The Value of Assessments
“Coaching without assessments should be considered malpractice.” – Bill Bonnstetter
I love assessments. I have always been a data kind of guy — data that could be turned into information and information that could be used to resolve problems. Every one of my coaching engagements involves assessments of some kind. Why, you may ask? Because how do you know whether you’ve improved unless you have a baseline of where you are? Assessments give you that baseline. Assessments provide objective data pertaining to a situation, organization, team, or person. It’s the objectivity that’s important. We are all biased in one way or another and, in every situation, our biases affect our decisions and in my case, how I coach someone.
So assessments are important to me, but you may be wondering how or why they would be important to you. If you are an HR professional, recruiter, executive or mid-level manager, or business owner, then assessments are important to you as well. Let me ask you a few questions:
Staff Coaching Assessments – What do you use currently to develop your staff? I hope that you do goal setting and year-end reviews and have some kind of reward and recognition program set up. But how do you know what motivates your employees? Most managers think that the only motivation they need is to dangle the money carrot. Unfortunately, not everyone is motivated by money.
How do you identify your employees’ soft skills and competencies? How do you know the best way to communicate with them? And if you don’t know these things, how do you know that they are best suited for the jobs that they are currently performing?
Imagine being able to have your team take an assessment that would identify these things. Wouldn’t it make your job and their jobs easier and wouldn’t it produce a more efficient and effective team for you?
Job Benchmarking Assessments – When you hire someone, what do you look at? If you’re like many, you have a resume to look at, maybe a LinkedIn profile, and your notes from the interview or interviews. Does that give you enough information to be able to know that the candidate can do the job and will fit in with your team? The answer is no. You have some of the information, but not all of the information. You go by your gut instinct when you hire people. They look like they have the experience. They interviewed well and they seem like they would fit in, but you really don’t know how well they will do until they are actually on the job.
Studies have shown that it costs upwards from $30,000 to hire a mid-level employee. Add to that the cost of training once they are on the job and the cost to let them go if they don’t work out.
Wouldn’t it be a good thing if you could identify another piece of the puzzle before hiring a candidate? What if you could identify the key accountabilities of the open position and then measure your candidates against that benchmark? Wouldn’t that help to identify the best candidate for the position and potentially save you thousands in replacement costs?
Stress Assessments – Everyone says that they’re stressed at work, it’s just part of the job. Companies waste millions of dollars each year as the result of stress-related absences. Wouldn’t you like to avoid those absences or at least mitigate them as much as possible? Do you really want to take a chance of losing some of your top talent?
What if you could make some minor modifications to specific things within your company, organization, or group that would reduce the stress levels of your employees? You can. But first you have to find out what’s stressing them out. Wouldn’t it be good to identify the areas where the majority of the stress lies so that you would know exactly what actions to put in place to actually help? Wouldn’t it be good to know whether it’s job stress, organization stress, control stress, manager stress, or something else? Without the baseline, you can’t know where to start to alleviate or reduce the stress level.
Sales Coaching Assessments – Have you ever seen a sales person let go because they weren’t producing? Have you ever heard someone say that the particular person was good, but they just couldn’t sell? How many times did the company or the manager try to discover in which part of the sales process this particular person was weak? Probably not too often. It’s easier to let them go and replace them. The problem with that kind of thinking is that you never get to the root cause. Finding perfect sales people is not an easy task. Developing sales people into better sales people is much easier.
What if you could identify where they were strong and where they needed help? Wouldn’t it be a good thing from a sales training aspect to have people who were really proficient in one aspect of the sales process teach those who were a bit weaker in that area? Wouldn’t it help the entire sales team and the company if you discovered everyone was weak in a particular area because that might indicate that it’s not a sales person problem, but perhaps a sales management or sales script problem? Wouldn’t that kind of information be useful?
Organizational Design Assessments – Have you ever had a 360° survey done on yourself to help you identify what all those around you perceive your strengths and weaknesses are? What about an employee or customer feedback survey? Did you ever use the information to improve your managers, organization, products, or services? Many of these type of assessments are taken for granted these days and many companies who use them, don’t fully utilize the data. They never turn the data into information, so in turn they never resolve any of the problems identified by the assessments.
Wouldn’t information about your management team be vital to ensuring that they were effective managers and coaches? Wouldn’t information about your employees be vital to retaining your employees? Wouldn’t product and service information be important to resolving customer issues and improving your products and services? This is more vital than it’s ever been before because of social media. Now if someone has a bad experience, they share it with everyone instantaneously. Wouldn’t you like to do everything you could to avoid that kind of viral exposure?
I love assessments. They make my coaching life easier because I get an objective baseline on which to help my clients build and improve. That same objective baseline is exactly what many are missing so they stumble along trying to improve things before they actually know what to improve and why.
About the Author — Ron Feher is the Chief Improvement Officer at WhiteRock Business Solutions whose mission is to help make small businesses better by making their people better. He concentrates on the people aspects of business through his Executive Coaching and Manager Mentoring Programs, Job Benchmarking, Staff Development, meeting facilitation and motivational speaking, and career coaching. Ron is a certified professional analyst with TTI Success Insights® and Career Direct. He utilizes their assessments to help hire, coach, mentor, and retain top talent and improve team effectiveness and efficiency. WhiteRock is located in Orange County, California and can be found at www.whiterockbusiness.net; or contact Ron (www.linkedin.com/in/ronaldafeher) directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (949-466-0943). @RonFeher