Training & Development has lost its traditional meaning. Why?

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 1348 , Published on 18 November 2013

"All the contenders were not given a fair chance to prove themselves for the next role. The training program they have put me through is irrelevant for me."

These are the statements which employees/applicants make when some other candidate is promoted/hired without fair assessments. In addition to these statements, there is high risk of choosing a less deserving candidate to a senior or mid level position without an exhaustive assessment. To avoid such risks and to get the best person for the next role, organizations have started using Assessments Centres for Succession Planning, New Hiring and Development of employees.

image:renjith krishnan,

The Assessment centre is an evaluation technique which includes various types of job related simulations, interviews, role plays and psychological tests. The commonly used job simulations are In basket exercises, Group Discussions, Conference Meetings, Interview Simulations, Fact-Finding exercises, Analysis/Decision making problems, Oral presentation exercises and written communication exercises.

They are designed to test candidate’s suitability for a particular role and to develop a training plan of candidate’s for their succession planning. The performance of contender is evaluated on different aspects based on the competencies required for the position. For eg. If there is a position of a senior manager and as per his job description the most importance competency is decision making then role plays of a critical situation or similar simulation games could be the part of assessment centre to test these skills. Even some of the medical practitioners’ have started using Assessment centres to select physicians.

They can be done in-house by the organizations as well as by some external agencies. This is generally a day long activity and occasionally extended over two days.

Alun Jones, MD of recruitment company Highfield Executive Search and Selection, says assessment centres are not to be underestimated. "They're the wolves in sheep's clothing -- candidates often don't realise how much importance recruiters give to assessment centres."

Why only for Middle & Senior level positions?

• Administrative Cost: The candidates are invited from different geographies to the place where the assessment centre is set up. The staying arrangements, lunch & dinner, travelling arrangements are generally borne by the organization. The cost involved in this administration is huge and cannot be spent on an unimportant role. The criticality of the job decides what an organization can spend to fill that position. Hence, this investment is levied based on the worth of the role.

• Agency Cost: These assessments are generally conducted by the team of experts & simulation setups which are not always available in-house. Hence organizations need to hire external agencies to conduct these tests and then provide extensive & useful report to organizations to take decisions. These agencies being experts charge huge amounts which cannot be spent for junior or executive level positions.

• Job Role: The job role of junior employee is generally monotonous and does not require the critical skills like- Analytical/Decision making skills, Designing strategies, Handling risks, Forecasting etc. Hence the skills required for these jobs can be assessed by regular low cost techniques like GDs & interviews.

• Time Involved: As stated, it is at least a day long process and candidates are called from different geographies so the time investment by candidates & recruiters is also critical. This amount of cost cannot be appreciated for a role which is not worthy enough. Hence, it also leads to using assessment centres only for critical senior or middle level positions.

The whole concept of assessment centre, its dynamics & relevance is appreciated by the industry leaders worldwide. It helps find a best candidate-position fit and also helps in making perfect training plans to develop employees to take up new roles in the organization. But, considering the level of involvement, cost, time, and job criticality it is not preferred to for executive or entry level jobs. Hence organizations use it for middle and senior level positions to move a step ahead in creating a “right people at right position” organization.

The article has been authored by Shilpa, TAPMI Manipal






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