Employee assessments are a critical tool every organization should use to improve performance. Studies show that top talent can increase productivity by up to eight times.
Unfortunately, due to a global talent shortage, recruiting top performers is challenging. According to a Korn Ferry report, there is a shortage of 85 million people when it comes to talent. Around 77% of employers say they are having difficulty finding qualified candidates for jobs they need to fill.
Employee assessments help managers evaluate employees’ abilities, identify gaps in skills or knowledge, and guide targeted training and development. Implementing a solid workforce development strategy with the right employee assessment tools can lead to a more engaged, productive workforce.
Why Assess Employees?
Regularly assessing employees is beneficial because it can:
- Identify Top Performers: Employee assessments help you single out your star employees. You can then consider them for promotions, leadership roles, and other growth opportunities within the organization.
- Pinpoint Training Needs: Employee assessment tools help you to identify skill and knowledge gaps among your staff. You can tailor training initiatives to address these specific gaps. Focused training is more likely to get results than a blanket approach.
- Provide Feedback for Improvement: Performance appraisals provide a formal opportunity for managers to give feedback on strengths and areas for growth. This feedback sets clear expectations and gives employees insight into where they stand and what they need to do to grow their careers.
- Assist in Goal Setting: The employee assessment process helps you set goals for the upcoming review period. Goals should align with organizational objectives and address development areas identified in the assessment.
- Help Make Salary and Rewards Decisions: Documentation from performance assessments justifies compensation, bonus, and reward decisions, ensuring these decisions are fair and objective.
Types of Employee Assessment Tools
You’ll find various employee assessment tools that help you evaluate employees’ performance and abilities:
- Performance Appraisals: These assessments measure how well employees are meeting their job responsibilities and established goals. Appraisals are typically conducted annually.
- 360-Degree Feedback: This approach gathers perspectives on an employee’s performance from various people they work with, such as peers, direct reports, managers, and customers.
- Knowledge Tests: These measure an employee’s technical or functional expertise related to their role. They may be conducted before or after training to gauge progress.
- Work Samples: Evaluating an employee’s work product can provide insight into their abilities. For example, reviewing a salesperson’s recent pitches.
- Psychological Assessments: Personality, cognitive skills, and emotional intelligence tests predict on-the-job behaviors and performance.
- Skills Assessments: Observing employees as they perform critical tasks enables you to evaluate skill level. For example, you could ask customer service representatives to handle sample calls.
Best Practices for Employee Assessments
Follow these best practices to ensure your assessment processes are effective and fair:
- Use Multiple Assessment Tools: Using a variety of techniques provides a more complete picture of employees’ capabilities.
- Customize for Roles: Employee assessments should be tailored to a given role’s most vital skills and duties. For example, the criteria for a salesperson will differ from that of an accountant.
- Make it Ongoing: Periodically assessing employees is more valuable than just the standard annual review. Make it part of your performance management culture.
- Train Assessors: Managers conducting employee assessments should understand best practices. Consistency across assessors ensures fairness.
- Give Adequate Notice: Employees need time to prepare for skills demonstrations, tests, and other assessments.
- Establish Standards: Use rating scales and define proficiency levels so assessments are uniform. Outline what constitutes exceptional, average, or poor performance.
- Communicate Results: Employees need transparency into assessment results to know where they stand. Follow up with a discussion on the next steps.
- Tie to Business Objectives: Alignment between assessments and organizational goals reinforces a focus on priorities.
Mitigating Unconscious Bias
Employee assessments mitigate unconscious bias in talent decisions by measuring skills and knowledge objectively.
Unconscious bias refers to preconceived attitudes and stereotypes that could influence hiring team members’ opinions of candidates. It is usually unintentional preferential treatment, such as favoring a candidate because they like the same hobbies or grew up in the same area as the applicant.
We should be able to depend on hiring team members to judge candidates fairly and impartially. However, studies reveal that unconscious bias affects workplaces more than expected. Research shows that 79% of HR leaders agree that subjective bias exists in recruitment and succession planning decisions.
Prevent Hiring Mistakes
Hiring mistakes are a company’s worst nightmare because they are expensive. If a manager earning $60,000 is terminated, an organization’s cost can be as high as $840,000, including hiring costs, salary, benefits, severance, disruption to productivity, and lost business opportunities.
The organization also loses what it has invested in the employee. The cost of replacing bad hires can be as high as $240,000. So, if the employee does not work out, that investment is lost, and the company must incur additional costs to recruit and onboard a replacement.
Get Started with Employee Assessments
Getting more out of your workforce starts with implementing regular, quality employee assessments. Consistent performance measurement allows you to recognize top talent, resolve skill deficiencies, and promote aligned objectives.
Do you want to see how employee assessment tools provide the data you need to manage and empower employees? Contact us to request a demo.