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How Talent Assessments Can Improve Talent Management

Posted On10/14/2019

ContributorKaila Prins

By Lisala Peery

Here’s the scenario: You must find the best-fitting talent for an open position. You receive a referral from an industry colleague for a candidate who is a rising star in the field. After some vetting, and a great interview, you fill the position and onboarding begins. Because you are extremely busy, you oversee training and trust they will be on their way, helping the company prosper.

After a few weeks, it’s clear that the new hire’s performance is a little less stellar than expected. You find yourself repeating instructions and explanations. While their work is okay, they don’t seem to be catching on to the culture as quickly as expected, and it’s causing you to take more time out of your week to address than you planned. Would a talent assessment have helped?

Why Talent Assessments?

A bad hire can cost up to 30 percent of their annual salary, according to the Department of Labor.  Assessments save time and money in the long run by screening for people who fit the company’s needs and culture.  Employers use assessments to help identify which candidates will fit well into the company and whether the company can help the candidate reach their career goals.

Assessments help spot coachability, common sense, knowledge, experience, and even personality and work style. These tests are based on hiring and retention case studies that analyze employee data. Evaluations are typically highly-advanced screenings, ranging from in-person interviews to computer-based or online tests, to virtual reality simulators and gamified assessments.

What Makes For An Effective Talent Assessment?

An effective talent assessment should start by stating the company goals and values. Do you know what the company needs? Do you know what the role requires? Being crystal clear here will help your candidates have a positive interviewing experience and offer insight into how to adapt to your management style and company culture. Keep your objectives top-of-mind during the assessment and improve the process for evaluating current personnel and assessing new hires and making sure they align with the short- and long-term goals that matter most to your company. Then, create a well-written job description and posting to attract candidates who are already a great fit.

Another powerful assessment tool is the phone interview, according to Mike Smith, VP of Sales & Marketing for Sirius Instrumentation and Controls. With the right questions, the phone interview can determine if a candidate is worth the expense of assessing. “We use two to three interviews per candidate before deciding to do an assessment,” Smith said. Referrals offer insights into how someone has performed, indicating how they most likely will perform going forward. Smith also advises to not discount your gut instinct about a candidate, saying he weighs his gut instinct as one-fifth of the evaluation. Another benefit of using assessments over time is that your gut instinct becomes more accurate.

Implementing Assessments through a Talent Management System

Once the hire is on board, ongoing assessments can be made through a talent management system (TMS). Make sure the entire workforce understands the company goals and objectives and their role in making sure the objectives are met. A good TMS is designed to use hard data and metrics to assess workforce quality. This tool is useful for setting realistic recruitment and training objectives and incentives. A good TMS also ensures that top talent is cultivated and rises within the company, while those who underperform are disciplined (while making sure they understand the goals they should be meeting). Department managers can access the TMS to keep track of employee progress, making it easy to quantify the basis for promotions and raises. Skill gaps and completed training are measured, and real-time reports are easily accessible. Keep your workforce engaged and thriving by:

    1. Providing objective feedback often, showing that the company is vested in its success.
    2. Removing vagueness from the role description to set clear objectives and give talent room to grow with the company.
    3. Rotating top talent throughout the company. As they learn and work in each department, they gain a better sense of how what they are working on effects the rest of the company, allowing them to make better decisions. They will also make better C-Level talent because they have this global perspective.
    4. Examining offerings in terms of rewards, recognition, time off, and compensation medical and retirement benefits. Is what you’re offering competitive enough?
    5. Paying attention to attitude or workflow shifts and squash any conflicts as quickly as possible.
    6. Keeping communication open and current, so nobody feels like the rug was suddenly pulled out from underneath them when company initiatives shift.
    7. Remain competitive in the marketplace. Stay on top of – or ahead of – customer needs and in line with shifts in your industry.

These last three items are crucial for morale and encouraging continued high-performance. High performers tend to connect with other high-performers. When your employees discuss your company, they can become unofficial ambassadors. By sharing their positive experiences, they can attract even more desirable talent to the company. Now let’s say your company seems to be doing all of these things but is still struggling with finding or cultivating the desired talent. What then? Dan Spaulding, Chief People Officer of Zillow, would say it’s probably time to look outside your organization for assistance. One such place to look is to a staffing agency, who can help you find the right talent for each of your open reqs.

Once you’ve created and created your objectives and strategy, communicate your goals to your teams, assessed and evaluated your data, you have set your workforce up for success. It’s time to implement everything you’ve learned and experience growth.

Ultimately, assessments improve performance and reduce costs and quickly identify great candidates. So if you’re company finds itself with too many Negative Neds and Nancys, or if you want to attract and cultivate certain values among the workforce, talent assessments will help you build and retain the teams that keep your company competitive and successful.

No time for talent assessments during the hiring process? Let Nelson help. We can assess candidates before their resume ever lands on your desk. Learn more or get in touch today.