- By Kaleb Embaugh
Hiring and keeping quality employees is a constant challenge for HR departments in organizations large and small. At times, it can seem like a subjective shot in the dark. What seems like a good candidate to one hiring manager can turn out to be an ill fit for the role, creating tension, turnover, and lower levels of productivity.
Employee assessments provide a clear, objective way to measure the kind of people who can achieve success in specific roles. What many organizations don’t realize is that even after assessments are put into place, it’s a best practice to go back, re-evaluate, and validate those assessments to make sure they’re working effectively. This is why assessment maintenance is key.
1. Assessment Maintenance Is Necessary
Validation is the process of establishing the link between performance on a specific job assessment and performance in that role. There are three primary reasons for an organization to validate its assessments. First and most importantly: if an assessment has been validated, HR and leadership can be confident in its effectiveness. Assessments that are working well result in hiring and keeping better employees.
This brings us to the second reason why assessment validation is crucial. This type of analysis helps show the rest of the organization why assessments are valuable. By showing the objective value of HR tools like employee assessments, HR proves its worth as a strategic partner.
Finally, validated assessments help establish legal defensibility. The validation process provides objective evidence that the organization is using an assessment that is appropriate for the role and is not treating candidates unfairly.
2. Annual Assessment Upkeep
How often should an organization validate their assessments? Revisiting them once a year is ideal. Because assessments aren’t “set it and forget it,” it’s important to consistently revisit, maintain, and update them.
Validating assessments should be considered an investment. If an organization invests the time and money to establish assessment processes in the first place, it’s worthwhile to maintain and update them. This will help ensure that the assessment is relevant, fair, and using a system that will result in real-world performance improvements.
3. Shifting With the Tide
Some may wonder why assessments would need to change once they’ve been carefully established. The reality is that jobs and organizations aren’t static. They change — and because of this, what predicts success in various roles is subject to change. Just as an organization may need to flex or change its priorities in order to stay relevant in the market, an assessment may need to do the same in order to measure what makes someone successful in a particular role in that market.
During the initial assessment, an organization starts from scratch in defining what it takes for someone to be stronger or more successful in a particular role. When that same assessment is revisited a year later, HR will look at assessment scores and employee performance to see if the former is predictive of the latter. They’ll ask themselves: is the organizational culture the same? Is the job description the same? Are the expectations the same? Is the target market the same? By answering these questions, the assessment can be improved to reflect any changes in the organization or role.
4. Redefining Benchmarks
Sometimes, changes in an organization are intentional and obvious. For instance, an assessment for call center employees may look at customer service-oriented individuals who are courteous and proactive about problem-solving. Should the organization have a shift in resources that requires them to also start processing payments, the assessment should shift as well. While being friendly, personable, and empathetic were helpful in the initial call center role, the shift now requires employees to be able to work with a sense of urgency and have a degree of emotional separation from customers who are unable to pay their bills.
Other organizational shifts can be more subtle. Perhaps an organization starts out small and each employee works on individual projects and takes care of their own responsibilities. As the organization grows, however, employees may need to interact across previously-drawn lines and collaborate with others in order to be effective. A benchmark should reflect these shifts in order for the results to stay valid.
5. Customized Tools to Build a Better Organization
Assessments aren’t one-size-fits-all and neither is validating those assessments. PRADCO realizes that while it’s a simple endeavor to say how things should be done, in reality, it’s often more difficult to follow through on those processes. This is especially true when an organization has limited resources.
That’s why PRADCO provides our clients with tools to get the necessary data that will make assessments successful. Perhaps there is no HR staff available to pull performance metrics for analysis. If this is the case, it may be helpful to bring a group of employees together to do a focus group. It can also be helpful to send out questionnaires to management staff and have them rate employees to determine how to predict success in specific roles based on assessment scores.
The results of tailoring and adhering to an assessment program (or failing to do so) are obvious. One organization using PRADCO assessments has seen improvements in nearly every metric, from a 20 percent improvement in quality to a 13 percent improvement in methodology. Another organization, upon revisiting their call center assessments, discovered that people were being hired who didn’t perform well on the assessment. The result was an estimated loss of 271 hours of productivity that year. Consistently validating assessments can be the difference between an organization finding the best candidates and boosting their bottom line or continuing to struggle with constant turnover and low productivity.
At PRADCO, we have the experience, drive, and tools to be your partner in hiring and developing talent. We’ll take the time to learn about your organization and customize solutions for you. We’re ready to help you hire and promote with confidence. If you’re ready to get started, let’s talk.