Assessment Practices in Post-Hire Initiatives

When organizations need to make decisions about their internal talent, including who to move into new roles or critical leadership positions, how are such decisions made? While some rely on current performance on the job, other companies use assessments as a way to uncover competencies that may indicate potential for successful performance in a new position and/or one involving greater responsibility. More than half of HR professionals surveyed use assessments with their current workforce (62%; see figure 1).


Figure 1: Percentage of Companies Using Assessment with Employees

Employee Initiatives and Talent Measurement

In the recently released 2011 SHLPreVisor Global Assessment Trends Report, of the 285 professionals that indicated using assessments within their workforce, relatively more of them use or plan to use talent measurement assessments as part of their career development, promotion and succession planning initiatives compared to other internal talent management areas (see table 1). These findings are generally similar to those from 2010, with the exception of the use of assessments for training needs analysis/skills gap analysis falling from #2 to #4 in 2011.

Well-designed, valid tests can serve a critical role in employee initiatives. Assessments can guide the types of development activities that would best serve employees, and can also provide rich feedback to the employee to help him/her develop additional competencies.

Similar to their value in hiring decisions, talent measurement tools are critical to companies’ succession planning initiatives. Decisions about who to promote into leadership roles are of paramount importance to organizations. Although job performance can experience are indicators of how employees may perform in the future, assessments can provide information on critical competencies for leadership, such as leadership potential, management judgement, or other competencies that  may not be revealed by reviewing an individual contributor’s performance data.

Efforts designed to develop future leaders can also be enhanced through the use of assessments. Organizations that can identify potential leaders early may also be able to engage and retain such individuals longer via developmental opportunities in the organization.

Fewer companies use or plan to use assessments for other targeted workforce initiatives, such as training certification and outplacement/redeployment (44% each). These types of initiatives can also benefit from use of valid assessments, ensuring training efforts have the desired effect (for instance, retention), and that those employees being moved out of their current roles into new ones (or out of the organization altogether) have an accurate picture of the types of roles they may be suited for in the future.

Table 1: Trends in Human Resources – Collecting Metrics and Valuing Assessments

Career Development Strategies

Most organizations (approximately 75%) use career development initiatives as a retention strategy, but only 34% of companies have a formal career development program in place for all employees (see table 2). Assessments can serve as valuable career development tools for employees to gain insight into relative strengths and development areas. This information can provide the basis for developmental conversations between managers and employees regarding role expansion, career paths, and suitability for other roles within the organization. They can also help identify knowledge or skill gaps that could be addressed through training, making employees more effective in their current or future roles.

Key Finding

Fewer Companies Making the Most of Career Development

- While three out of four HR professionals report using career development as a retention strategy, only 34% of companies have formal career development programs for all employees, and just less than 30% offer programs that any employees can choose to participate in (versus invite-only programs). Likewise, only 39% of companies have career paths outlined for their job families.

Table 2: Trends in Human Resources – Current Workforce Strategies

From 2011 Global Assessment Trends Report
Sarah Fallow, Ph.D. & Tracy M. Kantrowitz, Ph.D., SHLPreVisor

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