The Assessment Centre is a precise method that requires mastery and, above all, real practical experience. To be advised on the dimensions to be assessed, the choice of format, the theme and the number of exercises to be combined, it is preferable to outsource this service to a professional in the practice of this type of assessment. If you want to set up the assessment yourself, this is also possible. To do this, here are some important principles to follow.
Be clear about the objectives
The strategic objective that prompts the implementation of the Assessment Centre is generally a transformation of the company: reorganisation of management bodies, change of internal organisation chart, new organisation taking into account demographic changes in the workforce, with the arrival of a new generation in the structure.
Whatever your driving force, you need to clarify your objectives: how to introduce the Assessment Centre into your HR strategy, how to position it in relation to other tools (360°, people review, etc.), how to build on this approach?
Preparing the process and the people
Depending on your objectives, you will need to work on the competency framework for the population concerned. Once you are clear about the dimensions to be surveyed, your service provider or the expert consultant can start building the evaluation platform.
For your part, the emphasis is on communication about the process and the system. The aim is to optimise the material obtained during the Assessment Centre by establishing a constructive state of mind among management, HR and the team being assessed. The assessment should not be seen as a punishment, but as the beginning of an investment by the company in its employees.
Ideally, the Assessment Centre takes place in a neutral environment, outside the company’s premises, which is an additional guarantee of the success of the process. At Apostrof, we organise the sessions on our premises.
Optimise the feedback to build the right development plan
Also known as the Development Center, the tool is great for detecting potential as well as for gaining accurate knowledge of an employee’s skill level.
Indeed, the feedback allows a return and a validation of the mechanisms underlying an individual’s behaviour. Thus, the recommendations on the areas of development are optimised both in terms of effectiveness and in terms of the time/budget to be invested for an increase in skills.
The Assessment Centre allows the employee to become aware of his or her strengths and areas for improvement. The recommendations are also of great benefit to the N+1, who then has levers for action and recommended actions to implement in order to continue supporting the employee.
Why evaluate before training?
Most of the time, requests for training come from employees who may feel that they are having difficulty or are not sufficiently equipped to deal with a given subject.
Sometimes, the annual appraisal interview also allows some interesting elements to emerge which provide avenues for drawing up a development plan.
We all also expect a lot from the professional interview, which is intended to consider the employee’s career development prospects and the training that can contribute to them.
Training strategy and plan
The company’s training plan is also aligned with the company’s strategy. And it is not always easy to measure precisely the gaps between the current skills and those needed for tomorrow.
This is why some organisations use the Assessment Centre or Development Centre. This is because it is more than just an assessment of people. At first, the link between evaluation and development does not seem obvious, since the objective is different. The Assessment Centre aims to assess people’s individual skills and thus their competencies or potential, while the Development Centre aims to develop them.
The approach is more of a process with key ideas to be respected in order to obtain the expected results: case study or role-playing exercises, a team of consultants who take part in the simulations while observing the behaviours implemented by the participant, attitude or cognitive tests and, above all, feedback sessions with the person being assessed.
Assessment and Development Center
For the company, the precise evaluation of an employee’s skills and potential enables it to construct a more precise training plan, based on a shared diagnosis, which will be used in development and/or coaching actions. Indeed, a person’s development begins with the identification of areas for progress, and therefore with evaluation. This is why the notions of evaluation and development are closely linked.
In fact, the boundary between Assessment and Development Center is thinner than it seems. As mentioned in the fundamentals of the Assessment Centre, this approach includes feedback where the assessor dialogues with the person being assessed and tells him/her what he/she has perceived and understood about him/her.
These exchanges provide the participant with a better understanding of him or herself, helping to identify strengths and areas for improvement. Awareness leads to a change in self-image, which is the starting point for an individual’s development.
When to use the Development Center approach?
Talent development is the key to successful people management. Reflection on individual development needs, on training choices or development methods requires assessment, which is why the Assessment or Development Centre are relevant.
The approach also clearly allows a mapping of skills and potentials within a population of professionals. On an individual basis, this process is also used when an employee does not clearly formulate the aspects in which he or she would like to be supported.
Today, employees are invited to take charge of their employability and their career. The Assessment Centre can then be the starting point for a reflection on one’s mission and role in the organisation.
About the Assessment Center
The Assessment or Development Center are methodologies that use a professional situation. The objective is to carry out a precise diagnosis of the strengths and areas for improvement of a candidate or employee. In the context of recruitment, this stage enables the company to advise on a suitable integration plan for the individual’s personality and skills. Also, having a global vision of talent is essential to prepare a new organisation within a company. In the case of internal mobility, the assessment includes specific recommendations on a development plan.
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