People tick boxes on a daily basis — to ensure they have achieved or completed a certain task on simple to-do lists, such as picking up the weekly shopping. Others use checklists for more significant decisions such as choosing a field of study, career, or even a life partner.
While these may seem like reasonable checklists to make, is practising a tick box methodology relevant in the world of talent management? Is it important for employers’ checklists to include psychometric assessments and does it help employers promote themselves as employers of choice?
There are many ways in which organisations utilise psychometric assessments — that is to predict future job performance, to gauge an individual’s readiness to take on more responsibility, or to identify potential leaders. Those benefits come in different shapes and forms; such as an ambitious fresh graduate with lots of potential or an experienced CEO with a visionary mindset.
Thus, when it comes to using psychometrics, employers have the opportunity to tick the right box that sits next to selection, development or promotion of their talent depending on their people and organisational requirements.
In recent times, psychometrics have gained popularity ... and rightly so. The science behind psychometric assessments enables organisations to get the right person job fit as there are often strong correlations between psychometric assessment scores and performance on the job.
In the Middle East, there are a growing number of organisations that use psychometrics to enable people decisions. However, many treat the implementation of psychometric assessments as a tick box exercise — to have the comfort of collecting data on individuals, and, often, to report back to senior management that this step has been covered. Over time, the value of assessments gets questioned.
So, are organisations really getting the best use out of psychometrics, or are they only implementing them out of perceived necessity?
Here’s a guide to ensure that your organisation is using psychometrics effectively:
Establish clear objectives
Ask yourself, “Why do I need to use psychometric assessments?” To hire talent, identify high potentials, or to redeploy people into better fitting roles?
The type of assessment tools and how you apply them would greatly differ depending on your purpose.
Evaluate the tools
Before establishing a process that relies on psychometric assessment data, review and evaluate the science behind the tools. Do they measure the key constructs that are important to you? Do the tools look and feel appropriate for the target audience? Can scores be evaluated against appropriate benchmarks? Are the results easily interpreted?
Plan the practicalities
Invest time in understanding the practical elements of the implementation process. Determine the stage in which psychometrics should be introduced?
Asking these questions will help you gain insight on process, time and return on investment. Accordingly, you can allocate and train an internal team to champion and master the process.
Get broader buy-in
Make sure you link psychometrics to your organisational strategy. Organizations that seek the best talent, should consider aligning best practice processes within their strategic direction. In return, this will enable employers to promote and standardise the process throughout the organisation and accordingly make better decisions in regards to their human capital.
Validate the return on investment Your assessment data should help you answer key questions about your talent: What makes them strive? What do high achievers have in common?
Psychometric assessments can help you learn more about your people and target organisational areas for improvement, such as work processes, teams, etc. The bottom-line — psychometrics should enable you to predict higher performance, increase employee engagement levels, and lower turnover rates.
The only way for psychometric tools to be sustainable is if they demonstrate a return on investment.
Based on research and practical experience, psychometrics can truly help many organisations reach their full potential. In cases where they don’t, it is quite often because their implementation has been a tick box exercise. Given the importance of getting people decisions right in today’s environment, we say it’s timely to ask the difficult questions.
— The writer is Consultant for Aon Assessment Solutions and part of the Cut-e team in the Middle East and Africa.