An assessment center is considered properly conducted and organized if it meets the seven main rules:
Several competencies of an employee or candidate are evaluated at once. For this, the assessors need to make a list of criteria and indicators for their analysis.
2+ employee assessment methods are used. To make the results as close to reality as possible, it is necessary to use several tools, methods, and technologies to analyze competencies at once.
Four to six people are involved. This number allows people to analyze teamwork and look at the actions of employees in a competitive environment. Sometimes an assessment center can be held for one person. The maximum recommended number of participants in an assessment center is 12, if there are more, it will be difficult for the assessors to follow the actions of all participants. Also, in a large group, it will be more difficult for candidates or employees to express themselves.
Multiple assessors conduct the evaluation. This eliminates a subjective evaluation of a person. For example, an employee can remind the observer of an unpleasant acquaintance, or in the first stage they show an unacceptable result - then such facts can subconsciously affect the evaluation, even if the assessor is trying to be as objective as possible.
Only trained specialists can be evaluators. An observer can be a manager, psychologist, HR-manager, recruiter, supervisor, colleague, but they must first undergo a training session.
Tasks and exercises are selected according to the goals of the company. Define your objectives for which you are conducting an assessment, and only then select and develop objectives and exercises.
Relevant tasks are a must. All simulations and exercises must be directly related to the activities and responsibilities of the employee. There is no need to create abstract situations that the employee will never encounter.
Originally, the assessment center technology was used only for the selection and evaluation of military specialists and in 1956 the method was first used by psychologists to analyze the competences of 422 junior managers. After that it was adapted to the needs of business, and now it is widely used by various companies for such tasks:
Finding candidates. The assessment center is a versatile way to understand what kind of professional you have in front of you. Assessment center tools clearly show how a person will act and behave in a particular work situation. Accordingly, by hiring only the best people, you will reduce the number of layoffs and, therefore, the company's resources.
Providing quality feedback. The assessment center applies not only at the first stage of the employee's life cycle, but also at during career growth and development. If an employee is denied a promotion they will have more understanding and acceptance:
a) When the supervisor explains their decision to refuse promotion
b) the refusal is supported by the data of the assessment center with indications of what qualities are worth strengthening
Option "b" allows you to avoid misunderstanding, hidden aggression, and most importantly shows in what direction the employee needs to develop.
Creating a talent pool. The assessment center allows you to consider talent and understand which employees may be promoted in the near future.
Planning the career of an employee/team. The assessment center will show which competencies are developed and which are not. Based on this data, you can make a development and training plan for a particular specialist or an entire team.
Determining the effectiveness of training. The assessment center is also carried out after the training of a team of employees. According to its results, it becomes clear how effective the courses and trainings were.
Rocking out HR-specialists. Participation in the assessment center helps HR managers and recruiters better understand what competencies your company needs and how to properly assess them.
Has your company decided to implement an assessment center? Congratulations, it's the right decision. You have two options:
Contact organizations that specialize in this technology and delegate them to do the assessment from A to Z;
Develop and conduct the assessment center yourself or with outside experts.
The assessment center is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. On average, the implementation of technology in your company will take 4 months and will consist of the following stages:
Defining the task of the assessment center. From the outset, you need to understand what you are evaluating for: Candidate recruitment, promotion, employee development, etc.
Distribution of a memorandum - A document in which you inform all participants about the objectives of the assessment center.
Analysis: Definition of criteria for assessment and selection of tools:
interview on motivation;
individual skills exercises.
Determining the content of the assessment center: Program, training for assessors, choice of location and time.
Conducting a test assessment center: After refinement.
When the preparatory phase is complete, it's time to act. The participants of the assessment center are placed at the designated location at the designated time. A "facilitator" often leads the process and oversees the rules, while assessors oversee the entire process. They watch, describe and evaluate how participants behave during tasks.
The assessment center can last from a couple of hours to several days. And only when participants have solved all tasks, participated in all cases and exercises, only then will the assessors fit the results for each participant in the discussion and form a report with scores, recommendations, characteristics, etc. Afterwards the participants are personally provided with detailed feedback, which may include recommendations and a development plan.
One of its offshoots is the development center, a method that evaluates an employee of a given company (not an external candidate) regarding a future position. The main purpose of the development center is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the participant and provide him/her with detailed feedback that will encourage and push the employee to self-development and growth within the given company.
The assessment center is a complex but strategically important process. It allows the company to understand what human resources it possesses in order to predict and plan for the future of the organization as a whole and each employee in particular.