Designing an Assessment Center

Question:

My company is in the chemical manufacturing industry where there are many processes involved in the different jobs. I would like to design an assessment center for technicians and other workers that would assess their ability to handle these tasks, such as checking temperatures and pressures, evaluating the raw materials used, etc. How do I determine what competencies are involved and how to go about designing an assessment center?

Answer:

For any type of assessment that involves job competencies you’ll need to address the following:

  1. Observe and record how the best employees in each job category do the work.
  2. Based on the information gained from your observations, you will be able to identify the key competencies and to clearly define them (i.e. problem solving, or communication).
  3. Ensure the competencies are accurate and inclusive by involving some of the employees and respective supervisors in the review of the competencies. They will have a better idea of the accuracy of the competencies.
  4. Once competencies are determined, you are ready to develop simulations for the assessment center to replicate the work being done (i.e. checking temperatures). Using employees that you feel are already successful in the job to pilot the center or assist in the development of the assessments will ensure it is more successful.
  5. Schedule trainees or potential employees to go through the assessment center.
  6. Track the results. You’ll need to assess the employee’s knowledge before they go through the center and be able to determine how it improved and impacted their job performance after completing the assessment. Does it seem to be working? Do you need to make any changes? Are there any biases or adverse discrimination that occurs because of the system?

Note: Depending on where you are located, you may need to do a number of pilots and analyses of the results to ensure there are no legal ramifications on the use of the center on hiring or promotion decisions.  Also, remember to be consistent in your application.  Don’t pick and choose who you will ask to go through an assessment,  it is better to chose a time in employment process and everyone who moves through the step is requested to take the assessment.

Get your Training and Development program off to the right start by asking Strategic HR to help. We have the expertise to conduct a Needs Assessment and/or to recommend training options for your staff. Visit our Training and Development page to learn how we can help you hire safely.