When selecting an assessment provider, the decision boils down to these three things

Jul 06 , 2017

Man playing chess.jpgWhen choosing an assessment, you have to sift through functions and features to identify the most critical elements. Talent management professionals are seeking to hire, retain, and engage the right talent for their business, and the plausible assessment options seem limitless. To be honest, they completely are.

A simple google search of professional assessment providers renders a list of over 128 million results. At the Association of Talent Development’s Conference and Expo this year, 43 exhibitors categorized themselves as assessment providers, which is over 10% of the total exhibitors. And some businesses didn’t use this category, even though they are an assessment provider.

When you’re shopping for assessment providers, it’s easy to get in the weeds with marketing propositions and nitty gritty. After you determine your business needs and evaluate the features, it will ultimately boil down to three critical things: the science, the experience, and the application.

The Science

Buzzfeed tests are fun but scientifically worthless. Although it is nice to know which state your should live in, serious talent management pros need reliability and validity to ensure proper application and implementation within an organization. In doing so, these pros will ensure improved business results. Rather, it is critical to be informed about the science.

Scientific reliability measures the consistency and stability of an assessment, whereas validity gives us an indication of whether the measuring device measures what it claims to. The most critical thing to know is that reliability and validity cannot be established by a single study. Instead, reliability and validity are part of a larger continuous improvement process.

"As business profits become tighter, more companies are demanding evidence before spending money," says Dr. Ron Bonnstetter, sr. vice president of research at TTI Success Insights. "Assessment tools that document reliability and validity over the long term provide a competitive edge."

The Experience

When you implement a new tool or assessment, you want to ensure the assessment takers experience is flawless. After all, its about the learning and users should not be distracted with the format of the tool. And your user experience should be well supported by a strong customer service team.

Understanding whether a user will take the assessment on a piece of paper or online may greatly impact their ability to apply the learnings. Other implications: Does your user have to wait for the assessment to be tabulated or can they get the report right away? Is there lag time from the assessment provider or can your assessment tool be managed on a platform? Who will be trained in the administration and facilitation of the coaching? And there are no right or wrong answers for these questions - it’s entirely reliant on the needs of your business.

The experience in taking an assessment is not an end all and be all. You want to also consider how the assessment provider would help you communicate before and after the assessment is taken. Can they become a part of the briefing process to your team? Can you speak with real people about how to leverage the tools? Do you have a partner in the process? Consider what resources or tools are provided from an assessment company that can help you communicate the findings.

The Application

“Nice to have” assessments are simply a waste of business resources. Today, it’s all about implementation that improves business performance. Be sure to uncover common uses of the tool with your assessment provider. Ask for customer stories or examples of the work and how it changed business. And ensure effective implementation throughout your business.

Science, experience, and application are critical for all businesses of today. When vetting assessment providers, be sure to thoroughly evaluate all three elements.

About the Author

Candice Frazer