Constrains of traditional assessments models
Despite differences in approaches all leadership assessment models are based on self-assessments, interviews and external observers (which are usually certified by the companies which sell leadership assessment methodologies for a fee). As CEO of one of these companies stated:
From our experience, learning agility is best understood and identified by direct observation, followed by a bit of intuition and then using measurement as a finishing touch.
See the sequence? Observation. Intuition (!) Measurement. Any observation is subjective. Personal background and experience of observers impact (and distort) data collected as a result of those observations. This is a feature of all traditional leadership assessment methodologies based on interviews and observation of experts. Traditional models don't have tools that can neutralise these shortcomings. These methodologies also have the following constrains:
- Employees operate in the controlled environment which differs from their usual environment
- It requires significant time
- These models are based on the assumption that the knowledge is already acquired
- These models try to predict future performance based on the employee ability to adapt existing knowledge to new environments,
- They can't be used for most categories of employees and only used for executives...
- ...because it is quire expensive.
Why it is better to use learning agility ratings
рейтинг по обучаемости
When we discussed GMA, we pointed out that cognitive activity in one type of tasks correlates with cognitive activity in other type of tasks. It is important as it allows to democratise assessments and make them more accessible for wider categories of employees.
Traditional methodologies are based on the observations how employees adapt to new circumstances. However, parts of the brain that are responsible to adapt old knowledge to new circumstances are also responsible to adapt new knowledge to old circumstances.
It means that if we observe and measure how employees acquire new knowledge and adapt while using on the job we can measure learning agility as accurately as in traditional methods.
This method has the following advantages:
- Line managers can be observers, not specially selected professionals.
- Employees operate in real working environment, not modelled and controlled one.
- Assessment is spread over time and connected to learning.
- The method predicts future performance based on the employee ability to adapt new knowledge to existing environments.
- The most important thing - it can be used for all categories of employees, because...
- ...it is computer-based and affordable for most categories of companies.
Neutralising subjectivity: first method
When users learn in our system, we collect two types of data. First, information on how long does it take to understand and remember information and how many attempts should be take to do it. Second, we collect data on managerial assessments and self-assessments on how knowledge acquired are used on the job. So forst method of neutralising subjectivity is to analyse data on how the employee learns and how it correlates with what their managerial assessments and self-assessments.
Example. The employee demonstrates high leaning agility. It means that they require a minimum attempts to understand the learning material and answer questions (remember, we use microlearning and spaced learning).
Next, you see the self-assessments of this employee and see high values - between 4 and 5. And the average value gets higher as their self-confidence rises. But their manager assessments are lower - between 2 and 3. What can cause this?
For HR professional this situation requires some intervention. It is worth to understand the difficulties in relationship of manager and their direct reports and also "dig deeper" to find our why they assess the same behaviours differently.
Neutralising subjectivity: second method
We call the second method "statistical pressure". The system compares data on assessments and self-assessments and finds out two types of "zones". The first one is called "the zone of (possible) conflict" and is present, when the employee assessments are higher than those of their manager and the second is called "zone of growth" - when managerial assessments are higher than those of employee's self-assessments. The system makes ratings for managers according the zones of attention they have.
The more zones the manager has, the more attention and support is required from HR professionals.
The system collect data on other managers so HR professionals and other stakeholders can always check the possible subjectivity in assessments for a particular employees. The can do it by comparing: 1) how the manager assess other employees and 2) the average assessments mark compared with other managers.
The system aggregates data and compiles visual reports which show how line managers support the process of learning transfer. Similar reports are offered for higher levels of management.
Both these methods help to neutralise subjectivity.