How to Manage Employee Performance Using an Assessment Centre

Business success is not achieved by merely drawing up a solid business strategy or possessing the right material resources. A critical component in driving the achievement of organisational goals of the employees.

The human factor—people are the most important piece in the puzzle that improving the results a company posts presents. And people do not refer to average employees who only do what is required or the rank and file of the organisation.

The right employees who have the requisite skills, abilities, and competencies to perform optimally in their role are the ones capable of taking the business where it needs to go.

Confronting the employee performance challenge

As competition intensifies and internal and external factors heap pressure on organisations, management must adapt to changes in the marketplace in order to improve the performance of their people and gain a competitive edge.

To achieve this, they cannot afford to rest on their oars, knowing that complacency may lead to a downward spiral towards failure.

While ramping up people performance is by no means an easy task, with the right measure of emphasis and deliberate effort to effect change, it is possible.

Managing employee performance does not necessarily translate to a radical departure from the way things are done, rather, it refers to a gradual change that is introduced by conducting a competency-based central test that assesses the performance of the employees.

Turning to assessment centres

One of the tried and tested ways to transform employee performance and the result is through the introduction of an assessment centre.

The current employee performance threshold is measured and evaluated through a series of tests and exercises. Through assessments, organisations gain insight into how their people’s skills and behaviours align with the organisation’s strategic goals.

Assessment centres employ a variety of selection methods in a bid to accurately assess the performance level of each employee. Through exercises such as Psychometric Tests, Role Play, Interviews, Group Exercise, and Presentations, Learning and Talent/HR Managers are able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of every employee in the organisation.

Setting up an assessment centre

Establishing an assessment centre must be a deliberate and well thought through a process that considers the following:

  • Purpose and culture of organisation: In deploying performance management assessment to drive employee productivity, business leaders need to examine the culture of the organisation. What has improved employee performance in the past? Identifying this will help you pinpoint what your people place value on and how they can plug any of these into their employee value proposition.
  • Fairness: The purpose of an assessment centre is defeated if employees are not going to be taken through the same tests. Fairness in the process is what helps you determine the best fit for each role.
  • Job role: What kind of role are you looking to fill? What are the skills and competencies required to excel in the role? An understanding of this will enable you to design the specific assessments for employees who could potentially fill the role.
  • Strategy: Of utmost importance is the alignment of the business’ current performance management with its goals. An organisation may underperform if the metrics or Key Performance Indicators used to assess employee performance are not the right ones.
  • Employees’ attitude to learning: Are the majority of your employees apathetic to learning? If so, your assessment centre should be designed to boost employee motivation to learn.

Workplace Assessment can take the form of personality or competency assessment.

Aberdeen Group named the identification of high potential employees as one of the uses of assessments in organisations.

Assessments can be regarded as talent development weapons that can be employed to achieve one or more of the following:

  • Boost employee motivation
  • Promote leadership development
  • Enhance teamwork
  • Aid succession planning

With the right assessment, decision makers within the organisation are equipped to put the right people in the right roles.

An effective assessment should measure 3 critical elements to success in any job:

  • Competence: Is the employee demonstrating the capability to execute his job function effectively?
  • Work Ethics: Does the employee have the right attitude to work?
  • Emotional Intelligence: Does the employee possess the maturity to lead?

In the end, whether organisations are assessing for competence or behaviour, employee performance will be transformed only when assessments are designed to predict the likelihood of performance on the job.

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