Making the most of psychometrics
August 24 2006 - Change management and training consultancy, cda, believes that too many companies are failing to maximize on the benefits of using psychometrics as an integral part of their recruitment policy. This is restricting return on investment and development of staff potential.
They quote the CIPD Recruitment, Retention and Development Survey 2006 indicating that 60 per cent of organizations are now using psychometrics as part of the recruitment process. Costs are significant, typically averaging up to several thousand pounds including training and licences. Nevertheless, it is said to represent a worthwhile investment. Comprehensive use of psychometrics is thought to result in a 'better-fit' recruit who is more likely to meet an employer's requirements, stay longer, contribute more and generally provide a better return on investment.
However, a significant percentage of firms using psychometrics only do so in the initial recruitment process and are not continuing to apply the approach as part of ongoing development.
Lisa Michelangeli, psychologist at cda said:
"We encounter too many instances of what we call 'Silver Bullet' mentality. While there has been an increased recognition of the value of psychometrics, there can be an assumption that its integration into the recruitment process is a guarantee that it will result in a calibre of recruit who will have a long term positive impact on the organization.
"Some firms are not achieving full-value realization of their investment because they do not use the outputs of the psychometrics to inform development beyond the recruitment stage. For example, if a group of individuals is recruited, the outputs of the personality assessment can inform the development of the team and how they interact with each other. This is an example of the invaluable opportunities that we encounter organisations not always making the most of.
"Psychometrics are not a one-fix cure-all but have to be an integral part of the ongoing development process."
Consultants with cda report that this situation can be exacerbated by discontinuity between HR and line management. Often the HR function is involved only in the hiring (and firing) process and not in employee development, which can be regarded by line managers as their territory.
Lisa Michelangeli continues:
"Given the sums of money companies are investing, we believe that it is essential for business leaders to ensure that their HR experts are educating and then supporting line management in incorporating the output of psychometrics into the various stages of the employee lifecycle.
"For example, when line managers are trained in benefits such as the objective basis for performance management that psychometrics can provide, they embrace the practice wholeheartedly. However, it does need the business leaders to instigate clear policy to ensure that the essential instruction and ongoing support is properly implemented by HR and incorporated by line management. Leaving it to chance is not good enough."