Assessment & Selection – Case Study

The greatest untapped resource is the people we employ who are not using their abilities to the full

What was needed

Our client recognised the waste and cost of not identifying potential amongst its existing staff. Previous high-profile appointments of external candidates who had eventually proved to be ‘expensive mistakes’ had clearly demonstrated this point. In contrast, internal candidates who had been appointed subsequently had performed exceptionally well.

Prior to our intervention, the company’s main process for identifying high potential was to ask managers to nominate individuals they felt had the capacity to succeed at a higher level. Although this was seen as a useful process, it was clearly insufficient. We were therefore invited to recommend better ways of identifying the talent already existing within the company.

What was done

Together we agreed two main changes:

The first was to sharpen the criteria for nominating high potential. The existing process required managers to rate their nominees using the company’s competency framework. However, managers were basing their nominations on their general impressions of the individuals rather than on the competency definitions. As part of our intervention therefore, we provided training to managers in identifying  potential on the basis of competency-based evidence;

The second change was to introduce an additional perspective on nominees’ capabilities. Initially an Assessment Centre was considered but the company then opted for a more nimble and flexible process based on the Team Focus Individual Audit. This consists of a day of assessment involving a range of exercises, simulations, interviews and psychometric tests. The reports provided to the client presented the data in terms of the company’s own competency framework.

What the benefits were

Extending the assessment process has had multiple benefits, the main ones being:

  • a recognition that people do not always get the chance to demonstrate the full range of abilities they have due to the limitations of their current role – thus, unrecognised talents have now been identified and more appropriate career paths have been developed;
  • a better understanding of how the competencies a person has in their current role do not necessarily generalise to roles at another level in an organisation – this understanding helps to minimise the problem of people being promoted beyond their level of competence.