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4 ways assessments can help talent teams predict employee engagement and performance

Kara PolkMay 11, 2023AssessmentsAwarenessConnectionQualificationResource

Predicting employee engagement and performance is the holy grail of talent acquisition. Getting it right means talent teams have done their due diligence and properly vetted candidates using multivariate analysis that includes talent assessments, interviews, resume reviews, reference checks, and other touch points. 

Today, talent assessments have risen as the “hidden gem” of talent acquisition, offering an unbiased and objective assessment of a candidate’s skills, behaviors, cognitive aptitudes, and more. 

We all know that selecting right-fit candidates is essential to business success, especially in a volatile or uncertain economy and job market where competition is high and resources are tight. But therein lies the challenge. Talent acquisition professionals must utilize the right blend of technology, talent assessments, employer branding and value propositions, and a structured process to screen candidates and select the individuals who show the most potential for high performance and engagement.

According to Talent Board’s 2022 North American Candidate Experience Benchmark Research Report, “in 2022, 45% of organizations said they used pre-employment assessment and selection tests prior to the interview, and only 19% did so post-interview.” Among those who employed talent assessments, 54% did so with the goal of making better candidate selections, 33% aimed to improve new hire performance, and 27% sought to increase early retention. 

These goals reflect an increased need to not only fill open positions and resolve staffing or skills gaps, but to do so in a way that better predicts performance and engagement. After all, when an employee is engaged and valued, their performance improves and they are more likely to stay and grow within the organization. 

Looking specifically at talent assessments, here are four ways talent teams can leverage assessments to better predict job performance and employee engagement.   

#1: Take a closer look at a candidate’s unique behavioral patterns, tendencies, and temperament with behavioral assessments 

Behavioral and personality assessments provide insight into a person’s unique tendencies and temperament. For example, they can shine light on a person’s openness to experience, leadership styles, organizational abilities, interpersonal skills, and more. These qualitative data points can help talent teams better gauge employee engagement and productivity, which are key components of high job performance. 

Studies show that 89% of hiring failures can be attributed to attitude and behavior, and only 11% to technical skills. This emphasizes the importance of behavioral and personality assessments in the hiring process to gain greater visibility into and understanding of a potential candidate and how they will assimilate into the organization.

#2: Measure your candidate’s ability to learn, process information, and perform necessary functions with cognitive assessments

Talent acquisition isn’t just about finding the right person for the job, at that specific moment. It’s about finding the right person who can not only perform the job they were hired for, but who also exhibits cognitive capabilities and aptitudes for growth within the company. With the help of cognitive assessments, talent teams can evaluate skills such as reasoning, perception, memory, and problem-solving. 

Increased cognitive function has been linked to greater job satisfaction, lower stress levels, and improved interpersonal relationships. According to a 2022 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, “higher cognitive ability is associated with lower psychological distress (i.e., symptoms of depression and anxiety) as well as with higher psychological well-being (i.e., positive affect and life satisfaction).” 

#3 Determine whether a candidate is a good fit for the company culture with culture-fit assessments  

Knowledge and skills are only part of the equation when determining company fit. Alignment with the company’s core values and ways of working are equally important. Culture-fit assessments can shed light on the seemingly unmeasurable qualities that signal a candidate will fit in well with the team. When employees are aligned with the company culture and core values, they are naturally more engaged and productive, which leads to greater retention.

According to new research published in Organization Science, culture fit can be viewed from two perspectives: value congruence and perceptual congruence. Value congruence “refers to the match between an employee’s values and those of an organization.” Perceptual congruence, on the other hand, refers to “the degree to which employees are able to accurately perceive an organization’s culture and adjust their behavior to fit in.” They are two sides of the same coin, and can be qualitatively measured through the use of targeted culture-fit and behavioral assessments.

#4 Verify candidates are competent in the skills required to effectively perform the job with skills-based assessments  

Skills-based assessments are a clear indicator of competency. Can the individual competently perform the tasks needed for the position? It’s a simple question, but one that carries a great deal of weight when every hire counts. Role-based skills assessments, such as hourly, administrative, customer care, sales, or management, can help employers further refine their selection process.    

According to McKinsey & Company, “Through a skills-based approach, companies can boost the number and quality of applicants who apply to open positions and can assist workers to find more opportunities to advance internally, which can help employers improve retention.” 

Adopting talent assessments across the full talent journey 

Talent acquisition is a critical component of an organization’s success. Hiring right-fit talent requires a multi-pronged approach, with talent assessments riding in the sidecar along the way. From initial vetting and hiring to employee engagement and retention, talent assessments hold the keys to better understanding the health of your organization and addressing skills or staffing gaps proactively. 

Curious to see how talent assessments can maximize your talent pipeline and drive better hires who remain with your organization? Check out Symphony Talent’s assessments, powered by SkillCheck, and be sure to reach out to an expert for an even deeper dive. 

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