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Building An Assessment - Development Center

A Assessment Development Center is meant to measure competencies of the participants to evaluate their readiness to take up leadership roles. Through the center the Organization is able to identify gaps between existing and desired competency levels both at the individual and at the organization level


The assessment of a group of individuals by a team of judges who are using a comprehensive and integrated set of techniques.

Normally used to assess candidates for selection, development, placements, rewards, promotions, career and succession planning.

Assessment Techniques

Also called simulations, techniques, exercises, activities and games. They are tools and methods used to assess the competencies, performance and behaviors of individuals.

Assessment Center

Is a procedure that uses multiple assessment technique to evaluate employees for a variety of end use such as manpower purposes and decisions.

An Assessment Center consists of a standardized evaluation of behavior based on multiple inputs. Several trained observers and techniques are used.

An assessment center is meant to measure the competencies, skills, characteristics of a person to evaluate their capability to carry out a specific function within the organization and against a pre-determined standard.

Judgments about behavior are made by specially trained observers. At the end of the Assessment, the assessors get together to share their data which is scientifically recorded on a set of evaluation forms.

They come to a consensus on the assessments of each candidate.

Most frequently, the approach has been applied to individuals being considered for selection, promotion, placement, or special training and development in management.


Evaluators of performance, behaviors, knowledge, skills and attitudes of the participants in an Assessment Center. There are assessors/observers who are trained in the Observe, Record, Classify and Evaluate (ORCE) process, and its application in the particular simulations that are used.

Assessment methods, relevant dimensions to be observed, expected or typical behaviors, examples or samples of actual behaviors.

The assessment dimensions (Competencies), include their relationship to job performance, examples of effective and ineffective performance. Evaluation and rating procedures, including how data are integrated by the assessment center staff.

Assessment policies and practices of the organization, including restrictions of how assessment data are to be used the feedback procedures when appropriate

Assessors are trained, experienced, specialists and certified to perform the role of an assessor also called an observer.

They gain seasoning by participating in multiple types of centers, functional, hierarchical, cross functional.

The assessor plays a near role of God in making judgments and evaluations of a candidate’s current and future potential.

Every possible effort should be made to elicit substantive data to make recommendations.

Record and classify behavior in dimensions, including knowledge of forms used in the center. Give accurate Oral & Written Feedback. Play objectively and consistently the role called for in interactive exercises, for example, one-on-one or fact-finding exercises when this is required of Assessors

Assessing Multiple Assessments - To ensure that a competency is measured in a reliable fashion across the center it is usual to duplicate measurement of each competency (through different exercises).

Purpose of an Assessment Development Center

  1. To provide information on the individuals current and potential competence to perform a job successfully

  2. Squarely focused on the behavior that an individual demonstrates and should ideally demonstrate.

  3. To elicit personal and capability information and data on people to help make more informed decisions

  4. To encourage greater objectivity in decisions pertaining particularly to career, potential and succession planning.

  5. To make new recruit hiring smarter and efficient given war for strategic talent

Challenges in an Assessment Development Center

  1. Experimenter Effect – Performance seriously affected by the observer’s presence – A certain amount of this is inevitable

  2. Simulation Syndrome – This is when the candidate is unable to relate to the roles or simulations and freezes

  3. Replication Liability – This is when the candidate is unable to demonstrate his capability that he normally exhibits on the jobs at the center


This term usually refers to behavioral-based descriptors of performance. They describe the inputs, which help achieve successful performance at work. A competency is described in terms of key behaviors that enables recognition of that competency at the work place.

These behaviors are demonstrated by excellent performers on-the-job much more consistently than average or poor performers. These characteristics generally follow the 80-20 rule in that they include the key behaviors that primarily drive excellent performance

Competency Assessments

Competency assessment is an ongoing process of continually building knowledge and skills. Organizations are much more dynamic now and need to ensure that their employees have the capability & expertise to meet their objectives.

Assessments consists of a standardized evaluation of behavior based on multiple inputs. Several trained observers and techniques are used. Judgments about behavior are made by especially trained observers. At the end of the Assessment the assessors get together to share their data which is scientifically recorded on a set of evaluation forms.

They come to a consensus on the assessments of each candidate. Most frequently the approach has been applied to individuals being considered for selection, promotion, placement, or special training and development in management”

What Is A Competency Dictionary?

1. A Competency is a skill, knowledge, attribute or underlying characteristic of a person that enables a person to deliver superior performance in a given job, role or situation. Thus for every job, there is a set of competencies. Different jobs or positions will require the competencies at different levels of expertise.

2. A Competency map is a list of all competencies required for superior performance in a particular job or position in an organization. It also indicates the desired level of competence in each required competency.

3. The competency dictionary is a compilation of the exhaustive list of competencies that an organization may require for all its key positions. It is a document containing the description and examples of all competencies applicable to all positions in the company. It is the basic tool used in the establishment and maintenance of competency maps. A Competency Dictionary contains the definitions of the competencies used in the maps and sets out the different levels of the competencies. Note: The maps and the dictionary are position – specific and organization – specific.

4. Competency Mapping can help employers select the right candidates, encourage, monitor employee performance and development in specific areas, and better define how organizational goals can be achieved. Competencies help employees understand what the organization values and what skills or behaviors are expected of them to enable them achieve their specified organizational goals. Thus, mapping of competencies and defining them provides an objective basis for assessment against known and agreed standards.

Competency Clusters or Groups

Competencies can be logically grouped into two main clusters or groups: Technical Competencies and Behavioral competencies. Behavioral competencies can further be grouped into self and Relational, Managerial and Strategic competencies.

Technical or job-related competencies: These competencies relate to the specific job – related or technical knowledge required to perform the job effectively. E.g. Knowledge of Finance, Knowledge of Engineering etc.

Behavioral competencies: These competencies comprise the skills and attributes that are not specifically related to any function or department and can be used across functions, i.e., they are portable competencies. Three main subdivisions have been made under this category:

Self and Relational competencies: These refer to the competencies required for managing oneself and the relationships with others. These comprise the basic competencies like Communication, Personal effectiveness

Managerial competencies: These refer to the competencies necessary for positions with supervisory or managerial responsibility. E.g. Team Building, Negotiation skills

Strategic competencies: These refer to the competencies required to manage or develop business. E.g. Networking, Business focus and Strategic thinking

It is important to note that the classification described above is by no means rigid or watertight. Many competencies could be classified under any cluster, self and relational, managerial or strategic. Some competencies could span across all three classifications. E.g. Team building. While it is a competency required in a managerial role and hence has to be classified under the ‘Managerial’ cluster, it is also a competency about working with people and developing them. Hence, it could also be classified under ‘Self and Relational’ competencies. Also, different levels of the same competency could be seen to belong to different clusters – For example: ‘Customer Orientation’ competency at level 1 and 2 could be more ‘self and relational’ and ‘managerial’ while at level 3 the competency could be ‘strategic’. In the competency maps, the classification of competencies under the various clusters has been done looking at the organizational perspective.

Note: It is emphasized that the classification is not very critical; what is important is to understand the concept behind each competency.

Format and Elements of Each Competency Description

A competency description may have the following elements:

a. Definition: This section defines or describes the competency in the context of the organization. It explains briefly what the competency is all about, what it entails and what it is intended to measure.

b. Competency Levels: Competency levels can be graded. While many positions may require the same competency, not all of them require the competency at the same level. Depending on the roles and responsibilities of the position, the level of expertise required in the competency would vary. Hence, the competencies have been scaled across three levels: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. These levels depict the increasing sophistication and complexity at which the competency can be demonstrated. The higher levels build on the lower levels, i.e., Level 2 builds on Level 1; Level 3 builds on Level 1 and 2. If the competency map for a position indicates Level 3 for a competency, it means that the position holder requires the skills described in level 1, 2 and 3.

How to Use A Competency Dictionary?

The dictionary provides the list of competencies most commonly required in GC Limited businesses. The competencies have been logically grouped into broad clusters. This dictionary is to be used in conjunction with the competency maps that have been developed for the various positions at Global Corporation. The maps list out the competencies required for the position. For each competency listed in the map, refer to the particular page in the dictionary wherein the competency appears. The competency description and levels are common to all positions and maps. Depending on the competency level specified in the map, refer to the definition of the competency required for that specific level.

How to Derive Benefit from Competency Maps and the Competency Dictionary

1. The Competency Maps prepared for each position and the Competency Dictionary are the basic tools for selection, succession and career planning.

2. Employees can use the competency dictionary and maps to plan their career development by:

• Identifying the competencies required in roles they currently occupy

• Identifying the competencies required in roles they aspire for

• Identifying intermediate roles which will provide experience in competencies not currently held

• Planning for personal development to cover gaps between existing capability and that required in the future

3. Global Corporation can use the competency maps and dictionary to:

• Identify key competencies critical to organizational success

• Inventory current resources of such competencies

• Aid the recruitment and career planning processes

• Identify fast – track employees: Where they are performing at a higher level than the position requires, this could indicate a person with high potential, or someone who is over – achieving in their current role and needs to move to a more challenging position.

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