You Don’t Have to be a Psychometrician, but…

If you are using or plan to use an individual or organizational assessment, you must be assessment-savvy!

Assessment is increasingly used to hire the right person, pinpoint opportunities for growth, and offer 360-degree feedback. There are countless types of assessment instruments that provide feedback on individual and group competencies, behaviors, personalities, and styles. Some even dig deeper to get at what motivates and makes someone “tick.” Some instruments are standardized while others are customized to an organization’s specific competencies.

Any type of assessment is apt to stir up questions and emotions. If you are responsible for selecting or managing an assessment, you’ll want to be savvy about it. Here are some tips we’ve used in the 25+ years of implementing assessments with individuals, teams, and organizations:

  • Know what data you are looking for. Don’t fall into the trap of having a “solution looking for a need.” Just because there is a cool assessment out there doesn’t mean you need to use it. Ask yourself what you will do with the results, and if you implement the assessment as intended, what will be different?
  • Determine the degree of readiness in the group of subjects to be assessed. If you want to provide feedback to people, be sure they understand why they are being assessed and that they have a degree of emotional maturity to receive the feedback. We’ve seen situations where people were left feeling personally attacked and betrayed after receiving feedback.
  • Check to be sure the consultant/administrator is hands-on. Unless you and your team have knowledge and experience in interpreting assessment results – you’ll need a competent and skilled administrator as a guide – someone who is licensed or certified to use the assessment.
  • Know where the data is stored and what access you have to it. It’s not uncommon to store data in a secure place in the cloud where access is granted only to the administrator or licensed users. This provides a level of confidentiality expected by most assessment subjects.
  • Weave assessment into your system, linking results to other talent management initiatives such as training, performance, career, or team development. Never use assessment as an event. A legitimate assessment process requires time and commitment to get meaningful results.
  • Communicate often and explicitly about the assessment process. If necessary, hold a pre-assessment meeting to go over plans and answer the burning questions you’re likely to field (“Who will see the results?” “How was I picked to be assessed or assess others?” “How long will it take to complete?” “What will you do with the results?”)
  • When you decide on a particular assessment, leverage all the ancillary tools and reports available. Most assessment instruments have supplemental readings, research studies, comparative reports, and capabilities to slice and dice the data to meet specific needs. Software can provide you with many revelations – make it work for you.
  • Know the difference between a survey and an assessment…surveys are typically used to collect and report back data vs. provide descriptive insights. They are useful as quick self-checks or to use as a checklist such as this:

Getting Ready to Use an Assessment? Have you….

Selected an assessment that suits your strategic business goals?

Determined your audience is ready for assessment and feedback?

Checked to be sure the consultant/administrator will be hands-on?

Identified where the data will be stored and who will have access?

Planned to integrate results into your talent management process or human resources system?

Communicated effectively with everyone involved and answered all their questions?

Explored the tools and resources available to you and considered how you will use them?

Do you have boxes unchecked? Need some guidance?

Contact us with any of your assessment questions!