Leadership development: Why you need assessments

By Josh Smith

Rather than relying on subjective opinions of executives for hiring, more clients are using us to help identify high-potential talent through the use of assessments.  This is being done either during an executive search process, at interview stage; or as a standalone project where we are working with the leadership team and HR to assess executives or future leaders.

What are leadership assessments?

High-quality leadership assessments are a process which helps find the right leader for your organisation. The assessment consists of a list of questions and criteria which make hiring more effective. The assessments measure an employee or candidates’ skills and competencies to determine his/her leadership potential.  They uncover talent that individuals already have, shine a light on strengths or development areas, and can inform on what keeps them motivated.

The use of assessments

Part of the search process

The use of assessments has become far more popular and a standard component of most executive search firm’s methodology.  Human Resource Directors and Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) have either implemented them into their own internal hiring process or would like them to be utilised at some point during the search process.

Whilst any psychological, behavioural or leadership assessment is subject to interpretation and should not be used as the sole reason to hire or dismiss, they can contribute considerably towards the final decision.  Often, we find that our assessments validate the initial thoughts that our clients have. However, the results can also add information for them to be aware of later in the process, or during onboarding.

To get the right fit of leader to organisation, we work with clients to understand the types of behaviours they would like their ideal candidate to be able to demonstrate. Once these are formed, we then assess individuals based on what our client’s organisation needs.  Alongside placing the candidates, we also support clients with onboarding plans, where these assessments can be used extensively to assist an onboarding program.

Talent development program

As well as including assessments as part of our search process, we are frequently working with clients as part of a wider talent development program.  Almost all the FTSE100 companies use some form of assessment, especially when evaluating executives. We are seeing that replicated across organisations of all sizes.

HR executives understand the benefits of using leadership assessments to evaluate current and potential leaders, as part of a broader development strategy.  An IBM study[1] of more than 700 global CHROs revealed that ‘developing future leaders’ was the skill of the greatest importance in order to achieve business objectives.

We have been engaged to conduct group wide assessments of senior leadership teams, 360-degree feedback reviews and to help highlight talent gaps in fast-growth start-ups.  These talent gaps can then be filled via Procorre’s recruitment services.

Benefits and drawbacks of leadership assessments

Whilst leadership assessments have become more ubiquitous, there are some drawbacks. Some of which include quality of provider, quality of consultancy administering, or even dis-empowerment of HR – which is the opposite rationale as to why they could be used, to support HR!  However, these are all objections that can be overcome.

When utilised effectively, leadership assessments can help support better decision making, drive employee engagement, boost performance, and provide additional perspective.  They can also be used as part of a bench-marking exercise with internal development programs.  Once a high performer has been identified that individual’s profile could be used as a benchmark for others in the organisation looking to deliver a similar role.

If your business would like any support with leadership assessment, development or 360-degree feedback, or would simply like to enquire as to how we could potentially help, please contact me at [email protected], or call me on +44 7920 221128.

 Written by Josh Smith, Head of Leadership Assessment and Executive Search at Procorre. 

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