Predictive analytics about human behaviour is the talk of the town in recruitment right now, and AI probability modelling techniques are increasingly utilised in talent acquisition practices.
The technology disruption evident in applicant tracking, sourcing, screening and assessment tools have more than doubled in the last three years, according to the Deloitte Insights Human Capital Trends for 2017 report. (Deloitte Insights, Report)

Nonetheless, assessments and testing should not only be regarded as part of successful talent acquisition strategies. In fact, they are invaluable tools to integrate with succession planning and development activities for current employees within the organisational ecosystem.

Assess, Address, Success

An employer with adequate succession planning in place is able to magnetise engagement and satisfaction levels, according to, 62% of employees surveyed in an HR Industry Report by Software Advice. We need to come to terms with the cold hard truth that employees are often unsuitable for the roles in which they are placed, due to numerous factors such as recruitment mismatchingdesperate hiring or a disconnect in expectations between candidate and employer (but that’s a story for another day).

The crux of the matter becomes evident in statistics: An astonishing 46% of employees fail to achieve set performance targets within the first 18 months. Subsequently, the next step from there is an exodus to an “alternative somewhere”, usually to the competition where they leverage on the painstaking efforts of training and development received at your organisation just to hit the ground running at their new company.
Herein lies the double whammy of organisational learning being intact but lacking in proper succession planning: One has a zero return-on-effort from training resources expended, plus a positional void for which a new candidate is to be acquired.
The right suite of assessment tools is crucial to align organisational strategies with the current staff complement in order to enhance the stability of the employee lifecycle, by tracking performance and recognise suitable successors to vital roles.
Typical outcomes of assessments results may include:

  • Identifying high-potential individuals ready for promotion into critical positions.
  • Indicating the correct fit between mentors and mentees or highlighting incompatibilities.
  • Showcasing departure-risk employees in advance.
  • Revealing the level of “employee coverage” in focal areas by pinpointing to the availability (or absence) of bench-strength personnel who are appropriately prepared and trained to take over should a key staff member depart.

In a nutshell, using assessments as part of succession plan goal setting offers the opportunity to devise a Plan B (and sometimes even a Plan C) to ensure business continuity when Plan A’s employee sets of to seek greener pastures, retire or get promoted within.

From Development to Excellent

The value of assessments during talent acquisition, screening and hiring practices are indisputable, and most companies are adopting them as non-negotiable tools to attract top talent. Yet, there is still a reluctance, or perhaps its ignorance that barricades assessment initiatives from the development and learning management equation, as must have catalysts for creating employee excellence.
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Chief Talent Scientist of the Manpower Group and professor of business psychology at University College London, frequently addresses the importance of assessments in measuring essential elements to job success such as competencework ethic and emotional intelligence.
Possible benefits from incorporating assessments in development practices are:

  • Cultivating employee skills and abilities to meet the job requirements of more senior roles.
  • Growing and grooming promising talent as to boost overall retention figures.
  • Increasing self-awareness and motivation in employees.
  • Monitoring and reviewing developmental progression of staff over time, and in comparison to previously anticipated projections.

Assessments may contribute significantly to improving company performance and diminish the trickle-down costs of staff turnover often causal to reduced productivity and subpar client servicing.
Moreover, assessment results are paramount in identifying skills gaps within the organisation and therefore aids in developing appropriate employee learning paths to bridge these voids timeously by actioning intentional goal-setting Individual Development Plans (IDP’s) and Continuous Development Programmes (CPD’s).

Assessments: The Revolutionary Solutions

In our future World of Work, leveraging on information extracted from assessment tools may mean the difference between employee progressionregression or stagnation. Test batteries and assessment instruments should be regarded as individual checkup mechanisms for all employees in the organisational talent landscape.
They provide clear indications on the here and now, regarding employee capability and performance, but also emphasise future red flags pertaining to underlying issues which may impact employee achievement going forward.
Furthermore, these assessment vehicles generate important markers of untapped worker aptitude or hidden attributes and can be instrumental to constructive succession planning and more effective organisational development strategies.
We are all familiar with the “Failing to plan is planning to fail” business cliché. However, to progress in the era of Industrial Revolution 4.0, perhaps take note of another motto:

Absence of assessments in succession planning and development strategies leads to absent organisational success and development capacities.