Aventus Knowledge Series Assessment Centres


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Aventus Knowledge Series Assessment Centres

  1. 1. Assessment/ Development Centres -Key Implementation learnings Aventus Partners
  2. 2. Overview In India the number of organizations that are organizations and the employees involved in using Assessment /Development centres these centres. (AC/DC) is on the rise. These centres are being run to help both the organisation This note drawing on our individual and the employees determine their experience of having been involved in over proficiency levels on key organizational / 100 centres details out the steps that managerial competencies .The outputs are organisations should take while designing being used for a variety of purposes and running Assessment centres. including individual development initiatives. We have kept the theoretical underpinnings There have been mixed experiences for out of the ambit of this note and have focused only on the practical issues. Definition of the competency Model and acceptance of the same across the organization T he competency model is invariably the basis for the conduct of the centres. Most organizations involve senior leadership and a set of high performers in • only when line leaders championing the model. The competency model typically start the process of creation of the model. encounters cynicism as well as However a large section of the organization objection when positioned as an HR is unaware of the model and its parameters. strategy/ tool. It is only when There is typically cynicism on its relevance employees see the connection as well as contents. Some of these concerns between the competencies/ are valid as it has a direct impact on an behaviours and organization success employee’s professional life. /personal success do they begin to appreciate the relevance. Address them through the following means: • One needs to be realistic. The first round of communication meeting is • Communication workshops that are only the starter. There needs to be conducted through the organization. periodic reinforcement through This had to be conducted by the line incorporation in periodic performance leaders and not the HR personnel or reviews. the external consultants. The latter can at best act as facilitators of the • Send the model to all the participants process, but true buy in happens sufficiently well before the centre for familiarization. In addition always start the centre with a presentation Aventus Partners 1|Page
  3. 3. on the competency model, and have any questions/concerns that the an interactive discussion addressing participants might have. Design of the Assessment tools/Exercises and the tool competency Matrix T his normally throws up the following questions opportunity and flexibility to demonstrate behaviours consistently. • The number of tools to be used; All tools should be given equal weight age to keep the process of understanding and • The variety/ range of tools that are to linkages simple. Using differing weightages be used; to balance out for the strength of individual • Weightage to each tool; tools is also sometimes practiced. • Relevance of the tools to the Assessor Selection and Training: There educational background and are two categories of assessors: Internal orientation of the employees; and external. Assessment centres which have as its primary purpose promotion • The duration of the centre. recommendations should rely on external We have seen that a set of 6-7 activities assessors whereas those that have other over a 2 day centre is the optimal number development and organizational change while assessing 8-9 competencies This objectives can rely on internal assessors or typically includes tools like, Behavioural have a mix of both. Event Interviews, case studies (Business analysis /situational analysis) depending on Assessors need to have a basic the participant profile, Group activities (with understanding of the roles assessed and the the group size ranging from 4-6), role plays industry but technical expertise on the (Both assessor led as well as participant led) industry is not a ‘must have’ What is of and self analysis tools. importance here is the skill of the assessor to observe and spot behaviours when they Each tool should measure 2-4 are exhibited during the activities, record competencies. The exact number is to be them in real time, correlate them to the determined based on the time allotted for the competency model and rate them. They also activity and the range of Competencies and need the ability to articulate the same behaviours that the tool allows the clearly, when holding discussions with other participant to demonstrate. Also ensure that assessors and providing feedback. each competency is measured at the minimum by two activities and a maximum of Assessor training can vary from 1- 5 days 4 activities. depending on the experience and skill level of the group. Irrespective of the experience We have found more success with unlinked of the assessors in having conducted past exercises, i.e. those where each exercise in assessments one should insist on at least a its context and content is not related to the two day workshop for assessors before start other. This gives the participants sufficient of any engagement. Aventus Partners 2| P a g e
  4. 4. In addition to familiarization on the addition do not assume that they can enact competency model, tools to be used, rating the role plays without rehearsals. Live scales, logistics schedule etc, this process rehearsals are a must. should ensure commonality of understanding of the behaviours and the rating scales across all the assessors. When assessors are required to be involved in the role plays ensure that they are trained on the dos and don’ts of their roles. In Centre Planning and Conduct of centre n assessment centre is a logistically in) throws the schedule out of gear. A complex activity that involves 4 sets of variables: Contingency planning is critical accommodate one more or one less and one to • The participants, needs to have two alternate scenario plans ready. As a rule accommodate changes only • The assessors, in extreme cases and do not permit more than one variation. The strain that this puts • The set of competencies to be on the process should not be assessed, and underestimated. • The tools and the activities that are to be used to assess A typical 2 day centre has 12-15 participants and 4-5 assessors. One also needs to The participant is the key customer of the ensure that each participant is seen by as centre and all activities are to be conducted many assessors as possible (typically 3 -4) giving him sufficient scope and space for during the centre. demonstration of the competencies. The role of the administrators in ensuring Use the following two methods to ensure it: that the participants and the assessors focus A strong team of centre administrators on their core roles of performing and (Typically 3 people: If you use an external observing is critical. consultant, one from the consultant organization and two from within the The administrators handle all the logistics, organization) who are given full authority and are time keepers. One need to and responsibility for smooth conduct of the appreciate that spill over of any one activity centre. All the other people including the has a cascade effect on the whole group. assessors are to follow their instructions and They also ensure that the support facilities, ensure discipline is maintained. adequate rooms, stationery, food and refreshments, aids for activities, are all in Centre scheduling: The schedule is to be place. Given the sensitivity of the process made basis the 4 variables detailed above. and their perceive impact on the careers of A variation of even one of these elements participants the need to conduct the same in (Lets say 1 participant not turning up at the a professional manner is important. last minute or one additional request to join Aventus Partners 3|Page
  5. 5. During the centre the assessors handle the conducted to discuss each participant, entire participant briefing before, during and demonstration of competencies and collate after each activity. As a practice insist that ratings. Differences which invariably surface all assessment sheets for the particular are to be discussed with supporting activity are completed by the assessors behaviours and a consensus reached. One immediately after the activity, and they are of the assessors has to take responsibility not allowed to accumulate that for a later for this process. Assessors are also to be point in the day. The schedules need to allotted participants that they would be provide slots for the same. This is to ensure giving feedback to at the end of the process. that there is no data capture loss. The assessor then owns the participant and the process of allotment of the participant to In addition a detailed ‘Wash-up’ session the assessor is a key determinant on the involving all the assessors and lasting 1-3 perceived success of the process. hours at the end of the day is to be Feedback and Reporting T his is the proof of the pudding as far as the participant is concerned. Though feedback can be rendered either • Present the facts as they are without any sugar coating. Do not let the participant get a surprise later when immediately at the end of the centre or after he sees the report. a few days, giving sufficient time for preparation of detailed reports, and • Do not promise more than what you deliberations and thought while finalizing can deliver in terms of next steps. development plans, is important. A few • Do not be defensive of the process things that we insist on doing in either or the results. scenario are. • Relatively junior assessors should • No feedback is to be shared with the not render feedback until they are participants until the wash ups are comfortable rendering them under conclusively completed by the different circumstances. assessors. • Ensure a post feedback debriefing • The person, who has conducted the happens involving all the assessors face to face Behavioural Event to discuss any cases of concern. Interview, shall necessarily render the feedback. If there are major • Last but not the least, remember that discrepancies in activity performance the process is seen as having a and interview scores he should be major impact on one’s career, and accompanied by a fellow assessor therefore should be with the care who has seen the participant in the and attention it deserves. maximum number of activities. Aventus Partners 4|Page
  6. 6. Aventus Partners is an HR solutions firm that enables clients Acquire, Develop and Manage talent. E- mail: sriram@aventus.in venkat.Iyer@aventus.in tania.gooptu@aventus.in Offices: Aventus Partners 40/48, Ground Floor, Pocket 40 EPDP Road, CR Park, New Delhi-110019 Phone +91 11 40561242-45 Fax +91 11 40561241 Aventus Partners 919, 2nd Stage, Varthur Main Road, Tubrahalli, Bangalore- 560 066 Phone +91 80 3253 7215, +91 80 2854 3089 Aventus Partners Personal Chamber, Natham’s House, Chittoor Road, Cochin- 682035 Phone: +91 484 3248780 AVENTUS PARTNERS www.aventus.in New Delhi | Kochi | Bangalore