Picking the Best Executive Assessment Tools

At least half of companies do no formal assessments of potential for their leaders and tend to be shooting in the dark when it comes to identifying their future talent. In another research study, it was found that 75% of high performers do not have the requisite abilities to handle the increased complexity in senior leadership roles. I4cp’s research showed that the most common executive assessment tools when there is a formal process is the 360 degree feedback assessment. Other popular tools they found included the following:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), used by 68.2%
  • DISC, used by 61.4%
  • Lominger Assessment Instruments, 47.1%
  • Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), 43.2%
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0, 43.2%
  • Thomas Killman Conflict Management Indicator (TKI), 40.7%

In my opinion, of these assessments, only Lominger, Hogan and Killman tools meet the psychometric rigor required for assessment of potential. The other tools are less rigorous, valid, and reliable to be deployed to assess talent who may be considered for senior leader roles. These other assessments are more likely to be used for training and teambuilding activities.

We here at Corporate Performance Strategies strongly recommend that there are multiple data points when considering potential, including: education, experiences, cognitive abilities, personality attributes (what the above measure), performance results, and interview assessments. That helps ensure more accuracy of decisions for determining your bench strength.

What formal executive assessment tools does your company use? When was the last time your leaders were assessed to determine their strengths, weaknesses, or areas of concern? Isn’t it time to implement a rigorous assessment process for the current and future leaders in your organization?

Increasing Employee Engagement And Retention

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New research from the Ashridge Business School in the UK was just released. This research, commissioned by Engage for Success, interviewed several CEOs on the topic of employee engagement and found some issues preventing companies from establishing high engaged workforces. While the report focused on the U.K. economy and business culture, there are definitely lessons for leaders in other areas of the world.

Some of the highlights from the research shows:

  • CEOs may lack an emotional connection to engagement due to a fear of feedback or resistance to sharing power
  • Leaders may be so intensely focused on bottom line results that they don’t buy in to employee engagement
  • Some executive leaders may genuinely lack awareness of employee engagement and how to improve it
  • The company’s hierarchy, system and culture may lack the necessary support for employee engagement

Several of their findings resonate with research in the U.S. about some of the barriers CHROs face in driving higher levels of employee engagement. Increasing employee engagement is a universal concern for all organizations and only when leaders are willing to take the time to analyze and identify what needs to be done can steps be taken to improve employee engagement.

Improve Employee Engagement Levels

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Many CHROs are faced with a dilemma on how to improve their organization’s productivity and business results. The HR science has demonstrated over the past 15 years that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their competitors by significant margins. But what happens when the senior leadership team is not supportive of what is required to achieve high employee engagement levels and may not have the requisite skills to pull it off?

A 2013 research study by Stanford University’s Center for Leadership Development and Research, Rock Center for Corporate Governance, and Miles Consulting surveyed U.S. Board members and CEOs regarding performance appraisals. The results offer some instructive facts that will help CHROs.

As a top-line study summary, CEOs are appraised on accounting, stock price or operating performance and strategy development. In CEO performance appraisals, little weight is placed on innovation, succession planning, internal talent development, employee satisfaction and turnover, and safety. In addition, they found that CEOs had very strong decision-making and planning abilities but they were weak in mentoring, internal talent development, listening skills, and conflict management skills.

That’s the dilemma faced by many CHROs who are saddled with colleagues who are focused on short-term results. And it’s no wonder when the system is geared to incent and retain CEOs and senior leaders for financial performance.

If you find yourself in a similar situation there are some steps you can take to rectify the situation. Start by educating the CEO and senior team with their peers from companies that have supported high levels of employee engagement. Discuss with the senior leadership team common goals and direction of the company. Then, identify opportunities for improving employee engagement. Once these steps have been identified, then a comprehensive employee engagement survey can be developed and conducted to learn additional areas, from the employees’ perspectives, for increasing employee engagement.

Does your company conduct annual employee engagement surveys? Why or why not? And if so, does the company implement an action plan based on the feedback? Let us know what works for your organization.

HR Best Practices: Gain Support For Your Agenda – Align With The Business

As HR leaders we still have to show the “why” of our work and how we impact the business results. We must be willing to take risks with our recommendations and stand behind our work as valuable to the business. There are numerous research studies on the impact of higher levels of employee engagement, quality of products, level of leadership effectiveness, goal-setting, and coaching that can be used to help bolster your recommendations.

Another best practice to follow is showing how what we do as HR leaders relates to the success of the business is to align your programs to the business. Below is an example of how a client’s performance evaluation process supports the strategic initiatives of the business:

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By communicating everything we do in HR as how it impacts the business results, you will increase the likelihood of support. This, coupled with your willingness to take some risk in what you believe to be true, will help ensure that you get your “fair share” of investments in your programs. In short, leadership and business acumen help distinguish the great HR leaders from the mediocre performers.