To Asses or Not To Asses – That is the Question
Many organizations mull over the question of whether to use assessments. If an organization does decide to use assessments, now a Pandora’s box of questions beg for attention. Which assessment(s) should we use? How should we use them? Can assessments really give us any answers and provide solutions? Does one size fit all? How accurate can they be? Can we afford them? Etc., etc., etc. The good news is that these questions and concerns have relatively easy answers.
Expense: Everything comes with a cost. Cost can include the use of…and the cost for failing to use a product. (Oh, come on, you knew that was coming!) Psychometric assessments come in many flavors, colors, and sciences. An assessment can be relatively inexpensive and be valid and reliable. However, are you or anyone on your staff certified or even skilled at interpreting the data? One word in an assessment report can throw some people into a quandary because they misunderstand the context. On the other hand, an assessment can be more expensive, with a skilled or certified individual delivering it who can correctly interpret the data. On the other hand, a misinterpretation gains you nothing and may cause harm.
On the other side of the coin, expense is relative. Organizations must consider the cost of not utilizing these tools that enjoy a reputation of success. It’s hard to put a price tag on outcomes such as this: “When used effectively, [assessments] increase productivity, teamwork and communication, leading to a happier and more profitable business.” (Jones, 2016). By having staff on board who carry certifications in interpreting the assessments, you can save money, otherwise, you may want to strongly consider hiring a consultant who provides, administers, and carries certifications in interpreting the assessments as this may be well worth the expense. Another option is this same consultant who can certify people on your staff, help you set up your own assessment system, and then advises and consults on an as needed basis. This might be the best of both worlds.
Accuracy: Accuracy is a valid concern. There are assessments on the market, including some that have been around for years, with no scientific foundation in their creation – avoid these like the plague. Others may contain several sciences, but do you need all that science? It depends on what you are assessing.
There are some guidelines that can help you select a good product. When shopping for any assessment, ensure they are valid, reliable, and have a scientific foundation. The company producing the assessments should perform continuous research to help ensure accuracy. Demographics change and new scientific discoveries about the brain emerge providing important information about assessment reactions and predictions. One example, is the recent discovery that the human brain reacts more dramatically to something perceived as bad (avoidance) as opposed to something perceived as good.
Answers and Solutions: Assessments are not miracle tools and assessments are not an exact science. In addition, assessments are not the only tool to use for producing data. For example, in hiring, assessments are only one tool in your toolkit to attract, hire, and retain the best talent. Interviewing, background checks, drug and other testing are necessary additions to your tool box.
Above all, one size does not fit all. While Emotional Intelligence assessments are quite popular, they are not the right tool for hiring. The DISC Assessment is effective, but not for customer feedback, you would want to use a 3600 Assessment for that. Assessments designed for succession planning will not work for a sales evaluation. So, obtaining answers and solutions can only come when using the right instrument for the right job.
Graphic Credit: BigStock.com Copyright: Mangostar
Jones, M.B. (2016, September) Why Personality Assessments are Valuable and How to Use Them I the Workplace. Portland Community College.
Target Training International