

As part of building your assessment practices framework, consider issues of governance, policy, workflow and quality assurance to support an effective assessment process.

  • Do you do a risk analysis before implementing the assessment process?
  • Who is involved in your assessment processes? Is the assessment process owner at a senior management level in the organisation?
  • Are the following in place:
    • Service Level Agreements (SLA) with all assessment vendors?
    • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for internal and external practitioners?
    • Quality Assurance Standards (QAS) to ensure consistent delivery?
    • A formal process for measuring stakeholder satisfaction with the process?

Organisations that are more mature in their assessment practices have the following in place:

  • Documented justification for methods and models, design process, multiple decision points and mechanisms to ensure an effective shared service.
  • Documented Service Level Agreements (SLA) with all service/test providers.
  • An integrated assessment process across businesses and talent processes.
  • A clear framework to do risk analysis and measure ROI.
  • Appointment of a clear assessment process owner at a senior management or executive level within the organisation.

The next article in our series will consider the various factors that are important when selecting assessment methods given the defined criteria and the assessment process.

July 7, 2017