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Assessment and Development Centres

Eliesha has considerable experience in the successful provision of specialist Assessment and Development Centre services to public and private sector organisations throughout the UK. Within our Assessment and Development Centres our occupational psychologists and learning and development specialists use a combination of market leading exercises, psychometric tools and competence-based interviewing to ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved.  

Case studies

Context

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for the protection and expansion of England and Scotland forests and woodlands. Across the UK it produces timber, protects forest environments and runs leisure facilities across their forest holdings. In the face of organisational and political change, it became clear that they needed to ensure that their entire band of middle managers had the skills and abilities to drive the organisation forward and make the changes that would sustain it over the long term. 

Objectives

The overarching objective was to provide a method of consistently measuring all middle managers in relation to a new competency framework so that they understood their strengths and development needs. Once assessed, individual middle managers needed to understand their development options so that they were able to access them quickly and effectively, based on individual need. The challenge of this Development Centre was that many of the individuals were highly skilled and educated in forestry but had had little opportunity to develop line management skills which were needed at more senior levels. Individuals needed to understand where they needed to broaden their experience, with specific guidance about how to go about doing that within the organisation. The Forestry Commission is also known as an organisation where employees have long tenure. Our challenge was to help individuals who had possibly been doing the same role for some time to see that they had potential for senior roles and help them understand how that could be achieved.

Solution

Eliesha’s solution was to design a staged process consisting of online assessment, a Development Centre, reports and follow-up coaching sessions. Delegates initially completed online personality and motivation assessments and a 360 degree assessment. This provided essential diagnostic data. Participants then attended a 1½ day Development Centre where they took part in interactive and individual exercises, along with individual feedback and personal planning sessions. This resulted in individual reports which, along with their 360 degree feedback, were discussed at a 2 hour coaching session two weeks after the Development Centre. Coaches encouraged the participants to look at all the evidence and helped them draw out development themes. At this stage, they also had a discussion about the wide range of development options which were on offer - everything from formal training, coaching and mentoring to opportunities to shadow different jobs. We also developed a cohort by cohort set of development needs so the client was able to match their own development options to the cohort’s needs at a group level.

“Feedback was highly positive and we were able to capture it as we ran each successive Development Centre and subsequent coaching sessions. In terms of KPI’s, we delivered complex Development Centres in a consistent manner across the programme.”

Outcome

Participants received a consistent Development Centre experience and we were able to maintain a high degree of reliability and validity in the development process. We used the same team for each event which meant we developed a strong understanding of the organisation’s culture. Participants received their Development Centre reports within a specific timeframe following their attendance and we scheduled all feedback sessions within 2 weeks of the Development Centres.

Wales Audit Office

Assessment Centre

Context

The Wales Audit Office works to support the Auditor General as the public sector watchdog for Wales.

It plays a crucial role in the governance of public spending and their aim is to ensure that the people of Wales know whether public money is being managed wisely and those public bodies in Wales understand how to improve outcomes.

As a result of a reorganisation of roles and responsibilities Wales Audit Office required a rigorous, fair and open method to place senior staff in business critical roles.  Eliesha designed an assessment process which combined behavioural evidence with knowledge of audit processes at the new level.

The appointment of the right person with the required skills, knowledge and behaviours is essential to business success and reduces significantly the cost of inappropriate or ineffective recruitment and placement.  Carefully designed assessment also allows the creation of coherent and highly targeted development plans for all candidates.

Objectives

The Wales Audit Office was very clear with what they wanted to achieve from the assessment centre process. The objectives were as follows:

  • Provide staff involved in the mapping of appointments the best opportunity to maximise their individual potential and performance in preparing for the assessment process
  • Provide individual and collective support to develop potential
  • Prepare staff involved for the process and outcome
  • Design, develop and deliver a rigorous, open and fair assessment centre
  • Enable the assessment panel to see the full potential of all candidates in order to make the best selection for the business
  • Provide the development within the required timeframe
  • Provide staff with skills that will provide the capability, capacity and confidence for all future opportunities

Solution

Eliesha worked closely in partnership with WAO to devise the assessment centre criteria. The assessment centre consisted of written and group exercises, ability tests and a role play. The role play consisted of a difficult staff member meeting and required candidates to demonstrate effective interpersonal skills with their knowledge of audit processes. Eliesha designed, developed and delivered a range of exercises, psychometrics and personal tests, administered the candidates and managed the assessment centres and arranged and delivered the development programme.

Eliesha ran four centres for Wales Audit Office.  Two of which selected candidates for Board level positions and two selected for Senior Inspectors.

“It was really great working with you and your team; the tests were very professionally run and a positive experience for all those who participated. Please pass our thanks to your team”

HR Manager Wales Audit Office

Outcome

WAO were able to appoint the best candidates for the new roles. As all the candidates were internal, they all received a feedback report and a developmental interview, whether they were successful or unsuccessful. This helped all candidates understand the development needs that we identified.

Development plans for all candidates were well received and the development of staff during the preparation stage enabled them to gain key skills in important areas.

Assessment Centres

Assessment centres come in many shapes and sizes, depending on the candidate group and the selection criteria. For example, graduate assessment centres need to give candidates the opportunity to show potential as well as demonstrate what they have learned in their degree course. When designing apprentice assessment centres you need to consider the age and experience level by giving candidates generic tasks to perform. When assessing managers and professionals, it reasonable to expect candidates to have a range of experience so their assessments can be tougher and draw more on their experience.

Recruiting/selecting the right people at the right time - and ensuring they have the competences, attitudes and values to succeed - contributes to an organisation's growth and potential. Investing in an effective assessment service designed by Chartered Occupational Psychologists, and delivered by a highly qualified and experienced team of assessment centre professionals, reduces the risk of recruitment errors.

Development Centres

Development Centres adopt similar processes to those used in Assessment Centres. They use facilitators and coaches to help your people realistically discover their potential and identify the steps they need to take to achieve their career and personal development goals.  Eliesha offer a full Development Centre service which can be further enhanced through the delivery of skills development programmes to provide a complete development path for your most talented people.

Our accreditations and affiliations

CMI ILM Approved Centre Iosh Agored Cymru Chas SGS ISO 14001 SGS ISO 9001 Cyber Essentials Prince2 Training Organisation Better Business Cases
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