In my last post, I discussed how psychometrics can be a powerful driver of performance.
This second post is for those of you who may be exploring assessments or reconsidering your approach to using them. Without further ado, here is a guide to choosing an assessment engine and platform that will work for your organization.
1. Always start with the science:
- The right tools are valid and reliable; they’re based on decades of validity studies, peer reviews and real research – not just theory.
- They can demonstrate objectivity (age, race, gender, national origin, etc.).
- They can prove that they exceed professional standards (EEOC, Uniform Guidelines for the Development and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures, the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology and the International Test Commission, to name a handful of importance.)
If an assessment provider can’t prove all of those things to you, they are not a serious provider. They might even make things worse.
2. Ensure the assessments measure hard-wired things that you can’t fix or change (e.g. behaviors and cognitive agility). And no “happy-clappy” stuff:
- Don’t spend too much time with pre-employment assessments that measure attributes at a point-in-time, such as skills and current knowledge, as those things could change/improve relatively quickly. Why disqualify people for things that a person could learn, practice, and improve upon? That’s the stuff of life.
- Of course, there are certain roles where certain education levels, knowledge, experience or certifications are important (e.g registered nurse, certified accountant) but many more for which “resume insistence” leads to the wrong outcome.
- Everyone has been to the 30-minute “happy clappy” meeting where you learn about your results (which may have been interesting and accurate) and then the results go into a drawer and die. That isn’t good enough. The insights need to be useful across the entire employee life cycle.
3. Assessments need to be short and simple so they are widely used:
- The sweet spot is 20 minutes or less to take the assessment(s). Assessments that take 30+ minutes kill adoption rates.
- Offer value to people when they’re done – a quick and credible readout of their results, for example. Make sure candidates and employees know why they invested time and provide practical value.
- Long, confusing, jargony reports that only an I/O Psychologist can understand are not going to be used, let alone understood – it goes in a drawer and dies there...
4. Get a solution that is built for business, predicts performance and enhances decision-making. Avoid comprehensive personality tests that try to shoehorn insights into business applications.
- Remember the context principle. Humans are activated by environments (culture, leaders, expectations, etc). So we need to model both human attributes AND job attributes so we can compare them.
This means the ability to create customized job models is a must. This gives you a standard of excellence or benchmark – the operating context – against which talent can be assessed. Without job benchmarks you’ll have interesting but impractical conversations about respective personalities, and not much more.
- A lack of alignment between HR and hiring managers with respect to job specifications is pervasive, in our experience. So use a tool that helps you to cut through that misalignment. Job models allow you to use the tools and data across all applicants and employees with one common language for your entire organization. They help you to align on job specifications and expectations.
- The use of these tools in hiring is critical, of course. But you’ll want to use this data beyond hiring. Simplify coaching and development with a common language and toolkit that will be useful to managers and leaders across the entire employment life-cycle, even if you focus solely on hiring in the short term. Once leaders see how this data can be used, they’ll want more.
5. Training & Expert Support:
- Look for practical, robust training modules with a sustainment program and/or technology included.
- Evaluate the training for its likelihood to create real capability inside your organization. You don’t want to call a consultant (who is charging you) every time you want to use your data.
- There is an important balance here. You need an expert on your bench – someone who is an expert in the analytics AND has the business experience and acumen to help you solve real problems. But you don’t need to pay an overpriced consultancy vast sums to take its expertise with it when the engagement ends. And ordering assessments online with customer support that is essentially “online FAQs and chat” isn’t going to work either. This is too important.
6. The Power of the “And”:
- Good workforce analytics solutions complement almost any good talent practices, tools and solutions that you have in place today. No good solution should require you to stop doing anything that is working.
7. Data Privacy and Data Protection:
- Only work with a firm that understands exactly what this means (domestically and internationally) and can prove their ability to comply and help you meet your obligations.
Humans are tricky. But if you believe that talent is a competitive advantage, then you must have a point of view about what drives human performance.
If you agree that personality and cognitive ability drive performance, then you must understand how.
Leaders owe it to their organizations and people to help them reach full potential. There’s too much at stake. People are rightfully expecting leaders to do just that. And human capital leaders have to take responsibility for organizational performance, challenge the status quo, and avoid the all too common belief that there’s not enough good talent out there.
There are tools aplenty to help us understand each other – some good, many bad. Don’t let the existence of lousy, ineffective “assessments” or fear stop you from selecting the right workforce analytics solution. We shouldn’t let bad assessments taint good science. In our view The Predictive Index is best-in-class for the vast majority of use-cases. But using the guide above should lead you to one that works for your organization.
The reward for doing this right is enormous: Better performance, better outcomes, happier humans and you’re a bona-fide hero.
To learn more about Mindwire's work and impact, feel free to connect by reaching out at Hello@troophr.com.
If you’d like to take a free, scientifically valid strengths assessment and discuss your results with Tom, please follow this link to the assessment and schedule a session here. The assessment takes 6 minutes to complete, is valid and reliable, and is entirely strengths-based. We’ll discuss the nuances of your report and how you approach key issues of leadership such as uncertainty, pace of change, influencing with and without authority, decision making, and delegation. There will be ZERO sales pressure and your data is 100% secure. This is a great opportunity to have a practical coaching session rooted in real strengths. Additionally, Troop Members will receive a special discount off of their software solution.