A Comprehensive Approach to Assessments: Data, Dynamics and Decisions

Assessments are invaluable instruments as part of any company’s talent evaluation and recruiting process.  Additionally, they may be used effectively as part of career development and retention programs for organizations.

However, developing (or rebuilding) a viable assessment program is hard work.  The process of determining recipients (your target audience) may take weeks or months.  Selecting the appropriate tool, as well as the execution (both testing and feedback to [an] employee[s]), is even more critical.  

With this premise in mind, we will explore with a set of “3D” lenses: Data, Decisions and Dynamics.  All three legs of this stool are important:  the science and statistics (data), the assessment rationale and company culture/environment (dynamics), and the reality of execution and long-term viability (decisions).

A Comprehensive Approach to Assessments: Data, Dynamics and DecisionsLet us begin with perspectives around data and statistics.

Organizations have many choices for assessment options.  Kurt Hulett, Ed.D, advocates a “methodical, careful, and cautious approach” as companies develop their programs.  Dr. Hullet’s belief is that a chosen assessment provider must offer the following:  compelling scientific evidence, a dedicated research & development (R&D) team, along with a global reach and a well-established longevity of operations (20 years or greater).  See the following link for more information: http://bit.ly/13rP7fO

According to Tracey Power, EVP, Human Resources and Shared Services with Comdata, Inc., the selected talent assessment tool must be “repeatable and reliable to be a valid assessment.”  Of similar thought, Dr. Hullett believes that the selected tool should be reliable, valid, accurate, and precise.  Additionally, Power advocates a powerful, data-centric instrument “that has been vetted statistically to increase the accuracy of measurement, as well as add value to your conversation.”

A Comprehensive Approach to Assessments: Data, Dynamics and DecisionsNow, what about the current dynamics, both in terms of environment and talent approach (acquisition and management)?

Every company has a unique set of goals, objectives, and culture.  When assessing team dynamics, be sure to include all staff (managers and employees).  Ensure that individuals are receptive to the feedback they receive. “Make sure the individual has bought into the need and the process,” states Power.

Most organizations believe that assessments aid leaders in making more accurate selection/hiring decisions, identify employee skill gaps, and assist in team development to drive long-term company growth.  Additionally, individual assessments are helpful in aiding employees in career development goals that are realistic and are increasing self-awareness.  (For additional insights on a multi-faceted approach on assessing talent, see Kim Lamoureux, August 31, 2010, http://bit.ly/1v9oEu8.)

The process of growing organizations is dynamic; your plan of action should be as well. 

Once you have results in hand, whether for a team, a department, or an individual staff member, you must develop, brief, and implement a plan.  Set your employees up for success.  Power advocates the selection of one, two, or a maximum of three areas for improvement.  Specific goals, along with measurable steps, will ensure leader and employee communication, commitment, and success!

With a new year almost upon us, there is no better time to revitalize your company’s existing assessment program or to begin the process of developing a new one.  Good luck and we hope our thoughts around a “3D” approach will benefit you, your teams, and your entire organization for years to come.

Martin is the leader of Career Partners International - Nashville. He has over 11 years of Human Capital expertise, with a significant focus in Search, Consulting and Outplacement. His education includes a B.S. in Economics from West Point and an MBA in International Business from Tennessee Tech University. Martin has a distinguished Army career (11 years and counting, both Active and Reserve) and is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom. His passions include his family and organizations supporting the military.

Career Partners International provides top quality talent management services to organizations of all sizes. Their offices around the world help assessengagedevelop, and transition talent in any industry. To find out more about Career Partners International and how you can maximize your organizational performance, reach out to an office near you or contact us today!

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  1. Patricia Leonard's avatar
    Patricia Leonard
    | Permalink
    The marriage between the marketplace candidate and the corporate business world has become more than a simple 'I DO'. While no amount of interviewing, assessing and developing guarantee a 'live happily ever after' outcome; it offers a chance for the relationship to to be viewed from a partnering standpoint. Through a '3-D' lens view, Martin, has outlined the importance of assessment, in a company's talent evaluation and recruiting processes, as a key factor of a successful marriage contract. Great read!

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