The key Human Resource challenge of modern times is to get the right people, retain them , develop their leadership capabilities , and utilise their potential for future.
Internal promotions, development of Leadership and other capabilities have been found to be the most needed competencies for running an organisation.
The first step in tackling all these challenges is ‘assessment’ of an individual’s competencies followed by effective utilisation or development of desired competencies.
ADCs ( Assessment Development Centers ) provide useful technologies by identifying and developing talent within or outside . Such talent identification can be very advantageous if there are-in-house capabilities available for spotting talent and developing the same.
Assessment Centers are specially established centers to create simulated job conditions and observe a person’s performance thereby assessing potential for fulfilling current roles and future promotions.
TOOLS USED IN ASSESSMENT DEVELOPMENT CENTERS
1. Psychometric Tests
In general three types of test or questionnaires can be used in Assessment Centers..
Attempts to evaluate verbal and numerical reasoning ability
Attempts to measure awareness, knowledge and other such aspects
Aimed at studying various dimensions of personality rather than ability. Like 16 PF and MBTI are tests used in many organisations.
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While ability and aptitude test have right or wrong answers, personality tests do not gave the same.
2. Behaviour Event Interview (BEI)
Generally structured interviews are used in Assessment Centers to increase inter-assessor reliability. Questions are decided: sample responses are formed and classified as good, bad or average. This in turn is used to rate the participant’s response.
Critical incident / Situational interviews , have three types of questions:
3. Leaderless Group Discussion (LGD)
A LGD consists of a group of 4-6 participants who are given a problem to solve and are instructed to arrive at a group decision within a specified period of time. Generally real life problems are given to the group. While various roles may or may not be assigned to the group, no one is designated as the chairperson. Assigned tole LGDs simulate decision-making meetings in which resources have to be divided equitably. LGD with no role assigned would be similar to ad hoc committees.
4. In Basket Techniques
In basket test is another form of simulation exercise. The in basket, in tray or in box represents day-to-day decision making situations which a manager is likely to face in the written form from various sources. The in-basket/ in box contains a variety of material in the form of e-mails, memos, correspondences , telephone messages, notes, request. etc. for the participant’s attention. The contents are designed after a thorough job analysis – both in terms of duties handled and competencies required . The participant is then asked to deal with each of them within a limited period of time, putting his reaction as much as possible in wiring.
Based on the participant’s reaction, his/her general activity level, problem analysis skills, planning and organising , time management, delegation , interpersonal skills, concern for priorities, etc. can be assessed.
5. Management Games / Simulation Exercises
In case of management games or simulations exercises, again a real life situation is simulated for an entire group – for e.g. running a manufacturing operations, stock trading, running a large multidivisional organisation. While the degree of complexity varies in these games, the common denominator is the relatively unstructured nature of interactions among the participants and the variety of actions that can be taken by all participants.
The interactive nature of the business game provides opportunities to assess dimensions such as strategic planning , teamwork, team skills , leadership , analytical ability etc. A great deal of expertise is required to run this game and assessor training is also very extensive.
Role-Playing is a method of adopting roles from real life, other than those being played by the person concerned and understanding the dynamics of the role. It can be described as a “ method of studying of better and more objective observation.” Role-Playing can be used as an evaluation technique as it helps gain insights into various processes of human relationships and also the person’s attitude and behaviour in a particular role.
Role-playing is especially effective as a technique in Assessment Centers because it makes possible a minimum of distortions of real life situation and at the same time help magnify the situation to focus on certain aspects.
Even for developmental aspects, giving feedback to the person is relatively easier as the person is able to accept the feedback without any threat to his ego and hence without becoming defensive.
Individual presentations are extensively used in Assessment Centers, Presentations could be on vision, various organisational issues, case studies, turnaround , change management etc. Competencies like initiative and drive , result orientation ; verbal communication and presentation skills, business acumen etc. can be assessed based on the type of presentation.
360 DEGREE FEEDBACK AS AN INSTRUMENT IN ASSESSMENT CENTER
360 Degrees feedback can be used as a tool for assessment in the Assessment Centre methodology, 360 degree feedback is a feedback mechanism where an assessee is provided feedback forms all the people (s) he interacts at work, i.e. his/her boss, peers, subordinates and external customers. Feedback can be sought on various managerial and behavioural dimensions. Such multirater feedback can then be compiled to prepare a profile of the assessee.
Such a profile highlights the following:
- How well (s)he is performing various Managerial roles;
- His/her other strengths and areas needing improvement
– As perceived by himself / herself and
– As perceived by others
On the basis of the above feedback, the assessee can then prepare action plans to improve his / her managerial effectiveness and have positive impact at the work place.