Five strategies of successful eLearning. Strategy 2. Development initiatives targeted at high potential employees

Why it is important to have employees’ evaluation and assessment

HR professionals, who have focussed learning initiatives for high-potential employees can achieve two important objectives:

  • First, the company allocates its training budget in the most efficient way possible, as high-potential employees demonstrate the highest “return on investment.”
  • Second, employees get a powerful tool for self-motivation. New generation of learning solutions for corporate sector provides this out of the box. For example, in SNAPSIM™ the potential ratio depends on learning activities of the user, which are tracked daily. Who would skip learning if one’s results are compared with other employees?

Learning agility as the base of “natural selection”

The assessment of employees’ potential allows a company to understand whether it is worth to invest in a specific employee. Companies don’t expect their employees to spend their whole careers in one company. New business environment dictates the need for agile and versatile professionals who can adapt quickly and switch between areas of expertise, rather than demand for highly specialised professionals.

Нow can we identify agility, if this trait is something that can only be revealed in the future? The answer is simple: we can model the environment for “natural selection” for high potential employees and find out which knowledge and skills s/he acquires better.

How to identify a quality not (yet) demonstrated?

Several personnel assessment methodologies exist on the market. And almost all of them have learnability or learning agility as the cornerstone. Learning agility or learnability measures the speed at which new knowledge and skills are acquired and how quickly what was learned can be transferred on the job. Learnability assessment is a backbone that supports other parts of the assessment process.

Observation of an employee’s activities – how he/she learns and applies what was learned on the job allows to predict how this employee would adapt to changing circumstances.

System requirements for assessment system

Assessment system that is designed to predict future, or at least to predict some future behaviours should have the following characteristics:

  • Reliability. All factors that can impact data integrity in assessments, should be excluded. Ideally, the system should only use two possible states: “user knows it / user doesn’t know it”.
  • Accuracy. Only confirmed level of knowledge and skills should be assessed. Ideally, knowledge and skills should be assessed with the help of technology as well via the observation on the job.
  • Comparability. The system or method should make it possible to compare learning metrics and behaviours of different periods or learning topics. This is the only to assess an employee’s abilities.
  • Accessibility. Assessment criteria should understandable for employees as well as line managers, HR and L&D professionals.
  • consistent Assessment should be embedded into something employees already do, for example assessment can embedded into learning.

If the system meets all the requirements mentioned above, L&D and HR professionals can see how the potential metrics of employees change over time and have a real-time rating of employees.

Achievement visualisation as a motivation tool

Employees should also have opportunity to see their achievements over periods of time in comparison with other employees. Good visualisation plays a critical role and helps to see their own progress, strong and weak points. Also, if the system presents the development of leadership capabilities over time, like learning agility, ambition and grit, it forces the employee to work more to be a future leader.

Visualisation itself can be a strong motivator. It becomes stronger when there is an opportunity to compare him/herself in the past and the current state of skills and knowledge.

If the user sees the visualisation as reflection of his/her actions, then the user get stimuli to change “the picture” for the better.

When employees can compare their achievements with other people, it can also be a leverage, as it forms a very visual and powerful form of peer review.

How does this strategy help HR managers and L&D professionals?

  • First, HR managers and L&D professionals can provide clear recommendations for personnel decisions (promotion, need for additional motivation) based on hard data and not on opinions.
  • Second, HR managers get a tool that helps to track employees with the highest and with the lowest potential real-time. It will help to focus efforts on two groups of employees, which are worth attention: those who are “lagging behind” and those who have distinctive talents.

How does this strategy help employees?

  • First, employees can track metrics of their potential, and their actions in the learning system have a clear impact on it.
  • Second, employees find themselves in the competition – they understand that their managers can compare metrics of potential of different categories of employees. This creates a challenge which forces them to achieve more.

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