by Urmi Dasgupta
Traditional Assessments Centres comprise a suite of proctored, interactive activities, conducted at a physical assessment centre. Participants are required to take time off work in order to go through these assessments. Assessors observe and evaluate the candidates based on the behaviors that they exhibit in the various activities conducted as part of the Assessment Centre. Assessors then collate their observations and discuss each participant’s performance. Once they reach a consensus, an exhaustive manual report is created, basis which one-on-one feedback sessions are conducted with each participant.
Typically, Traditional Assessment Centres have been preferred as they provide a human touch and interaction. However, given the intense manual effort involved in Traditional Assessment Centres, there are several reasons behind why L&D and HR teams find it difficult to justify the use of Traditional Assessments Centres to business:
10 Reasons Why Traditional Assessment Centres Don’t Make the Cut
# 1: Logistical Hassles: The entire process of evaluating candidates using a traditional Assessment Centre is cumbersome and stressful for the L&D sponsors who are often found scurrying about to book training rooms/hotels to conduct the Assessment Centre, arranging flight tickets and accommodation for outstation candidates, finding the ‘rightly qualified’ assessors and following up tirelessly to receive scores and reports on time.
# 2: Lack of Scalability: As Traditional Assessment Centres require participants to assemble at a pre-determined physical space, the assessment centre cannot be employed for large scale assessment initiatives.
# 3: Investment Heavy: Traditional Assessment centers turn out to be expensive for organizations, due to the various overheads attached to them. Overheads associated with logistical arrangements, the need for certified and experienced assessors, and logistics for arranging the assessments come at a premium. Therefore, Assessment Centres are typically restricted to certain cross-sections of the organization, generally the mid to senior level audiences, where budgets have been pre-approved.
# 4: Loss of Productivity: Participants are required to travel to the assessment centers for the entire duration of the assessments. This disrupts their work schedule and deadlines. Even after the assessment, participant fatigue due to the long and ardous assessment process, coupled with the need to catch up once they get back to work results in the loss of additional productive output.
# 5: No Room for Errors: Traditional Assessment Centres can create a daunting atmosphere. If participants are nervous, or not in their best form, the entire assessment exercise will fail to reflect an accurate picture of the participant’s true potential. A halfhearted attempt will reflect incorrect scores, and the lengthy process leaves little room for a re-assessment.
# 6: Introverts Tend to Lose Out: A Traditional Assessment Centre can prove to be nightmarish for candidates who are relatively shy and take time to open-up in group settings. Confident and outspoken individuals tend to shine during group discussions and presentations. However, shy and reserved participants might find themselves struggling to keep up with the pace. As a result, a traditional Assessment Centre is not optimized for an apple-to-orange candidate comparison.
# 7: Becomes Predictable: If the Traditional Assessment Centre is meant to be run across batches, the tools must be shuffled or changed, otherwise participants in subsequent batches tend to have the unfair advantage of getting to know what the tools are, the kind of questions being asked, and how the assessors respond, giving them the opportunity to rehearse and come better prepared for the activities in the Assessment Centres.
# 8: Cannot Match Competency Frameworks: Often, the Assessment Centre activities/tools such as Role Plays and Business Cases are not contextualized to the participants’ specific roles. Therefore, behaviors elicited are not indicative of their real-time behavior in their roles within the organization. The content in these exercises is often not relevant to the participants as well; It tends to fall short of reflecting real-life, day-to-day work or organizational challenges.
# 9: Assessor Bias: Assessors may tend to type-caste participants into socially prevalent slots, as they might tend to get swayed with one-off instances. For e.g. Participants who initiate and drive group discussions are considered to possess natural leadership abilities. The Halo effect (the tendency to be unnecessarily lenient), the Horn effect (the tendency to be unnecessarily strict), and the Central Tendency Bias (the tendency to give average scores to participants) are common biases that affect participant scores in assessment centres.
# 10: Accuracy is Questionable: Manual reports are error prone. Accuracy of reports in the Traditional Assessment Centres depend primarily on the accuracy of the rating scale. However, scoring is absolute and at the mercy of the assessor’s perception and judgement. The scores are not normalized with respect to historical data captured across a comparable target pool of candidates.
Consequently, over the years, Traditional Assessment Centres have failed to garner center-stage as a staple methodology to assess candidates either for Promotion or Selection, Y-o-Y, across levels. Hence, the tireless struggle for the L&D team to find an objective and convenient way to assess candidates seems never-ending…
How do we make Assessment Centres credible, cost-effective, convenient and engaging? How can we make assessments accurate yet fun-filled and immersive?
Our Virtual Assessment Centre is a readily deployable, cost-effective, credible and convenient solution, which comprehensively assesses important competencies for each role. Now you can assess your workforce with all the right tools that are hand-picked and mapped to your competencies. You can administer the assessments with ease, without any location or logistical constraints.