A few weeks ago, we organized a community workshop which gathered some of our portfolio companies’ HR directors and CEOs around the topic of HR assessment tools. Indeed, although this topic is very exciting and promising, it is not quite easy to get a clear view on the tools on the market.
To try and get this clear view we have talked about, we invited Florence Bonpaix, our HR expert within the Ring2Success program to enlighten us on the main topics related to assessment tools. Indeed, Florence has a deep experience of the topic having worked as a HR director for IT and tech companies (such as Business Objects), as a hiring consultant and being a certified consultant for a number of personality inventories/tests (DISC and the suite of TTI Success Insights tools around emotional intelligence, talents, drivers, mental scheme, stress).
HR tools have recently bloomed on the market which allows more and more automatized assessments with SaaS-like interfaces. But once again, how shall I choose the right tool?
What is it here for?
The first question of all to address when talking about assessment tools is the objective you have when using such tools and the context in which you do it. For example if you wish to measure feedback in your company, ask yourself why and to which purpose. If you wish to evaluate the middle management strengths and weaknesses, likewise. Here are the three main reasons that trigger assessment tools:
- Smart Hiring: at this stage, HR Assessment tool can be very helpful to make the right choice and to reduce hiring bias while improving the candidate experience and thus the employer brand;
- Better understanding on an individual’s potential or teams’ strengths and weaknesses to design the way a team works and to save tremendous amount of time;
- Audit the culture’s team and decide to create common patterns to figure out what highlighted values resonate with daily work.
What to expect from these tools?
Backed with scientific research, HR Assessment platforms are designed to:
- evaluate the emotional intelligence as well as biases or mental patterns;
- measure team and individual key features, giving keys to work as a team.
These results are then confronted with on-the-job reality and the requirements or expectations of the job, the company’s culture in order to assess the match between the candidate, the job, the team and the company.
The different tests give different kinds of results. As an example, the Human Side test gives results divided in 3 dimensions:
- The “style” which corresponds with the behaviour of the person
- The “interests” which corresponds with the values of the person
- The “system of thought” which corresponds the way the persons builds its thought
How to succeed in implementing HR Assessment tools?
Several Key Factors maximize the tool’s benefits :
- First and foremost, create strong value by being sure the user can keep a mark on its answers. Indeed, the assessment tool is both very useful for the candidate/user and the company. Both must be able to access it to make the most out of it.
- Make sure the tool you decide to use is based on a well-known academic background and continuous research and development to avoid cognitive bias.
- If you are using the assessment tool not only for hiring, define the good assessment frequency. In case you are asking about company’s culture, an assessment every 18 or 24 months could make sense. But assessing drivers and mental schemes is done once and for all and generally won’t change over years.
- Set your sights high. Use tools that can apply to teams as well as individuals. Tomorrow, you will probably need to scale the process!
Some concrete examples within our portfolio
While Dolead has developed an in-house assessment tool to complement annual interviews by building a strong feedback culture, Splio has been using The Predictive Index assessment tools for years to manage hiring and main organizational changes. The tool is used in the final hiring stage and provides ROI. With the results, the company can almost predict how comfortable the candidate will be to work within the company and how he/she will behave. On the candidate side, they seem to appreciate the assessment which provides a concrete basis to discuss. Finally, another use can be the one of Castalie, where assessment tools are very well-deployed including new kinds of tools which gamify the assessment and help deploy the practice at scale.
The dilemma of internalization
- Proprietary tools? “no thanks”. They need to be based on scientific and research background. You can build proprietary usage around assessment tools but they need to be professional tools!
- Internal skills to use the assessment tools? “yes why not”. Indeed Assessment tool providers often propose to train internal HR teams to give them a certification to be able to provide the assessment themselves (it usually takes 3 to 10 days to get a certification but with one limit. To HR, it may be tricky to ask the executive committee for assessment. In this case, going through an external consultant is a wise option). While HR cannot be the judge and the jury, the option of internalizing the certification process has many advantages, including cost and employee engagement.