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Workforce analytics: 10 questions to cut through the complexity of assessments

Ask any leader what makes an employee a success and you’re likely to get responses such as:

  • Team player
  • Poise under pressure
  • Responsiveness
  • Persistence
  • Adaptability
  • Initiative

Now ask yourself: What do these have in common? They’re all personality characteristics.

Finding and keeping the best talent today hinges on identifying those key talent characteristics that lead to employees performing successfully. Today, up to 70% of organizations (up from 30 – 40% just five years ago) are using assessments to measure skills, behaviors, cognitive ability and other workforce data that predict and influence employee success (Bersin) and 75% of best-in-class organizations directly attribute changes in revenue or profitability to their assessment strategies (Aberdeen 2013).

But with so many assessments to consider, it can be challenging to identify the right solution that will deliver real results for your environment and circumstances. To help cut through this complexity, we’ve put together a list of 10 questions that will help you choose the assessment that’s best suited for your needs and business.

Assessment tools make the difference between gut-feel-based hiring and employee development, and having concrete data to guide the critical decisions about employees and potential employees. But not every assessment is right for every environment and circumstance. Below are the 10 key questions to consider when selecting an assessment solution.

  1. How will the data be used? Each type of assessment addresses specific aspects of an individual. Behavior assessments reveal data about people in their work environments, and personality assessments ascertain people’s personality types. Decide which type of information would be most valuable to your organization.
  2. Is the data reliable? Are people’s scores consistent and repeatable over time? Does the assessment effectively predict important workplace behaviors that drive metrics such as sales, customer satisfaction and turnover?
  3. What is the pricing model? Each assessment is priced differently: they can be subscription-based or pay-per-user. Determine what you’ll be using the assessment for and the number of employees who will be using it to help you choose which pricing model is best for you.
  4. How long does it take to complete? Assessments vary in length from six to 60 minutes (and sometimes more) to complete. Consider your employees’ and potential employees’ time when evaluating different options. Data accuracy and reliability does not correspond to the length of the test.
  5. How is the data gathered? Tests can be either free choice or forced choice. Free choice means that the test takers select only what they feel applies to them, while forced choice gives a set number of answers and the testers are required to pick one. Evaluate which format gives you the most useful and relevant data.
  6. How are the assessment results presented? Results of assessments can either be written in the form of a report or a more visual graphic, where data is presented in a quick snapshot that can be interpreted immediately. Some assessments have a combination of the two. Decide whether access to the underlying assessment data helps you apply insights more broadly in your organization and how your reviewers will best process assessment information.
  7. What level of support is required? Tests can be administered by someone certified within your organization or by the test company. Determine if the ability to administer and interpret test results within your company is a better fit for you or if it makes more sense to work with an outside firm. Also confirm that there’s ongoing support from the test vendor and that the company understands your business challenges.
  8. Is the assessment global? If you have a global workforce, it’s important to be able to administer the test in an employee’s native language and have analyst support within your area. Verify that the assessments and results are available in all relevant languages.
  9. Can the data be used with groups and teams? In addition to providing data about individual employees, some assessments can also give insights into group dynamics, which can be used to address group conflicts and evaluate performance vis-à- vis other groups. If group analysis is important, make sure the data is available for that use.
  10. Is the assessment EEOC compliant? Standards organizations, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), provide compliance guidelines for different aspects of assessments. Ensure that the solution you choose is free of bias with respect to the respondent’s age, gender or ethnic group.



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