Assessment - then what?

I can't help noticing the increasing number of assessment tools on the market that aim at continuing personal development for employees. Companies, trainers and HR departments have to make careful decisions about the appraisal and profiling systems, since they are expensive to organise, time consuming to undertake and, without ongoing commitment, often of short-term impact.

Many of my business clients have undergone Myers Briggs personality questionnaires or Belbin profiling analyses to determine whether they are for example, teamworkers, specialists or "plants." They may have been defined in training sessions as 'A' type stress generators who tend to have drive, be competitive and feel easily pressured and out of control; or 'B' type stress absorbers who are more placid and internally more relaxed. (Guess which group go more to their doctors with high blood pressure and back problems?) They might even have completed clever and well-designed psychometric tests or completed the highly informative on-line 360° feedback forms.

Well, are you beginning to get the picture? Assessments are carried out, people are categorised and defined and - THEN WHAT? I ask my clients, "what did you do with the information?" Often it just gets discussed for half an hour with an employer, colleague or HR person, and is then filed away, forever! People can feel labelled and judged but not know how to move forward. A colleague in a Cambridge-based company that specialises in providing online performance tools to the training market is adamant that one-to-one feedback with a qualified facilitator is an essential part of the process. The company strongly encourages facilitators to work with candidates in developing a personal action plan from the assessment outcomes. This way, for example, the 'A' types can be coached to become calmer and get things into perspective while the 'B' types can be energised and encouraged to challenge themselves. Thus, "the true value of the feedback process can be gained and long term personal and business benefits derived."




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