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Advice Guide on going global with AC\'s and DC\'s

Advice Guide on going global with AC\'s and DC\'s

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  • 1. The A&DC Thought Leadership Series Going Global International Considerations for Assessing Talent
  • 2. Going Global International Considerations for Assessing TalentIntroductionOrganizations are having to consider how they can become truly global entities, as gone are the dayswhen they could afford to operate as a series of independent multi-national locations. This change hasinevitably led to an increasing desire to assess talent on a global scale. Fuelled by this globalmarketplace and the willingness of individuals to relocate, it is becoming increasingly complex to fairlyand accurately select for roles.Organizations frequently ask us:• How do I fairly and accurately assess Talent to work in my country or in another country?• How do I fairly and accurately assess Talent for Global positions, eg those individuals who have to work across various markets?Increasingly organizations are finding that they can achieve their global talent goals of fairly andaccurately assessing by using Assessment Center methodology. This paper will discuss some of thereasons why Assessment Center (AC) methodology is so powerful for global assessment, and some ofthe cultural considerations for the design and implementation of successful global ACs.Why use Assessment Center Methodology for Global Selection and Development1. Communicating organizational strategies. ACs can be a useful way of communicating an organization’s strategies internally and externally, eg business simulations recreate the strategies of the hiring organization.2. Creating /Promoting organizational culture or culture change. Business simulations can include the values of the organization and the Assessor marking guide can incorporate what acceptable behavior looks like in that particular organization, eg if a company wants people to take more calculated risks this can be designed and assessed in the simulation.3. PR and promoting the employer brand in the marketplace. If Candidates have a bad experience during the recruitment process they tell a lot of people, some of whom could be your potential customers. So you should make sure your process represents your business positively as even unsuccessful Candidates can be advocates of your brand.© 2010 The A&DC Group V1 03/10 Page 1 of 7
  • 3. 4. Predictive validity – Arthur et al in 2003, looked at the validity of AC Dimensions and found a mean estimated correlation across six major Dimensions of behavior of 0.36, with correlations for individual Dimensions between 0.39 and 0.25. They looked at a regression-based composite of AC Dimensions (different to an overall AC rating) and found a multiple correlation of 0.45 with performance.5. Robust/Legally defensible when designed properly. Terpstra et al. (1999) found that ACs were infrequently challenged, especially in comparison to their usage. Hough and Oswold (2000) found ACs to have low adverse impact. This is a critical factor for countries like the US and UK that are becoming increasingly litigious.6. Realistic job preview (face validity). ACs offer Candidates an insight into the job role so they can self select in or out of the process. Most organizations have long since recognized that selection is a two way process and as we come out of recession this increases in importance if your organization wants to secure the ‘Top Talent’.7. Perceived fairness. Research has found that Candidates perceive ACs to be fairer than personality tests during selection. Candidate perceptions of a fair process are found to affect commitment and various citizenship behaviors. This also means they are less likely to appeal the selection process or decision.8. Engagement and the impact of the psychological contract. Employees who have a strong psychological contract with their organization are more likely to go the extra mile and be loyal. An AC is the perfect opportunity for Candidates to demonstrate interpersonal sensitivity, informativeness and two way communication, all of which predict formation of a relational psychological contract.9. Recognized global approach and growing in popularity. Numerous studies show that AC methodology is growing internationally. There are 50,000 ACs operational worldwide. Fifty four of the Fortune 500 organizations were sampled by Eurich, Krause, Cigularov and Thornton in 2009 and of these, 93% were using ACs.10. Behavioral and human approach. ACs provide the opportunity to see what people actually do and say in work-related situations rather than relying on self-reported behavior as in traditional interviews. This also means the chances of cheating are significantly reduced.11. Flexible and integrate well with other tools. An AC must include business simulations but it can also include a structured interview and psychometric tests, therefore making it a versatile methodology. Combining multiple methodologies further increases predictive validity.12. Modern, innovative and adaptable. For example, Centers can be run by a computer based program such as an Inbox, where each person has their own ‘office’ and computer to work on; day in the life suites; telephone roleplay; video conferencing; multiple roleplays, etc.13. Providing information on strengths and development areas for future personal development. AC methodology enables organizations to capture rich data about an individual’s behavior. This evidence can then be used in a feedback session with individuals to help them develop. Organizations also use this methodology to identify trends, for example, team/organization strengths and development areas.14. Fewer security issues than with online testing. As ACs are generally face-to-face, there is a reduced risk of personal information being intercepted or identity impersonation or theft.Perhaps most importantly ROI figures for ACs have been reported as high as 300% in the privatesector (Joiner, 2004). At a time when HR is having to prove its worth more than ever, these argumentsare compelling.© 2010 The A&DC Group V1 03/10 Page 2 of 7
  • 4. Key Considerations When Designing and Implementing an International ACDefining SuccessFirstly your organizational strategy and people strategy need to be aligned – What are your objectives?This is important as it will help you establish internal and external commitment and influence the designof your assessment process and the clarity of communication going forward. If you are designing anAC to identify talent in another country you will need to take local advice. Different countries havedifferent local laws and policies such as data protection laws and protected groups. For example,sexual orientation is not protected as a sub-group in Latvia but it is in Luxemburg.Once you have defined what success of the assessment project will look like, you also need to definewhat success in the target role looks like. This scoping or job analysis phase is critical to the successof the Center and its legal defensibility. Speaking to people working in the target role and their linemanagers enables you to identify what Competencies/Dimensions (knowledge, skills and attitudes) arerequired to be successful in the role and the most frequently occurring situations in which jobincumbents find themselves, eg working in groups, one-to-one or alone. This is the data you use todesign your AC and the way the Competencies/Dimensions will be assessed. This makes certain thatthe process is distinguishing between the individuals based on the Competencies/Dimensions requiredto be successful within the job role, rather than individual subjective perspectives, which will beinformed by their own culture and background.If the role does not involve significant numerical reasoning and you include a numerical reasoning testonly to screen out large numbers of Candidates, you run the risk of losing talented individuals andleaving yourself open to claims of adverse impact.For example, if you are trying to identify global talents who can function across different markets andthis requires them to speak business-level English with colleagues and customers, you could use anEnglish language test to screen applicants before they attend the AC. Another requirement for this typeof global talent may be ‘Openness to Change’ or ‘Flexibility’, if they are required to adapt to variouscultures. It is important that the Competencies/Dimensions and related behavioral indicators arereviewed by diverse subject matter experts rather than defined by a homogenous group within theorganization, which runs the risk of being driven by one set of cultural values.For example effective management styles differ across countries (Trompanaars 1993). A Competencylike ‘Effective Communication’ can be defined very differently in terms of eye contact, handmovements/gestures across cultures. Therefore if you are assessing Talents to work in a particularcountry and culture, you need to ensure you have recreated that culture in your AC design so that youdo not negatively assess someone for demonstrating their own cultural way of achieving the goal.The Eurich, Krause, Cigularov and Thornton 2009 study found the most popular competencies tomeasure in the US are Communication, Problem Solving, Planning and Organizing, Influencing Others,Consideration of Others and Drive. Arthur et al 2003 also found the top three account for 20% ofvariance in job performance. The same top three were also found to be the most popularCompetencies globally in A&DC’s global research questionnaire 2008. The names of theseCompetencies may be recognized and translated all over the world; however their exact definitions willinevitably vary from culture to culture.© 2010 The A&DC Group V1 03/10 Page 3 of 7
  • 5. The most popular global business simulations are Roleplays, Presentations, In-Baskets and AnalysisExercises. Group Discussions are not as popular for global assessments, potentially due to differingcultural reactions to this situation. For example, in collectivist cultures such as Japan, effectivenessdepends on getting the group to perform, whereas in individualistic cultures such as the US,effectiveness depends upon personal excellence. An untrained Assessor may incorrectly perceive thisbehavior from a Japanese Candidate as being overly collaborative and an American Candidate as notbeing a team player! However using a Group Discussion in a global Development Center can providerich feedback for Candidates about how they could adapt their behavior depending on the othercultures taking part in business meetings.Interviews are of course the most popular form of assessment with Organizations and Candidates.However, as these rely on self-report rather than the observation of actual behaviors, these are notbusiness simulations but are still valid components of ACs when structured and well designed.Assembling the TeamThere are many people involved in ACs and all need careful consideration. You need diversestakeholders championing the project and hopefully you have involved them from the beginning in orderto define success. Do your Project Managers, Designers, Reviewers, Center Manager, Assessors,Administrators and Roleplayers have knowledge of the relevant cultures attending your AC? Ideally therelevant cultures will be represented in the project team so they can share their experience. Yourinternational designers and reviewers can then ensure your exercises avoid jargon, metaphors andcolloquialisms. A&DC often sets its exercises in a fictional country so that no geographical knowledgeand assumptions are required. Research suggests there has been an increased use of HRpractitioners and Psychologists in the delivery of Centers, as numbers of middle managers inorganizations have been reduced.Creating and Communicating the PlanCommunication is another critical area, as carefully setting the expectations of those involved,particularly the Candidates, increases the chances of long term success. Do you have a clearly definedpolicy statement that you can share with Candidates covering information such as the objectives of theCenter, the types of exercises, data storage principles and tips for preparation? Honesty is crucial; aDevelopment Center for developmental purposes is very different to an Assessment Center for joblosses or redeployment. Openness relates to comprehensive laws about employees rights topersonnel practices and increased perceptions of fairness and transparency increases accuracy. If youare designing a Center where materials will need to be translated into various languages ensure youhave researched reputable companies and left enough time for translations to be reviewed.Ensuring Assessment EffectivenessThis is an area that many organizations omit from the process and in some countries this does not havelegal implications, however in the US this is a highly valued part of assessment design. In order tothoroughly review your Center, a Pilot Center should be run with a similar population to the targetpopulation. This allows the materials to be reviewed by Candidates and Assessors, the tools to bevalidated and adverse impact checks to be carried out. If you are using a psychometric test as part ofyour Center, is it related to the target role and have you asked about validity, reliability and adverseimpact? A pilot Center is also the perfect time for newly trained Assessors to practice their new skills.© 2010 The A&DC Group V1 03/10 Page 4 of 7
  • 6. TrainingAll Assessors should be trained in the process of behavioral observation (ORCE) and the exercisesbeing used in the Center. Assessor Training is where the team agree their understanding of thecompetencies and benchmarks, and Assessors learn about bias, stereotyping and cultural sensitivity. Ifyou are using Roleplays, you will need to run Roleplayer Training so that they are also effective in theculture you are operating in and do not compromise the integrity of the process.In certain religions, devout males will avoid eye contact with women who are not part of their familywhich might be construed negatively as part of their communication and relationship building behaviors.In this case, you would have to use Roleplayers of the same sex so that the Candidate feelscomfortable. It is also important when training and briefing your Roleplayers to be clear on the type ofphrases and language they can and can not use.There may be a situation where you are training international Assessors, so ensure you allow 2 to 3days for Assessor Training if Assessors are learning and working in a language that is not their mothertongue.Cultural considerations are also important when working with your Assessor team, for example somecultures keep to time more than others, eg Germany is rule-oriented, whereas Thai culture is morerelaxed about the time. In some cultures it is acceptable to eat while you work but for example Frenchculture still values a proper meal break. Training international Assessors together helps them to learnfrom each other and develops understanding, eg regarding Candidate output, there are differingstandards of what is acceptable in different countries, eg in China, Thailand and South East Asia, briefresponses in note form are more acceptable when replying to an email, than in Western Culture.Running the CenterWhen designing and running your Center there are a number of timetable considerations that youshould consider. Have you ensured you are avoiding religious days to run your Center? Does yourtimetable allow for flexibility for prayer time? If you have Candidates coming from all over the world areyou offering diverse foods? Candidates should have received clear communications before the day ofthe Center, however due to potentially differing expectations it is important to provide a clear overviewof the day, what the exercises are and how they will be assessed. Its also more important than ever toprovide clear, detailed instructions for each exercise being administered to make clear the expectationsof the Candidate; as well as time to clarify concerns or queries. Before the Center, Candidates shouldbe asked if they need any reasonable accommodations made, eg a partially sighted individual mayrequest a larger print font be used.Ensure there is time for Assessors to do their individual work and discuss cultural differences with theassessing team. If you are managing the Center, be aware of the cultural dynamics within theAssessor discussion, do all Assessors have the opportunity to express their perception of theevidence? Feedback is an important component of a well run Center but you need to be aware thatindividuals will react differently and cultures may have certain expectations, eg the US may be moreopen to individualized feedback however in Japan this may be problematic. Research has found that inthe EU feedback is provided after an AC more often than in the US. Best practice advises that directsupervisors should not see results in selection situations due to privacy issues, however forDevelopment Centers Line Manager involvement in the feedback process can be beneficial. If youhave assessed Candidates in a different country to where they currently work have you providedsupport on their return? Their Line Manager or Local HR should help them translate the feedback intolocal culture, context, their role and support development opportunities.© 2010 The A&DC Group V1 03/10 Page 5 of 7
  • 7. Evaluating Success in Order to Maintain and EnhanceAlthough the rest of the world does not currently require the same validation levels as the US, it makesbusiness sense to understand the success of a process you have spent time and money designing andimplementing. For example, anonymous Candidate and Assessor feedback can be collected to helporganizations with continuous improvement. Are you monitoring for equal opportunities?These variables should be monitored and checked by HR using the four-fifths rule or other statisticalanalysis for signs of adverse impact.We all know that things are moving at a faster and faster pace; organizations and job roles changequickly so your Center should be reviewed regularly to ensure it remains effective at assessing Talent.ConclusionAssessment Center methodology is a versatile and powerful tool for assessment or development butneeds to be used with care and consideration to ensure assessments are directly relevant to the targetjob role and culture. Working with colleagues who are from the culture you are assessing in will helpyou ensure the effectiveness of your Centers. The challenge for organizations is to achieve their globalstrategies by harmonizing differences between cultures while preserving their individual strengths.Regardless of where in the world you are designing and running your Centers there are some bestpractice guidelines you should be aware of to ensure the smooth running of your Centers. Aspect Best Practice says… The ratio of Assessors to Participants should be at least 1:2, ideally 1:1 An Assessor should ideally assess each Participant only once. All Assessors should be trained in the Behavioral Assessment Process, eg Assessors ORCE. Assessors should be at least one level more senior than the target role. At least double the number of required Assessors should be trained to ensure coverage and flexibility. Generally between 4 and 12 Participants should attend an Assessment Center. Participants Participants should be briefed on what will be expected of them prior to the event, and again at the actual event. Between 6 – 8 competencies should be assessed at a Center. Competencies A competency should be measured at least twice, ideally 3 times at a Center. A minimal number of exercises should be used at a Center, but no less than 2 Exercises and preferably 3 or more. Each exercise should assess between 4 – 6 competencies. Each Center should have a Center Manager to quality check and coordinate the event. Center Manager Each Wash-up session should be chaired by a Center Manager. All Roleplayers should be trained and familiar with the exercise(s) they will be Roleplayers using.© 2010 The A&DC Group V1 03/10 Page 6 of 7
  • 8. ReferencesArthur, W. A., Jr., Day, E. A., McNelly, T. L., & Edens, P. S. (2003). A meta-analysis of the criterion-related validity of Assessment Center Dimensions. Personnel Psychology, 56, 125–149.Ballantyne, I.& Povah, N. (2004). Assessment and Development Centers. Aldershot: Gower.Cascio, W. F., Jacobs, R. and Silva, J. 2010. Validity, Utility, and Adverse Impact: Practical ApplicationsFrom 30 Years of Data. In Adverse Impact: Implications for Organizational Staffing and High StakesSelection, ed. J.L. Outtz, 271–288. NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.Dunleavy, E., and Gutman, A. 2009. Fasten your seatbelts: Supreme Court to hear Ricci v. Destefano.The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 46, 4, 31-43.Eurich T.L. et al (2009). Assessment Centers: Current Practices in the United States. J Bus Psychol,24, 387-407.Gutman, A., and Dunleavy, E. 2009. The Supreme Court Ruling in Ricci v. Destefano. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 47, 2, 57-71.Hough, L. M and Oswald, F.L. (2000). Personnel selection: Looking toward the future-remembering thepast. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 631-664.International Task Force on AC Guidelines 2008. Guidelines and Ethical Considerations forAssessment Centre Operations. International Journal of Selection and Assessment. 17, 3, 243-253.www.assessmentcenters.org/articles.aspJoiner, D. A. (2004). Assessment center trends: Assessment center issues and resulting trends. Paperpresented at the 28th annual meeting of IPMAAC, Seattle, WashingtonKrause, D. E., and Thornton 111, G. C. 2008. International Perspectives on Current AssessmentCentre Practices and Future Challenges. In Assessment Centers: Unlocking Potential for Growth, ed.S. Schlebusch and G. Roodt, 285–300. South Africa: Knowres Publishing (Pty) Ltd.Povah, N. & Povah, L. (2009). Succeeding at Assessment Centers For Dummies. Chichester: Wiley.Price, R. and Patterson, F. 2003. On-line Application Forms: Psychological Impact on Applicants andImplications for Recruiters. Selection and Development Review, 19, 2, April.Terpstra, D. E., Mohamed, A. A., and Kethley, R. B. 1999. An Analysis of Federal Court CasesInvolving Nine Selection Devices. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 7, 1, 26-34.Trompenaars, A. (1993). Riding the waves of culture: Understanding diversity in global business. NewYork: Irwin.© 2010 The A&DC Group V1 03/10 Page 7 of 7
  • 9. About Assessment and Development Consultants Inc (A&DC)We are a leading international HR consultancy that specializes in delivering excellencethrough employee selection, development and engagement. We provide intelligent talentmanagement solutions that help organizations to align their people strategy with businessstrategy.Discover the right peopleAssessing and selecting talent for all levels of your businessTransform business behaviorsIdentifying and developing current and future Managers and LeadersEnergize for peak performanceImproving performance through enhancing motivation and engagementBased in the US and UK, we also operate globally through our Consulting team andprofessional partners, enabling us to deliver A&DC talent management solutions to clientsthroughout the world.For more of our resources and downloads visit http://www.adc.us.comAssessment & Development Consultants Inc (A&DC)Telephone 866-651-1791 Email: info@adc.us.com Web: www.adc.us.com© 2010 a trademark of The V1 GroupA&DC is The A&DC Group A&DC03/10 Limited Page 8 of 7All rights reserved