4 Techniques for Assessing Human Capital
As our clients increasingly want to assess and benchmark their human capital, we get called in to deploy a variety of techniques.
- Interviews or Structured Interviews:
Probably the most popular process, largely because interviews are informal and many executives are confident of their ability to glean the essential qualities of a person. A lack of formality can lead to inconsistency in questioning, and we advise to streamline the interview questions for multiple interviewers so that a clear aggregation of reviewers opinions is possible, enabling a balanced decision on each individual. Structured interviews may cause a candidate, either intentionally or subconsciously, to orchestrate responses, leaving open the question of what his or her true personality would dictate.
- Ability tests:
Mature organisations with a history of growing their own management resources internally have long used ability tests. Every potential employee is assessed using an aptitude test linked to the relevant industry sector, and throughout his or her career they are tested for evidence of ability to advance. These tests are highly predictive, but do not give any indication on the personality and management style of an individual in a business environment.
An example of a personality matrix, based on a personality questionnaire
- Personality Questionnaires / Psychometric Tests:
All of the above inevitably leads towards wanting a concise understanding of candidates' personality profiles. Traditional personality questionnaires however, have largely grown as a tool to develop rather than accurately assess people.
Traditional techniques ask normative questions about how the individual views himself versus (his idea of) the norm. Consequently, they are not predictive enough. More modern techniques use an ipsative approach: each time the respondent answers a question, he is forced to choose a response that characterises what he is most like or one that characterises what he is least like. The ability to manipulate or stage a personality is reduced. The norm to which an individual is compared is a substantial, objective database of similar respondents. Such tests can be performed interactively in one 45 minute interactive session on a secure website. Responses are used to characterise personality in different dimensions or categories, broadly describing relationships with people, thinking style and feelings and emotions. The results can be used to predict leadership and reporting styles, and how they fit against a desired model. Psychometric test results need to be verified by trained interviewers.
- 360-degree checks:
The proof of how a professional actually behaves or is perceived by others is verified by confidential short and structured interviews with people managers, direct reports, peers and business associates. These short interviews are documented in verbatim form.
A combination of the above techniques, the resultant reports and our conclusions, which include a benchmarking with the industry norm, provide our clients with highly valuable information on their human capital. We are usually asked to assist in developing a plan to improve the overall performance of the organisation based on the assessment results.
Our expert Consultants have years of hands-on management experience in the technology sector, and are geared to providing our clients with the most advanced assessment tools, relevant analysis and useful recommendations. Most of our consultants are certified in the Birkman and SHL assessment methodologies. While SHL is one of the leading tools for assessing personalities 'as is', Birkman allows us to dig deeper in the needs and stress behaviour of people. This can offer unique insights and added value in executive coaching or career development exercises.
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