What Is Assessment And Development Centre?

assessment and development centres best practice guidelinesAn assessment center is a point by point assessment of an individual’s part fitment by surveying him or her on different angles required to be effective on the work performed. It isn’t a physical area, but a handle utilized by organizations to survey their workforce for different reasons. An assessment and development center utilizes different devices to assess the degree to which a member shows chosen competencies.

It comprises behavioral re-enactment works out in which different prepared assessors watch participant’s behaviors, categorize them concurring to behavioral competencies and rate those behaviors. Post the works out, appraisal appraisals are compiled once the assessors arrive at a shared understanding. The score is representative of the participants’ behavioral constructs or average overall assessment rating (OAR).

Use Assessment Centers

  • Assessment Centers were initially used in World War I by Germany to shortlist officers. United States’ Office of Strategic Services conjointly enforced assessment centers to select both military and civilian recruits for undercover work in World War II.
  • Assessment centers were earlier known as Selection Assessment Boards when adopted by the British Office of Strategic Services in World War II.
  • American Telegraph & Telephone (AT&T) was the pioneer private sector company to use assessment centers as a method of assessing its professionals’ potential in the 1950s.

Advantage of Using Assessment Centers:-

Assessment centers function more effectively as a part of an integrated talent management system. Assessment centers are commonly used for three major purposes:

(1) To predict future behavior for decision making

(2) To diagnose development needs

(3) To develop assesses on behavioral constructs of interest.

To further accomplish the aforementioned purpose, assessment centers are popularly used for the following initiatives-

  1. a) Introduction of High Potential Employees

High potential employees are 91% more valuable to a business than non-high potential workers.

High potential employees can raise the performance bar of other workers. Simply adding a star performer to a team alone boosts the productivity of other group members by 5-15%. Assessment centers help organizations discover the ability in someone to be an effective senior manager who drives excellent performance, and the desire to move to the top within your organization. This creates a pool of managerial talent and multi-functional managers who would be available across the business group.

  1. b) Identification of Training Needs

Companies that invest in employee training enjoy a 24% more profit margin versus companies that don’t.

Training is an integral part of employees’ career growth. If not given the right training, they tend to leave jobs within the first year. To bridge skill gaps, assessment centers enable organizations to train their current employees and attempt to develop the skills within their staff. They also provide employees and organizations with concrete data on areas of improvement. This report serves as a benchmark to further the cause of training the staff.

  1. c) Leadership Development

82 percent of managers, peers and direct reports of trained people witnessed positive behaviors among leaders after they have been through a leadership development program.

Top talent and effective leaders are required to address a myriad of challenges to position the organization towards success. When a company improves its approach to training and developing managers and leaders, the results are astounding. The organizations that use assessment centers to develop their managers report higher sales, lower turnover, higher customer satisfaction, and lower absenteeism.

  1. d) Succession Planning

Unsuccessful role transitions lead to 20 percent lower employee engagement and 15 percent lower team performance.

Feedback from assessment centers helps organizations identify if the person can handle the challenges offered in the next higher position.  They act as a catalyst for change, as leaders learn about the gap between their mindsets and skills and what is required of them to lead effectively. At an organizational level, this information can target specific growth and development programs. This can lead to important information for succession planning by allowing the organization to see if it has the number of employees required to move into key roles in the future.

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Major bases of Assessment Centres

  1. Job Analysis
  2. Behavioral Categorization
  3. Multiple Assessment Methods
  4. Tool-Competency Mapping
  5. Simulation-based Exercises
  6. Certified Assessors
  7. Assessor Coaching
  8. Behavior Analysis & Rating
  9. Data Consolidation
  10. Standardization

Job Analysis

This incorporates an extensive job analysis to determine knowledge, skills, attributes (KSA) for assessing the on-the-job performance. It depends on the purpose of the assessment, complexity and the complexity and a piece of prior knowledge about the job. Competencies are defined basis of the organization’s vision, values, and objectives.

Behavioral Categorization

Workplace behaviors demonstrated by participants during ACs must be categorized into relevant groups like competencies, related behavioral indicators, aptitude, ability, knowledge or broader performance groups.

Multiple Assessment Methods

Assessment centers incorporate multiple exercises, including either behavioral simulation or a combination of behavioral, psychometric, competency-based interviews, or situational judgment tests. Data points to aid in evaluation and validation. However, the tools should undergo a pilot to ensure the techniques are reliable, precise and provide the relevant behavioral information.

Tool Competency Mapping

Once the competencies are identified via job analysis, they are then mapped to different assessment techniques. As the study shows that assessing fewer competencies is a better predictor of performance, these tool-competency matrix measures 4-6 competencies for each exercise.

Simulation-based Exercises

The professionals are required to respond to the work-related cases while being observed by assessors. The wide spectrum of these exercises includes in-basket, group discussion, role-play, case studies, presentations, and fact-finding. Two simulation exercises are required for an in-depth understanding of the individual.


Assessors play a crucial role in observing and assessing participants. Assessors with diverse backgrounds and experience observe each participant in at least one simulation exercise. The assessor to participant ratio is minimized to decrease the cognitive load. To eliminate bias, assessors do not evaluate someone they know.

Assessor Coaching

Before the assessment center, assessors need to undergo two forms of training – behavioral and frame-of-reference. In the behavioral training, assessors observe, record and evaluate the professional’s behavior during simulation exercises. In the latter form of training, assessors receive directives on calibrating scores according to pre-decided competencies and relevant behavioral indicators.

Behavior Analysis and Rating

Assessors must follow a process to capture relevant behaviors during the AC exercises. This may comprise making notes, behavioral checklists or behaviorally anchored rating scales. Observations may occur post hoc by accessing audio or video clips of assesses during behavioral simulation exercises.

Data Consolidation

Assessors evaluate the candidate’s performance based on their observable behavior through various assessment techniques. During an integration discussion, assessors capture relevant behaviors. Overall assessment rating is used for selection while a combination of OARs and competency ratings are used for development purposes.


Procedures like exercise content and duration, role-player behavior, number of participants in group exercises, questions asked by assessors, exercise sequence and scoring are controlled to give a fair chance to professionals as standardization is crucial for selection and promotion. Exceptions in adherence to standardized procedures are permitted to accommodate professionals with disabilities.

Written by KWS Adams

My name is KWS Adams . (Call me Kateregga). I am an IT addict who loves playing around with computers and internet. Computers help me try out different things while turning them into reality, while the internet powers me stay live online. Besides computers, I am a project planning and management professional with an Award obtained from MUK, one of the oldest and best Universities in Africa. Find me on Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp. Find more on how to contact me using the contact me page.

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