How Can Psychometric Assessment Enable Development and Training of Talent?


In this article the Chief Commercial Officer of global assessment specialist Aon's Assessment Solutions looks at some of the key industry trends and explains how talent managers can harness assessments to get the most out of their people.

The Aon Assessment Barometer, which is an international survey of 2776 respondents from 37 countries monitoring trends in the use of psychometric assessment in HR, found that Irish organisations, together with organisations from Malaysia, Sweden and the Netherlands, use psychometrics in development more than organisations in other territories. Irish employers are doing this to better understand the strengths already in the organisation, to create clearer career paths for their employees and to support the culture that makes that company successful. But what does that mean exactly and what does that look like in businesses?

The world of psychometrics is constantly evolving, a few years ago online assessments were seen as an expensive means of reducing the risk of making a poor hire decision. Assessments were used towards the end of the recruitment process and the data from the assessments largely went unused after hires were made. Now, organisations are realising these assessments can add much more value. We are seeing the assessments deployed a lot earlier in the recruitment process with companies using them to give candidates more information on the role they are applying for and provide feedback not only on candidate’s suitability for the role but also their strengths and development areas. The fact that many large organisations now have talent management systems also means the assessment data gathered pre-hire can be better used to create training plans and link employees with roles that become available in the organisation in the future.

Don’t mention the fish

Sometimes better assessment upfront, even in a fun yet realistic way, can cut failure rates further down the road. One example from a recent client project showed that using Realistic Job Previews showing real on the job situations, applicants could decide for themselves whether or not they wanted to be doing exactly the job in question – with all its facets including, in this case, handling fresh fish! Ensuring that there are no surprises for applicants further down the road means they engage in the process and the employer… and are more likely to complete the training programme. On a hard metrics note, recent work with Siemens, the biggest apprentice trainer in Germany, pre-qualification aptitude testing and interest profiling reduced the apprentice drop-out rate by 7%, saving an approximate 12m Euro.

All you need is…

…already on your payroll? Another trend we are seeing is that organisations are using online assessments increasingly to identify and earmark internal talent for development and promotion. For example, we have built an internal assessment for Dubai Duty Free (DDF) that assesses the strengths, interests and behaviour of their 7,000 staff at Dubai airport. Supporting DDFs internal advancement principles, individuals can then be automatically identified and matched with future jobs that become available which might suit them. This is very much in line with another trend we are seeing, and driving: a more user-centric approach. What does this mean? It raises a range of questions such as Who owns the data? Who is assessing and which information should be available to which parties?

Are we all on the same song sheet?

We also see organisations driving culture change through the use of assessments, particularly 360 degree feedback processes. Either after a merger or to retain a competitive position, companies want to move in a certain direction. PwC uses an online 360 degree feedback process to drive a culture of open and honest feedback upwards as well as down the ranks within the business. Vodafone in Romania, post-merger, used 360 degree feedback process to initiate discussions about desirable culture and behaviours and then to assess existing managers against these. All these assessments are increasingly being conducted away from a desk, on a tablet or on a mobile.

Any time, any place.

Companies looking to engage with candidates and internal talent through their tablet and mobile devices where and when the talent wants to engage. But it isn’t quite as simple as that. Going mobile with tests, particularly high stake tests where someone’s work future can be shaped by the results, needs to be done with care. We have transferred our assessments from Flash to HTML5 so they can be completed through tablets or mobile phones. While there are huge advantages to candidates completing over these devices there are also potential pitfalls. For example some ability tests may be unsuitable for smartphone screens as they have too much information to display. They may work perfectly well on tablets that offer a bigger screen. It’s therefore important to specify which devices candidates can use for each test. With younger generations now opting for these devices instead of traditional desktops or laptops this is certainly something that is only going to become more prevalent.

About the Author

Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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