Assessment and Development Centers

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Assessment centers provide a powerful and objective tool to identify, develop and calibrate your talent.

Development centers provide real-time feedback to develop and coach your talent.

We can work in partnership with your organization to deliver an assessment or development center program. We can be an expert resource for your internal project team. We can critically review your existing program and make recommendations for improvement. We can help you integrate assessment center data into talent management activities. Our solutions and services can be flexible to meet your specific assessment or development center needs.

We can design, develop and deliver an assessment or development center

These programs are based on an integrated business simulation which provides participants multiple opportunities to demonstrate their competencies in different setting and situations, including strategic and operational, competitive and collaborative, structured and unstructured, written and verbal, and group and independent exercises. Programs can be designed to stretch entry-level professionals, managers, or senior leader participants. A typical business simulation might include:

  • a package of company materials including a letter from the CEO, an annual report, and other financials (participant advance preparation to provide appropriate level of complexity and depth to the business simulation)
  • an interactive inbox that would enable individuals to work alone or with colleagues to handle and resolve operational and strategic issues
  • an inbox interview to elaborate on prioritization, problem solving and decision making process
  • a small group exercise to evaluate competing global business opportunities followed by a presentation to the CEO (role played by management assessor)
  • a large group exercise to evaluate multiple competing business opportunities in complex environments
  • an individual strategic planning exercise with an opportunity to present strategic plan to the CEO (role played by management assessor)
  • an individual exercise where participant assumes CEO role, creates a new strategy and selects new executive team (based on participants at the program)
  • an individual exercise to meet with a direct report (actor) for a performance based coaching dialogue
  • a written exercise to outline vision and plan for important company issues (for example, entry into foreign markets, insufficient talent to meet the business strategy, merger and acquisition strategy, and fostering an environment of innovation)
  • amongst other exercises and activities

We can provide assessment or development center expertise

Sometimes an organization needs guidance or expertise on an existing, proposed or new assessment or development center. We can:

  • critically review your existing assessment or development center program (including the business simulation, individual exercises, participant or assessor materials, assessor training, data integration, feedback delivery, written reports, assessment methodology, technical delivery, and administration)
  • provide recommendations to strengthen your existing assessment or development center program
  • provide guidance on choosing between an assessment center or a development center
  • provide guidance on integrating an assessment center or a development center into a talent management strategy
  • provide guidance on how to best utilize assessment center data for the identification, development and calibration of talent
  • generate strategic insight from aggregate assessment center data
  • serve as an internal assessment expert to evaluate vendor options, and critique and compare assessment or development center proposals
  • serve as an internal assessment expert to provide critical review during development or final review of a new assessment or development center
  • serve as a lead integrator amongst management assessors

We will work in partnership with your organization to meet your specific assessment or development center needs. Best practice experience includes AT&T (who pioneered corporate assessment center programs in 1959) and BP (where Sohio launched the second corporate assessment center program in 1963, and subsequently, was acquired by BP). Experience includes the design and development of several assessment center programs, delivery of 75 weeklong assessment center programs, and the delivery of more than 350 assessment center feedback and coaching sessions.

Choosing an Assessment or Development Center

The choice between an assessment or development center primarily depends on objectives:

Assessment Center
identify, develop and calibrate talent globally

An assessment center provides an objective evaluation of employee strengths, development needs and weaknesses based on competencies. Feedback and coaching are delivered by a management assessor following the program. Written reports are owned by the company and therefore, will be used for talent identification, development, and calibration purposes. Ideally, an organization should have two levels of assessment center to identify talent early and midstream in career. On the strategic level, assessment center data can be aggregated to identify competency strengths and weaknesses in the talent pool and emerging talent pipeline.

Development Center
Develop and coach talent with real-time feedback

A development center provides an opportunity for employees to receive feedback and coaching from management assessors in real time (between exercises) about their strengths, development needs and weaknesses based on competencies. This approach enables employees to immediately implement feedback by changing their behavior and practicing new behaviors in subsequent exercises and activities within the business simulation. A development center provides a safe and confidential environment for personal development (written or verbal feedback is owned by the employee who may or may not choose to share feedback). When feedback is shared with an organization, it should be used for development purposes, as real-time feedback changes behavior and therefore, feedback will not be an objective clean measure of competencies.

Assessment Centers
Consulting Datasheet