Assessment centres (ACs), as introduced here in the first of a five article series by Sandra Schlebusch and Gert Roodt, are an effective way to unlock the potential for growth among managers and employees.
by Sandra Schlebusch and Gert Roodt
South Africa faces a shortage of skilled manager-leaders, not managers who possess technical or functional management competencies and skills, but rather those who are able to engage, motivate and inspire their employees. In addition, South Africa also faces a shortage of employees with other critical competencies. ACs provide the vehicle for, firstly, identifying those people with potential (selection), secondly, diagnosing their particular strengths and development areas (training needs analysis), and thirdly, systematically developing these people by providing a structured development programme based on practical needs and existing theory coupled with hands-on experience (training and development).
ACs are similar to riding a bicycle – no matter how well you can describe the experience, you cannot make any claims until you get on and ride. Similarly, in ACs the participant does not describe what they would do in a specific situation; rather they find themselves in a specific situation and act accordingly. ACs thus provide a practical, hands-on approach to selection and development.
In a recently published book, entitled Assessment Centres: Unlocking Potential for Growth by Sandra Schlebusch and Gert Roodt (KnowRes Publishing), the process of developing and implementing ACs within an organisation is described. A four stage Design Model, borrowed from the training literature, is introduced where each of the stages is superimposed over the principles of programme evaluation. Each stage of the Design Model will be introduced during a forthcoming series of articles. This first article introduces ACs.