Why assess employees before training them?
Reading Time of Article: 5 min
Most requests for training are made by employees when they find they’re struggling or don’t know enough about a particular subject. Sometimes, an annual performance appraisal can also produce interesting results that suggest areas for development. We all expect a lot of performance appraisals, which are designed to identify the areas for an employee’s professional development and the training that can help to achieve this.
Corporate strategy and the training plans
A company’s training plan is also aligned with its corporate strategy. It’s not always easy to measure precisely the gap between current skills within the company and the skills that the company will need in the future. That’s why some organisations use assessment centers or development centres. A more in-depth process is required than just assessing people. The process must stick to certain key ideas to achieve the desired results: it should include exercises such as case studies and role play, a team of consultants taking part in the simulations while observing the participant’s behaviour, attitude or cognitive tests, and above all feedback sessions with the person being assessed.
Assessment center vs Development centre
The link between assessment and development may not be immediately apparent because they don’t have the same aims. The purpose of the assessment center is to assess people individually in terms of their skills and potential, whereas the purpose of the development centre is to develop them. The dividing line between assessment and development centres is thinner than one might imagine because they are in fact linked. As explained in the description of an assessment center, assessments include feedback sessions where the assessor chats with the participant, and says what they have seen and understood of the participant. These discussions give participants a better understanding of themselves, and help them to identify their strengths and areas for improvement. Awareness changes a person’s self-image, and constitutes the starting point for an individual’s development. For a company, having an employee’s skills and potential accurately assessed means that it can devise a tailored training plan based on the assessment findings shared, which will be used for development and/or coaching activities. Personal development starts with the identification of areas for improvement, and therefore with an assessment. So that’s why the concepts of assessment and development are closely linked.
When should a development centre be used?
Developing talent is the key to effective personnel management. Before it’s possible to reflect on individual development needs, training options and development methods, an assessment has to be carried out, which is why both assessment centers and development centres are relevant. Obviously, the process also produces a mapping of skills and potential within a population of professionals. Individually, the process is also used when employees are finding it difficult to express clearly the areas with which they need help. Nowadays employees are invited to take an active role in their employability and their careers. An assessment center can be the starting point for thinking about one’s responsibilities and role within an organisation.
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