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  • 1. TalentAssessmentStrategiesA Decisive Guide for Organizational Performancecompliments
  • 2. Talent Assessment StrategiesA Decision Guide for Organizational PerformanceMarch 2010Mollie Lombardi, Jayson Saba
  • 3. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 2© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Executive SummaryOrganizations today are continually looking for ways to make betterdecisions about talent in order to minimize the risk of a bad hire orpromotion and to ensure that individual efforts are aligned withorganizational goals. In this research, conducted between January and March2010, over 400 organizations were studied to understand how they useassessments to drive better decisions and impact business performance. Topperforming organizations were found to be using assessments more broadlyacross employee populations and job roles, as well as more frequently andconsistently than other organizations. Underlying assessment success werestrong ties to the business, organizational leadership buy-in, and acompetency framework to assess against.Best-in-Class PerformanceAberdeen used the following three key performance criteria to distinguishBest-in-Class companies:· 84% of employees received a rating of “exceed” on lastperformance review· 81% of key positions have at least one willing and able successoridentified· 33% average year-over-year improvement in hiring managersatisfactionCompetitive Maturity AssessmentSurvey results show that the firms enjoying Best-in-Class performanceshared several common characteristics, including:· Stakeholder collaboration and buy-in to define competencies againstwhich new hires and existing employees can be assessed· Providing context on how assessments should be used and whattheir intended purpose is within the organization· Ensuring that assessments look at multiple aspects of an individual inorder to create an accurate and comprehensive evaluationRequired ActionsIn addition to the specific recommendations in Chapter Three of thisreport, to achieve Best-in-Class performance, companies must:· Use assessments in the pre- and post-hire, and throughout theemployee lifecycle· Define a competency framework to assess against· Link assessment results to organizational performance metrics, andcommunicate the impact regularly"The primary key elements (ofan assessment strategy) are, 1)having a business focus to yourcompetency development andassessment process, 2) havingthis supported from top andlocal management as a businessinitiative and 3) having metricsand accountability to ensurethat employee developmentand assessment take place."~ David Demski, Manager ofCompetencies and EmployeeDevelopment, HalliburtonResearch BenchmarkAberdeen’s ResearchBenchmarks provide an in-depth and comprehensive lookinto process, procedure,methodologies, andtechnologies with best practiceidentification and actionablerecommendations
  • 4. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 3© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Table of ContentsExecutive Summary.......................................................................................................2Best-in-Class Performance.....................................................................................2Competitive Maturity Assessment.......................................................................2Required Actions......................................................................................................2Chapter One: Benchmarking the Best-in-Class....................................................4Business Context .....................................................................................................4The Maturity Class Framework............................................................................6The Best-in-Class PACE Model ............................................................................7Best-in-Class Strategies...........................................................................................8Chapter Two: Benchmarking Requirements for Success.................................14Competitive Assessment......................................................................................15Capabilities and Enablers......................................................................................17Chapter Three: Required Actions .........................................................................22Laggard Steps to Success......................................................................................22Industry Average Steps to Success ....................................................................23Best-in-Class Steps to Success............................................................................23Appendix A: Research Methodology.....................................................................26Appendix B: Related Aberdeen Research............................................................28FiguresFigure 1: Pressures Driving the Use of Assessments ...........................................4Figure 2: Most Important Objectives for Use of Assessments ..........................5Figure 3: Top Strategic Actions to Support Assessment Efforts .......................8Figure 4: Performance on Key Metrics....................................................................9Figure 5: Performance on Key Metrics by Best-in-Class ...................................10Figure 6: Most Valuable Uses of Assessments......................................................10Figure 7: Formal and Standard Assessment Strategies.......................................12Figure 8: Groups Assessed in Pre- and Post-hire................................................12Figure 9: Top Sources of Competency Definitions.............................................18Figure 10: Measuring the Impact of Assessments on the Business..................19Figure 11: Solution Selection Criteria ....................................................................20Figure 12: Integration with Talent Management Elements................................21Figure 13: Impact of Integration on Key Metrics.................................................24TablesTable 1: Top Performers Earn Best-in-Class Status..............................................7Table 2: The Best-in-Class PACE Framework .......................................................8Table 3: The Competitive Framework...................................................................16Table 4: The PACE Framework Key......................................................................27Table 5: The Competitive Framework Key..........................................................27Table 6: The Relationship Between PACE and the Competitive Framework....27
  • 5. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 4© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Chapter One:Benchmarking the Best-in-ClassBusiness ContextDespite growing optimism around the state of the global economy,organizations cant afford to waste anything these days - time, money orresources. Companies are looking to improve internal alignment, andleverage data to drive faster, better decisions. These things are true withinevery function of the organization, but never more so than in talentmanagement. Aberdeens Economic Outlook 2010 report found that 68% oforganizations surveyed expect the economy to recover by Q3 2010, and asa group, anticipate revenue growth of 10.5% in 2010 over 2009. But in thesame time period, average headcount was expected to grow only 4.3%.Given this context, organizations are trying to ensure that the people theydo hire, and the people already employed by the company are put in theright roles, are developed in the right ways, and are prepared for upcomingleadership challenges as effectively and efficiently as possible. AndAberdeens latest research shows that assessments - used for selection,development and succession - are a powerful tool to make sure thishappens.Alignment is Driving PerformanceThe whole point of assessing individuals is to gain insights - into their skills,their behaviors, and their working style - in order to evaluate them against aset of criteria that are important to the organization. Aligning skills,behaviors and styles with what the business needs is a critical piece ofdriving performance, which is a top pressure driving organizations to useassessments (Figure 1).Figure 1: Pressures Driving the Use of Assessments 67% 42% 31% 0% 25% 50% 75% Competitive landscape putting focus on productivity and performance Shortage of leadership skills / w eak succession pipeline Marketplace and customer demands require better insight into existing and anticipated w orkforce percentage of respondents, n=264Source: Aberdeen Group, March 2010Fast FactsOrganizations usingassessments are:Ö 24% more likely to have aready and willing successornamed for each key positionAnd demonstrated a:Ö 75% greater year-over-yearimprovement in hiringmanager satisfactionÖ 75% year-over-yeardecrease in hiring costsÖ 2.5 times greater year-over-year increase in profitper full time equivalentcompared to organizations notusing assessments (see Figure 4for further detail)
  • 6. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 5© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897This increasingly competitive landscape was also the top pressure identifiedin Aberdeens December 2009 report, Integrated Talent Management. Thatstudy also found that the number one Best-in-Class strategy put in place toaddress that rapidly changing competitive environment is to align talentmanagement efforts with the goals of the organization. And that strategy issupported by capabilities such as collaboration between HR and thebusiness to define success criteria. Assessments are critically important tohelp ensure this alignment, to allow managers to make better talentdecisions, and to put people in roles where they can have the greatestimpact on their teams productivity and performance. The also help providevisibility into the current readiness of each employee and identify gaps sothat appropriate development plans can be put in place.Hiring needs are still front of mind as well when people think ofassessments, and companies are focused on using them to find people withcritical skills, particularly those that may be in short supply in themarketplace. But companies are taking a longer-term view of the needs ofthe marketplace and want to be prepared with the right talent to addressthose needs.Assessments Making a Difference in the Post-hireAssessments have long been considered a tool used in hiring decisions - and91% of Best-in-Class organizations in Aberdeens March 2009 study onassessments in talent management use assessments in recruiting. However,55% of all organizations surveyed indicated they use assessments in both thepre- and post-hire. This migration toward use throughout the talent lifecycleis reflected in the objectives companies are seeking to address through theuse of assessments (Figure 2).Figure 2: Most Important Objectives for Use of Assessments 73% 63% 44% 0% 25% 50% 75% Improving quality of hire  Identifying high­potential talent Identifying skill / competency gaps for each job role percentage of respondents, n=264Source: Aberdeen Group, March 2010
  • 7. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 6© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897In the pre-hire, quality of hire is a metric that all talent leaders areconcerned with. In Aberdeens December 2009 report on Integrated TalentManagement, respondents were asked to rank the most important metricsthat they use to measure the effectiveness of overall talent managementefforts, and quality of hire came out on top. Even though Aberdeensresearch shows that organizations may not be pursuing new hires in thesame numbers that they laid off workers in recent years, the investmentthey make in those individuals they do hire must be carefully monitored.Aberdeens August study on Talent Acquisition Strategies 2009 broke downquality of hire and found that organizational fit, hiring manager satisfaction,and time to productivity were all critical to quantifying quality of hire. As therest of this report will show, all of these component parts can be addressedthrough the use of assessments.But as important as assessments are to selection and hiring decisions, theyare also continuing to be important in development and succession planningas well. The use of assessments to identify high-potential talent fordevelopment and promotion opportunities closely follows quality of hire asa key objective in the use of assessments. Organizations are almost twice aslikely to use assessments in both the pre- and post-hire (55%) than in justthe pre-hire alone (29%). The following sections of this report will explorehow organizations are implementing and utilizing assessments throughoutthe talent life cycle to improve performance and decision making.The Maturity Class FrameworkAberdeen used three key performance criteria to distinguish the Best-in-Class from Industry Average and Laggard organizations. Only organizationscurrently using assessments were benchmarked:· Employee performance is defined as the number of employeeswho received a rating of "exceeds expectations" as of their latestperformance review. This is an indicator of how well organizationsare able to align individuals efforts with the work that theorganization is expecting of them.· Bench strength is defined as the number of key positions forwhich at least one ready and willing successor has been identified.This is an indicator of how well organizations are performing atidentifying and developing the next generation of talent, based onfuture needs.· Hiring manager satisfaction is defined as the degree to whichhiring manager satisfaction with new hires has improved over thepast 12 months. This is an indicator of how well the recruiting andstaffing organization is able to match the skills, behaviors and talentsof new employees to the needs defined by the hiring manager.These three elements in combination look at how organizations are usingassessments in the pre-hire to improve fit, and in the post-hire to deliverresults in the near term as well as plan to address future organizationalneeds.
  • 8. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 7© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Table 1: Top Performers Earn Best-in-Class StatusDefinition ofMaturity ClassMean Class PerformanceBest-in-Class:Top 20%of aggregateperformance scorers§ 84% of employees received rating of “exceed” onlast performance review§ 81% of key positions have at least one willing andable successor identified§ 33% year-over-year improvement in hiring managersatisfactionIndustry Average:Middle 50%of aggregateperformance scorers§ 46% of employees received rating of “exceed” onlast performance review§ 56% of key positions have at least one willing andable successor identified§ 23% year-over-year improvement in hiring managersatisfactionLaggard:Bottom 30%of aggregateperformance scorers§ 29% of employees received rating of “exceed” onlast performance review§ 32% of key positions have at least one willing andable successor identified§ 1% year-over-year decrease in hiring managersatisfactionSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010The Best-in-Class PACE ModelUsing assessments to achieve talent management and organizational goalsrequires a combination of strategic actions, organizational capabilities, andenabling technologies that can be summarized as follows:· Collaborating with stakeholders across the business to definecompetencies against which new hires and existing employees canbe assessed· Getting buy-in from leaders and employees on how assessments areused and what their purpose is within the organization· Ensuring that assessments look at multiple aspects of an individualfrom diverse points of view in order to create an accurate andcomprehensive evaluation
  • 9. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 8© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Table 2: The Best-in-Class PACE FrameworkPressures Actions Capabilities Enablers§ Increasinglycompetitivelandscapeforcing a focuson productivityandperformance§ Build a competencyframework againstwhich theorganization can makebetter selection,placement andpromotion decisions§ Align workforce withbusiness objectives§ Support and buy-in for assessments fromsenior executives and organizationalleadership§ Workforce core competencies (skills,knowledge, and attributes) for all jobroles have been defined§ Employees understand how assessmentsare conducted and interpreted§ Clearly defined process to assesscandidates and applicants§ Collaboration between HR and line ofbusiness management to ensure thatassessment content truly addressesbusiness needs§ Behavioral-based /personality typeassessments§ Skill-based assessments§ Critical thinking / cognitiveability assessments§ Multi-rater / 360-degreeassessments§ Competency modellibraries§ Competency gap analysistools§ Assessment / test buildingsoftware toolsSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010Best-in-Class StrategiesThe top strategy organizations are putting in to place to support assessmentsuccess is to define the criteria against which assessments will be made bybuilding a competency framework (Figure 3). Defining competencies iscritical for many talent management processes. Aberdeen’s June 2009 studyof Employee Performance Management showed that Best-in-Classorganizations are more than twice as likely to identify competency data(regarding skills, knowledge, attribute, behaviors) for each employee.Figure 3: Top Strategic Actions to Support Assessment Efforts 60% 44% 32% 53% 42% 34% 0% 20% 40% 60% Build a competency framew ork to assess against Align w orkforce w ith business objectives Identify gaps based on current w orkforce supply and anticipated needs percentage of respondents, n=264 Best­in­Class All OthersSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010"Leadership buy-in is essentialto implementing a successfulassessments strategy."~ Director, Leadership andOrganizational Development,Large Medical DevicesCompany
  • 10. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 9© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897The other top strategies of aligning the workforce and identifying gaps arevery interrelated with the idea of defining a set of success criteria. In orderto align the workforce with the objectives of the business, those objectivesmust be clearly communicated. And in order to identify gaps between thecurrent workforce and future needs, the forward looking objectives of thebusiness must also be clearly identified and communicated. The number onepressure in Aberdeens November 2009 research on CompetencyManagement found that the need to take a longer-term view of talent needsin light of marketplace changes was the number one pressure pushingorganizations to focus on defining competencies. Clearly, this idea ofdefining what success looks like from an organizational performance andcustomer-centric focus is critical to business success. Chapter Two of thisreport will look at some of the capabilities and tools that supportcompetency framework definition.Assessments are Making a DifferenceNo matter what type of assessments an organization is using, simply puttingthem in place can have a huge impact, not only on talent metrics like hiringmanager satisfaction and bench strength, but also on cost and profitability(Figure 4).Figure 4: Performance on Key Metrics 57% 21% 14% 10% 46% 12% 8% 4% 0% 20% 40% 60% Positions w ith ready and w illing successors Improvement in hiring manager satisfaction Improvement in cost per hire Change in profit per FTE percentage of respondents, n=417 Using Assessments Not Using AssessmentsSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010The case to be made for implementing assessments is a strong one based onthese results alone. But it is important to note that not all assessments, norall assessment efforts, are created equal. The capabilities put in place tosupport the use of assessments, interpret their output, and determine thetypes of assessments make a big difference. The organizations achieving themost from assessments efforts, those that have earned Aberdeens Best-in-Class performance designation, are achieving even greater results (Figure 5).By taking assessment efforts to the next level by implementing thecapabilities and enablers that characterize top performance, organizationscan add significantly to the organizational impact and business metrics.Fast FactsÖ 63% of organizationssurveyed use some kind ofemployee or candidateassessments, of thoseorganizations:Ö 55% use them both pre- andpost hireÖ 29% use them only pre-hireÖ 16% use them only post-hire
  • 11. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 10© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Figure 5: Performance on Key Metrics by Best-in-Class 19% 19% 23% ­3% ­6% ­2% 12% 9% 15% ­10%  0%  10%  20%  30% Change in profit per FTE Change in revenue per FTE Reduction in cost per hire Average Year­over­Year Change, n = 264 Best­in­Class Industry Average LaggardSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010Putting Assessments in the Right ContextAs mentioned, assessments have long been considered a tool used in hiringdecisions, and they are increasingly being used to address challengesthroughout the talent lifecycle. However, on a scale of how valuable varioususes of assessments are, the only use rated higher than a "4" by non-Best-in-Class organizations related to the pre-hire. Certainly Best-in-Classorganizations place a premium on the ability to find candidates most likelyto impact the organization positively. However, these top-performingcompanies are far more likely to value the use of assessments for alignmentand engagement purposes among current employees (Figure 6).Figure 6: Most Valuable Uses of Assessments 4.58  4.52 4.31 4.20 4.00 4.12 3.94 3.40 3.67 3.18 4.14 3.70 3.27 3.40 2.92 2.75 3.00 3.25 3.50 3.75 4.00 4.25 4.50 4.75 Identifying candidates likely to have the greatest impact Identifying competency gaps for individuals Identifying team fit and building teams Evaluating promotion readiness of employees Assigning team members based fit Percentage of respondents, n=264 Best­in­Class  Industry Average  LaggardRated on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 = most valuable and 1 = least valuableSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010"Success is contingent on a trueunderstanding of how to usethe assessment results. If wedont fully understand what theresults potentially indicate, itcould be used inaccurately tomake decisions, or providefalse confidence in decisionmaking because it is a test."~ Ross Selden, Manager ofGlobal Talent Practices, StarkeyLaboratories, Inc.
  • 12. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 11© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897And Best-in-Class organizations in particular are finding high value in usingassessments to assemble teams that will work together effectively to drive abusiness impact. Assessing for fit, in the pre- and post-hire is important todrive performance. Competencies also show up again here, with the abilityto identify, and eventually address, competency gaps as the second mostvaluable use. By understanding these gaps, and evaluating individualreadiness, organizations are also finding value in using assessments inpromotion decisions.These uses all look at various aspects of an individual, and its important toremember that different assessments have different purposes. Someevaluate for behaviors, some for working styles, some for skills. It isimportant to understand the context in which assessment results will beused when trying to determine which assessments should be used. One ofthe most predominant Best-in-Class capabilities, cited by 85% of Best-in-Class companies, is to ensure that employees understand how assessmentswill be used. Ensuring that the proper context is understood will help buildtrust and transparency into an assessments strategy. Assessments can onlybe beneficial if the organization trusts the results, and if users clearlyunderstand what those results really mean. Assessments are just one inputinto better talent decisions, but used correctly and in the right context theyare a powerful one.Chapter Two of this report will look in more detail at how organizationsare implementing assessments and the types of capabilities and technologiesthat are supporting these key strategies.Aberdeen Insights — StrategyAs organizations continue to expand the use of assessments to newpopulations and to achieve more organizational goals, it makes sense thatthey are formalizing assessment efforts. Over half (51%) of allorganizations surveyed report that they have a formal employeeassessment strategy with clear process definition, documentation ofassessment results, stakeholder buy-in and accountability across theorganization. In addition to formalizing assessment efforts, organizationsare also standardizing these efforts, with 48% of all respondents indicatingthat all candidates / employees are evaluated regularly against a standardset of criteria or competencies across all job roles. The research alsoindicates that Best-in-Class companies are more likely than IndustryAverage and Laggard companies on both fronts (Figure 7).continued
  • 13. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 12© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Aberdeen Insights — StrategyFigure 7: Formal and Standard Assessment Strategies 37% 63% 67% 56% 47% 38% 0% 25% 50% 75% Formal Assessment Strategy  Standardized Assessment Strategy percentage of respondents, n=264 Best­in­Class  Industry Average  LaggardSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010Perhaps it should come as no surprise that organizations with bothformal and standardized assessment strategies are twice as likely as allothers (Industry Average and Laggard companies combined) to haveachieved Aberdeens Best-in-Class designation for this research. Indeed,ensuring that the purpose and process of employee assessment isconsistent throughout the organization is an important performancedifferentiator.Best-in-Class organizations are also more likely to assess individuals inboth the pre-and post-hire across more job roles.Figure 8: Groups Assessed in Pre- and Post-hire 22%  21% 19% 35% 43% 40% 38% 18% 21% 24% 26% 15% 0% 25% 50% Individual contributors Front­line managers Mid­level managers Executives percentage of respondents, n=264 Best­in­Class  Industry Average  LaggardSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010continued
  • 14. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 13© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Aberdeen Insights — StrategyThis is consistent with Best-in-Class organizations focus on evaluating allemployees consistently, and against a clear set of agreed-to criteria. Thisconsistency is critical, both across job roles and across the talent lifecycle. This chapter has expounded upon the importance of a definedcompetency model against which to assess, and Aberdeens November2009 research on Competency Management also showed the importanceof consistent criteria across talent processes. In that research, companieswith a consistency competency model used for talent acquisition, learningand development, performance management and succession planningwere five times more likely than those without a consistent competencymodel to achieve Aberdeens Best-in-Class designation.
  • 15. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 14© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Chapter Two:Benchmarking Requirements for SuccessAssessments can play a critical role in managing organizational risk byensuring that the right people are hired, promoted and developed. And theycan also improve the allocation of time and resources by identifyingcompetency gaps, succession readiness and high-potential talent.Case Study — AREVAWith manufacturing facilities in 43 countries, and a sales network thatspans more than 100 countries, AREVA is the world’s largest supplier ofnuclear energy products and services, as well as energy management andenergy market systems. But even the most well-established and globallydiverse companies face new ventures as they settle in new localities. Thiswas the case for AREVA Resources Southern Africa (ARSA), with theestablishment of a new South African and Namibian mining operation – amove that brought its own unique workforce hurdles and opportunities.By using a thorough assessment process in the pre- and post-hire stages,ARSA was able to build a cohesive and effective new workforce fromboth existing employees and local talent.According to Lara Kenchington, Manager of Human ResourcesDevelopment, “We wanted a balanced talent profile of high potentialemployees and consistent performers to contribute to the success of theorganization.” This came down to recruitment. Because ARSA wasessentially starting anew on a local scale, they needed, over a very shortperiod of time, to fill critical positions within the organization, who notonly had the right technical skills and abilities, but fit well withorganization’s culture. In order to execute on this goal, they developedan assessments strategy that started with the characterization of rolesand drew upon AREVA’s competency and values model – each role wasgiven a grade that delineated its strategic importance to the organization,and each grade had its own set of competencies that were grounded inthe business and served as predictors of future success. A set of onlineassessments was then incorporated to test each candidate against thesecompetencies, including skills assessments, behavioral assessments, andmore in-depth critical thinking and problem solving assessments. Once anemployee completed this process, they would go through a series ofinterviews that aligned with the assessment report and linked to thesame exact set of competencies. This allowed ARSA to determinediscrepancies between a candidate’s answers in both stages. What theyfound, by comparing employee performance results with recruitmentprocess data, was that the assessments gave a much more accurate lookat the individual than the interviews.continuedFast FactsÖ 89% of Best-in-Classcompanies have clearlydefined workforce corecompetencies (includingskills, knowledge, andattributes) for all job roles,compared to just 48% of allothersÖ 74% of Best-in-Classorganizations make sure thata qualified professional isavailable to interpretassessment results (either onstaff, our throughpartnerships with solutionproviders), and are 37%more likely than Laggards todo so
  • 16. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 15© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Case Study — AREVAOf course, this strategy extended beyond just the hiring of newemployees. The company had to integrate previous employees who hadalready been working for ARSA and had been reassigned from theirprevious roles. This formed an ideal opportunity to re-evaluate theirplacement and career development. Employees underwent a uniqueassessment to identify areas of strength and areas of development andlearning ability, the outcome assisted with the formulation of adevelopment plan with the company. Meanwhile, potential employeeswere given a pre-hire assessment to inform proper placement and helpwith training and development. According to Kenchington, “By assessingpotential employees up front, we were able to identify gaps betweentheir competency makeup and their intended roles. This informationallowed us to make the correct placement decisions and place successfulcandidates in development programs to prepare them to contribute atthe required level.”Thanks to their assessments strategy, ARSA was able to make placementand development decisions that had a tremendous impact in achievingsuccessful launch of its South African and Namibian location. The visibleperformance improvements that followed helped these tools gainsignificant credibility throughout the greater organization. ARSAcurrently uses standard assessment methodology across both SouthAfrica and Namibia, informed by a scientifically based assessment matrix,and hopes to extend these practices to other countries in the ARSAplatform going forward, ensuring that assessment practices continuouslysupport the people development process.Competitive AssessmentAberdeen Group analyzed the aggregated metrics of surveyed companies todetermine whether their performance ranked as Best-in-Class, IndustryAverage, or Laggard. In addition to having common performance levels, eachclass also shared characteristics in five key categories: (1) process (theapproaches they take to execute daily operations); (2) organization(corporate focus and collaboration among stakeholders); (3) knowledgemanagement (contextualizing data and exposing it to key stakeholders);(4) technology (the selection of the appropriate tools and the effectivedeployment of those tools); and (5) performance management (theability of the organization to measure its results to improve its business).These characteristics (identified in Table 3) serve as a guideline for bestpractices, and correlate directly with Best-in-Class performance across thekey metrics.
  • 17. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 16© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Table 3: The Competitive FrameworkBest-in-Class Average LaggardsClearly defined process to assess new employees withinthe first year of employment76% 39% 27%Clearly defined process to assess employees who havebeen with the organization longer than one yearProcess70% 38% 35%Collaboration between HR and line of businessmanagement to ensure that assessment content trulyaddresses business needs81% 64% 68%Qualified professional (e.g. specialist or psychologist) isavailable to interpret assessment resultsOrganization74% 68% 54%Workforce core competencies (skills, knowledge, andattributes) for all job roles have been definedKnowledge89% 57% 35%Enablers used to support and execute assessments strategyTechnology§ 78% Skill-basedassessments§ 74% Criticalthinking /Cognitive abilityassessments§ 67% Multi-rater/ 360-degreeassessments§ 56%Competencymodel libraries§ 53%Competencygap analysistools§ 66% Skill-basedassessments§ 66% Criticalthinking /Cognitive abilityassessments§ 66% Multi-rater/ 360-degreeassessments§ 47%Competencymodel libraries§ 37%Competencygap analysistools§ 47% Skill-basedassessments§ 63% Criticalthinking /Cognitive abilityassessments§ 42% Multi-rater/ 360-degreeassessments§ 21%Competencymodel libraries§ 17%Competency gapanalysis toolsBusiness pain-points that assessments aim to address areidentified69% 40% 37%Impact of assessments on business metrics is reviewed atleast annuallyPerformance63% 44% 38%Source: Aberdeen Group, March 2010
  • 18. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 17© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Capabilities and EnablersBased on the findings of the Competitive Framework and interviews withend users, Aberdeen’s analysis of the Best-in-Class indicates that getting themost out of assessment efforts requires organizations to collaborate with allkey stakeholders and establish a consistent assessment process. Ensuringthat everyone understands who is assessed, how they are assessed, howassessment results should be used, and how they can impact performance,are critical steps to assessment success.ProcessWhen it comes to achieving success with assessment efforts, clarity andconsistency are key. Best-in-Class companies are nearly three times as likelyas Laggards to have a clear process to assess new employees during theirfirst year, and twice a likely to assess employees who have been with thecompany longer than 12 months. One reason this is so important is thatprevious Aberdeen research on Onboarding has indicated that agreeing toperformance expectations and development plans as part of the onboardingprocess is one of the top two most valuable activities to engage new hires.Assessments can play an important role in determining any competency gapsto be address via development plans, and can help establish a baseline ofperformance to be used in goal setting. Once an employee joins theorganization, top performing companies know that the use of assessments isjust beginning. Ongoing evaluation against performance criteria can be acompass for both individuals and their managers in guiding talent decisions.OrganizationIn order to execute on the strategy of ensuring alignment between theworkforce and business needs, organizations must collaborate around anassessment strategy. This is reflected by the fact that 89% of Best-in-Classcompanies indicate support and buy-in for assessments from seniorexecutives and organizational leadership. But when you look at taking that astep further and uncover the capabilities that truly differentiate Best-in-Classperformers, we see the need to contextualize the use of assessments withinthe business. Unless the organization is clear on what pain points they hopeto address with an assessment strategy, picking the right assessmentsolution is difficult. And this is supported by the fact that 81% of Best-in-Class companies indicate collaboration between HR and the line of businessin order to identify business needs that can be impacted by assessments.In addition, Best-in-Class organizations also see value in ensuring thatqualified personnel are available to help interpret the results of assessmentsproperly within the organization. Getting a numerical rating or a categoryclassification as a result of an assessment has no meaning. Only when thatresult is viewed through the lens of what the organizations needs are, thetypes of skills or behaviors that support organizational goals and culture, orthe needs and working style of a particular team are assessment results trulyvaluable. Nearly three quarters of Best-in-Class organizations make surethat people who can help provide this sort of interpretation and context are"For an assessment strategy totake off, it needs managementcommitment, competency leveldefinitions, valid and reliableassessment tools, and qualifiedassessors / interpreters."~ Lara Kenchington, Manager,HR Development /Organizational Development,Areva Resources, SouthernAfrica
  • 19. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 18© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897available (either on staff, our through partnerships with solution providers),and are 37% more likely than Laggards to do so.Knowledge ManagementThe ability for a company to have in place defined competencies for all jobroles shows up again and again as a key Best-in-Class differentiator acrossmyriad Aberdeen human capital management research reports. For withoutan understanding of what competencies a business requires, what basis isthere for the use of an assessment? Nearly nine in 10 (89%) of Best-in-Classcompanies indicate that they have clearly defined workforce corecompetencies (including skills, knowledge, and attributes) for all job roles,compared to just 48% of all others. When it comes to actually definingcompetencies, previous Aberdeen research on Competency Managementidentified three top sources for definitions.Figure 9: Top Sources of Competency Definitions 38% 33% 21% 0% 20% 40% Performance driven ­ based on the characteristics of current top performers Values driven ­ based on core organizational values shared by the organization Future focused ­ based on the needs of forw ard looking business strategy percent of respondents, n=206Source: Aberdeen Group, November 2009In addition to defining workforce competencies in general, Best-in-Classorganizations have also defined competencies specific to career paths. Sixty-three percent (63%) of Best-in-Class companies have this capability in place,and are three and a half times more likely to do so than Laggards. As notedin Chapter One, one of the most valuable uses of assessments identified wasto evaluate promotion readiness. Without a clear picture of what the nextstep on a career ladder looks like, these readiness decisions become muchmore difficult, and are more likely to be based on the wrong criteria.Assessment Tools and TechnologyBest-in-Class companies are using a wide variety of assessment types,including skill-based, behavioral-based, critical thinking, and multi-rater.These top performing companies are looking to get a more comprehensiveand multi-faceted picture of an individual to base talent decisions. And they
  • 20. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 19© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897are bringing these multiple views into a single comprehensive picture in arole-based or "whole person" approach. The majority of all organizations(61%) utilizing two or more assessment types indicate that they bundleassessments to create a single score or rating in this way.The other tools most widely adopted again focus on competencies -competency model libraries and gap analysis tools. The use of tools and / orservices that help define competency frameworks and help evaluate againstthose definitions can be an effective and less labor-intensive approach toestablishing this critical component of assessment success. In addition, gapanalysis is one of the biggest benefits of establishing a competencyframework and assessment strategy overall. By defining success criteria andidentifying where there are gaps within the organization, companies can putaction plans in place to bridge those gaps either through development orthrough the acquisition of employees with those critical skills, capabilitiesand knowledge.Performance ManagementJust as organizations must define employee success criteria in the form ofcompetencies to be assessed against, so too must they define successcriteria for assessment efforts overall. Top performing organizations definethe business metrics that assessment strategies aim to address, and theyalso review them more frequently. Best-in-Class companies are 66% morelikely to review the impact of assessment efforts on business metrics at leastannually. And, in those reviews, as Figure 10 shows, they are significantlymore likely to validate that impact with data.Figure 10: Measuring the Impact of Assessments on the Business 45% 20% 24% 14% 25% 42% 0% 25% 50% Yes, and it is validated through data Yes, but it is more of a gut feel No percentage of respondents, n=264 Best­in­Class All OthersSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010As organizations face ever increasing scrutiny to prove the value of everysingle activity, being able to validate, through data, the positive businessimpact of assessment efforts is critical to continued success. Not"Its important to have a clearunderstanding of businessneeds and accurate jobanalyses."~ Adrian LewisManager, Talent SystemsTiffany & Co.
  • 21. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 20© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897surprisingly, survey respondents in the line of business (i.e. not in HR ortalent management function) that can validate the impact of assessments are38% more likely to be satisfied with assessments strategy than others thatcannot validate that impact - 88% versus 64%.Aberdeen Insights — TechnologyWhereas organizations that are not the Best-in-Class place the highestvalue on price, the Best-in-Class do place the highest value onintegration. When it comes to evaluating assessment solutions andproviders, Aberdeen found that Best-in-Class organizations are mostlyconcerned about the solutions ability to integrate with existing systems.The data also found that a providers ability to work with the end-userorganization to build a business case and establish metrics or pain pointsis also a key factor in the decision making process.Figure 11: Solution Selection Criteria 44% 38% 35%  35% 37% 31% 24% 52% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Ability to integrate w ith other HR or talent management softw are Provider has experience w ith organizations of similar needs Ability to demonstrate business value by helping build a business case Price Percent of organizations, n =264 Best­in­Class  All OthersSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010Integrating assessments into other elements of talent management isanother key to success. Especially on the post-hire side, Best-in-Classorganizations are more likely to integrate assessments data withonboarding, performance management, succession, learning anddevelopment. In fact organizations that integrate assessments data withall five elements (Figure 12) are nearly three times as likely to achieveBest-in-Class performance as those that do not integrate with any.continued
  • 22. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 21© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Aberdeen Insights — TechnologyFigure 12: Integration with Talent Management Elements 85% 61% 74%  72% 79% 92% 56% 69% 38% 64% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Recruitment  Onboarding  Performance management Succession planning Learning Percent of organizations, n = 264 Best­in­Class  All OthersSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010
  • 23. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 22© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Chapter Three:Required ActionsWhether a company is trying to move its performance in the use ofassessments from Laggard to Industry Average, or Industry Average to Best-in-Class, the following actions will help spur the necessary performanceimprovements:Laggard Steps to Success· Build a competency framework. Only 35% of Laggardorganizations have defined a core competency framework (skills,knowledge, and attributes) for all job roles - compared to 89% ofthe Best-in-Class. A key strength of assessments are their ability tobe a tool that is used to identify the gap between the currentcompetencies of the individual (candidate or employee) and thoserequired to succeed in a certain role. The lack of a frameworkagainst which the organization can assess individuals hinders itscapability to make truly informed selection, placement andpromotion decisions.· Obtain stakeholder buy-in. Best-in-Class organizations are 22%more likely than Laggards to have executive leadership support andbuy-in from frontline and midlevel managers for assessments strategy.Laggard organizations must start with executive support for thestrategy, buy-in from midlevel and frontline managers for theprocess and the intended use of assessments, and ultimatelyemployee buy-in into these initiatives will be secured. When itcomes to any talent management initiatives, establishing metrics thataddress pain points at the highest level of the organization andproviding visibility to the individual contributors helps ensure thatthese programs are executed prolifically and effectively. Lastly, whenthis support is gained, collaboration between HR and line ofbusiness will become much more facile, and performancemanagement metrics for the initiatives will be more relevant to thebusiness - a critical step for establishing a business case.· Utilize skill-based assessments. Less than half of Laggardorganizations (47%) currently utilize skill-based assessments. Inorder to effectively develop employees through learning,organizations must determine the existing skill profile of anindividual. Skill-based assessments help define the profile of theindividual and, in turn, allow the organization to prescribe moretargeted learning. Currently, 78% of Best-in-Class organizationsutilize skill-based assessments and most of those (85%) extend thiscapability a step further by tailoring these assessments to specificjob roles.Fast FactsÖ 78% of Best-in-Classorganizations utilize skill-based assessments and 85%of those that do extend thiscapability a step further bytailoring these assessmentsto specific job roles
  • 24. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 23© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Industry Average Steps to Success· Clearly define a process to assess new employees withinthe first year of employment and beyond. Best-in-Classorganizations are twice as likely as Industry Average organizationsto have this capability in place. In the first year on the job, it iscrucial to assess employees at specific intervals to ensure alignmentwith competency development plans. Subsequently, this increasesnew hire engagement in the onboarding period and improves time-to-productivity. Moreover, only 38% of Industry Average companieshave defined a process to assess employees beyond the first year.This is critical for promotions and monitoring career progression.Ultimately, the key is to continuously make objective and educateddecisions at any point in the talent lifecycle.· Identify the business challenges and define metrics againstwhich the impact of assessments is measured. Only 40% ofIndustry Average organizations have clearly identified and assignedmetrics to the business pain points they aim to address viaassessments - compared to 69% of the Best-in-Class. In a time wheneveryone is scrutinizing budgets and spending, identifying areaswhere performance suffers is vital to build a business case. Forthose organizations that already have assessments in place, knowingwhere weaknesses lie enables them to define the metrics they mustmeasure to determine the success of the initiative and improve itwhere necessary. An organization must be able to definequantifiable performance indicators against which assessmentstrategies are evaluated. This enables them to determine the trueeffectiveness by setting a baseline of key performance indicators totrack after employee / candidate assessments are implemented.· Regularly measure the impact of assessments. From qualityof hire and recruitment costs to retention and productivity, Best-in-Class organizations are 43% more likely than the Industry Averageto have a formal process to measure the metrics they assigned toassessment initiatives at least annually. This helps improve thecontent and alignment of assessments to overall business objectives.It also enables Best-in-Class organizations to ensure that otherelements of the talent lifecycle are truly benefiting from the use ofassessments. Ultimately, this helps build and solidify a business casefor such initiatives.Best-in-Class Steps to Success· Tie assessment results to candidate sources. Eighty-sixpercent (86%) of Best-in-Class organizations currently useassessments pre-hire to make better recruiting decisions, and 80%use them to improve post-hire decisions. However, only 55%currently tie the results to candidate sources. Especially whenassessment data is used to identify high-performers and high-potential candidates, it is critical to have visibility into the source of"A good change managementand project managementprocess methodology is neededin rolling out a successfulassessments strategy."~ Joan Donner, HR Manager -Performance & Growth,Harley-Davidson MotorCompany
  • 25. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 24© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897these valuable employees. This will help organizations focus on theright recruitment channels and allocate budget and resources awayfrom the sources of poor candidates.· Integrate assessments data with the entire talent lifecycle.In the 2009 study, Assessments in Talent Management, and again inthis study (Figure 4), Aberdeens research established that usingassessments enables organizations to achieve tremendousperformance gains across several critical indicators. Nonetheless,only 30% of Best-in-Class organizations integrate assessments withall five elements of talent management highlighted in Figure 11 ofChapter Two (recruitment, onboarding, performance management,succession, and learning). Integration not only streamlinesworkflows - from a system standpoint, but it also ensures that thedata is used in all talent decisions. The ability to link these scores todevelopment programs, succession path, variable compensation,output and productivity empowers decision makers to makedefensible choices (legally or otherwise) when it comes to reducingrisk and sustaining growth, continuity and longevity.Figure 13: Impact of Integration on Key Metrics 86% 70% 65% 78% 56% 51% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% % of new  hires that stay w ith the organization beyond first year % of key positions w here at least one w illing and able successor has been identified % of employees that exceed performance expectations Average Current Measurement, n = 84 Integrate Assessments w ith ALL Five TM Areas  No IntegrationSource: Aberdeen Group, March 2010
  • 26. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 25© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Aberdeen Insights — SummaryOver the past two years, Aberdeen has surveyed and interviewed morethan 700 organizations about the use of assessments. The data has shownthe importance of assessments and provided a strong basis torecommend their adoption to any organization. However, whenconsidering a solution, organizations must customize assessments to fittheir specific business needs and integrate assessments with other talentmanagement systems and data. Start by working with the businessstakeholders to identify operational challenges and collaborate ondefining metrics and pain-points that assessment initiatives will address.Once these metrics are established, define a competency framework thatencompasses all job roles to successfully gauge against. Lastly, monitorthe impact of these initiatives on the organization by tracking the metricsthat have been agreed to by the business to continuously improve theprocess and update the content. This will create the alignment necessaryfor the individual to execute company strategy and achieve its businessobjectives.
  • 27. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 26© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Appendix A:Research MethodologyIn February and March of 2010, Aberdeen examined the use, theexperiences, and the intentions of more than 400 organizations regardingtheir assessment initiatives. The analysis focused on those that are currentlyusing assessments pre- and/or post-hire.Aberdeen supplemented this online survey effort with interviews with selectsurvey respondents, gathering additional information on their strategies,experiences, and results.Responding enterprises included the following:· Job title / function: The research sample included respondents withthe following job titles: senior management (CEO, COO, CFO,CIO, CTO, president) (14%); vice president (VP, SVP, EVP, Partner,Managing Director) (15%); director (17%); manager (28%); others(26%). In terms of functions in their respective organization, themajority of respondents (64%) were in human resources (includingrecruiting, talent management, training and organizationaldevelopment). Other functional areas and line of business managersconstituted 36% of the sample.· Industry: The research sample included respondents from a varietyof industries. Telecom, hi-tech and IT (including software, hardwareand services) combined for 15%. Insurance, finance and bankingrepresented 11%, government and education (11%), health andmedical service and devices (6%), and retail, wholesale andhospitality (5%).· Geography: The majority of respondents (75%) were from NorthAmerica. Remaining respondents were from Europe (10%), Asia-Pacific (10%), Middle East / Africa (4%), and Latin America (1%).· Company size: Twenty-seven percent (27%) of respondents werefrom large enterprises (annual revenues above US$1 billion); 34%were from mid-sized enterprises (annual revenues between $50million and $1 billion); 39% were from small businesses (annualrevenues less than $50 million.· Headcount: Thirty-nine percent (39%) of respondents had over2500 employees; 11% had between 1000 and 2500 employees; 17%had between 250 and 1000 employees; 33% of respondents camefrom companies with less than 250 employees.Study FocusResponding HR and line ofbusiness executives completedan online survey that includedquestions designed todetermine the following:Ö The impact of assessments, ifany, on key talentmanagement metricsÖ The processes and internalcapabilities that enable Best-in-Class maximize gainsÖ The types of assessmentsthat are being used to screencandidates and assesscurrent employeesThe study aimed to identifyemerging best practices forconducting assessments in thepre- and post-hire stages.Study FocusResponding HR and line ofbusiness executives completedan online survey that includedquestions designed todetermine the following:Ö The impact of assessments, ifany, on key talentmanagement metricsÖ The processes and internalcapabilities that enable Best-in-Class maximize gainsÖ The types of assessmentsthat are being used to screencandidates and assesscurrent employeesThe study aimed to identifyemerging best practices forconducting assessments in thepre- and post-hire stages.
  • 28. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 27© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Table 4: The PACE Framework KeyOverviewAberdeen applies a methodology to benchmark research that evaluates the business pressures, actions, capabilities,and enablers (PACE) that indicate corporate behavior in specific business processes. These terms are defined asfollows:Pressures — external forces that impact an organization’s market position, competitiveness, or businessoperations (e.g., economic, political and regulatory, technology, changing customer preferences, competitive)Actions — the strategic approaches that an organization takes in response to industry pressures (e.g., align thecorporate business model to leverage industry opportunities, such as product / service strategy, target markets,financial strategy, go-to-market, and sales strategy)Capabilities — the business process competencies required to execute corporate strategy (e.g., skilled people,brand, market positioning, viable products / services, ecosystem partners, financing)Enablers — the key functionality of technology solutions required to support the organization’s enabling businesspractices (e.g., development platform, applications, network connectivity, user interface, training and support,partner interfaces, data cleansing, and management)Source: Aberdeen Group, March 2010Table 5: The Competitive Framework KeyOverviewThe Aberdeen Competitive Framework defines enterprisesas falling into one of the following three levels of practicesand performance:Best-in-Class (20%) — Practices that are the bestcurrently being employed and are significantly superior tothe Industry Average, and result in the top industryperformance.Industry Average (50%) — Practices that represent theaverage or norm, and result in average industryperformance.Laggards (30%) — Practices that are significantly behindthe average of the industry, and result in below averageperformance.In the following categories:Process — What is the scope of processstandardization? What is the efficiency andeffectiveness of this process?Organization — How is your company currentlyorganized to manage and optimize this particularprocess?Knowledge — What visibility do you have into keydata and intelligence required to manage this process?Technology — What level of automation have youused to support this process? How is this automationintegrated and aligned?Performance — What do you measure? Howfrequently? What’s your actual performance?Source: Aberdeen Group, March 2010Table 6: The Relationship Between PACE and the Competitive FrameworkPACE and the Competitive Framework – How They InteractAberdeen research indicates that companies that identify the most influential pressures and take the mosttransformational and effective actions are most likely to achieve superior performance. The level of competitiveperformance that a company achieves is strongly determined by the PACE choices that they make and how well theyexecute those decisions.Source: Aberdeen Group, March 2010
  • 29. Talent Assessment Strategies: A Decision Guide for OrganizationalPerformancePage 28© 2010 Aberdeen Group. Telephone: 617 854 Fax: 617 723 7897Appendix B:Related Aberdeen ResearchRelated Aberdeen research that forms a companion or reference to thisreport includes:· Onboarding: The First Line of Engagement, February 2010· Integrated Talent Management, December 2009· Competency Management, November 2009· Talent Acquisition Strategies 2010, August 2009· Employee Performance Management, June 2009· Assessments in Talent Management, March 2009· Economic Outlook 2010, December 2009Information on these and any other Aberdeen publications can be found Mollie Lombardi, Research Analyst, Human Capital Management,( Saba, Senior Research Associate, Human Capital Management,( Since 1988, Aberdeens research has been helping corporations worldwide become Best­in­Class. Having benchmarked the performance of more than 644,000 companies, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to provide organizations with the facts that matter — the facts that enable companies to get ahead and drive results. Thats why our research is relied on by more than 2.2 million readers in over 40 countries, 90% of the Fortune 1,000, and 93% of the Technology 500. As a Harte­Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeens analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte­ Hanks (Information – Opportunity – Insight – Engagement – Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte­Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 723­7890, or to learn more about Harte­Hanks, call (800) 456­9748 or go to http://www.harte­ This document is the result of primary research performed by Aberdeen Group. Aberdeen Groups methodologies provide for objective fact­based research and represent the best analysis available at the time of publication. Unless otherwise noted, the entire contents of this publication are copyrighted by Aberdeen Group, Inc. and may not be reproduced, distributed, archived, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent by Aberdeen Group, Inc. (071309b)